Young Women May be Owed Significant Damages when Wrongfully Dismissed


The Ontario Court of Appeal recently suggested that in some cases, a young employee may actually be entitled to a lengthier notice period where their youth makes it more difficult to obtain comparable employment.

In Humphrey v Mene Inc. 2022 ONCA 531, the Plaintiff, Ms. Humphrey, was employed by Mene Inc. for approximately three (3) years. Her employment was wrongfully terminated without appropriate notice. She was 32 years old and was Mene’s Chief Operating Officer earning a salary of $90,000.

The Ontario Court of Appeal held that the motion judge properly considered and applied the Bardal factors respecting Ms. Humphrey’s work. Notably, the Court of Appeal agreed with the conclusions of the motion judge that Ms. Humphrey would have considerable difficulty finding comparable employment as a young woman. The Motion Judge explained:

[148]      Character of employment: Ms. Humphrey was promoted to the position of COO of a publicly traded company at a very young age. She argues, and I accept, that it is much more difficult for women to obtain senior executive positions, particularly someone as young as her.

The Employer attempted to argue that Ms. Humphrey should be entitled to a shorter notice period because she was young and had no previous experience as a senior executive. However, the Court dismissed this argument and noted that Ms. Humphrey was entrusted with one of the most senior positions at Mene Inc.

The Ontario Court of Appeal held that the Plaintiff was entitled to twelve (12) months notice but the damages award was reduced due to a failure to mitigate.


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