In Saikaly v Aikman Construction, the employee had been employed by the Defendant employer for approximately 12 years before receiving a “just cause” termination. The employee denied wrongdoing and filed a formal Statement of Claim against the employer for wrongful dismissal. Despite several follow-ups with the organization, the employer failed to file a Statement of Defence, and thus were noted in default. This resulted in a judgement made without any input, defence, or participation from the organization – obviously not a recommended course of action when faced with a Statement of Claim! In rendering their decision, the Court set aside the “just cause” termination and instead, evaluated the employee’s common law entitlements (i.e. age, length of service, position, etc.) to provide a notice award of 24 months. If it was not obvious before – this case makes it abundantly clear: when served with legal documents, seek out legal advice and respond within the specified time-frame to avoid paying massive notice awards!

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