Not So Fast!: Court Requires Proof of Hardship Caused by Pandemic to Extend Reasonable Notice Period

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In Marazzato v Dell Canada Inc., the Ontario Superior Court of Justice provided further commentary on the issue of how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact assessments of reasonable notice at common law. 

The employee in this case was 59 years old at the time of dismissal and had accrued 14 years of service with the Company in a senior management role. He argued that he should receive an extended notice period as a result of the “extra difficulty” he would undoubtedly experience in finding and obtaining a new position due to the pandemic. The Court did not agree, noting that there was “no evidence” of any negative impact on the employee’s job search. The Court commented that while the pandemic may have negatively impacted many, it was possible that certain individuals may have actually benefited from the circumstances created by COVID-19. In this case, the employee’s skill set was in the computer business, an industry which may have actually grown during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the greater use of and reliance on computers. 

This decision indicates that an employee who is dismissed during the pandemic is not entitled to a longer notice period by default. Rather, the onus will be on the employee to prove that their ability to find new employment was negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Read our detailed post on the Marazzato decision on Canadian HR Reporter here

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