An employer may refuse to issue a letter of recommendation to an employee but…

Release date: January 6, 2014

The Superior Court rejected a teacher’s claim for damages following her dismissal. Her employer alleged that the employee’s contract had not been renewed since the language she was teaching had been removed from the school curriculum. According to the Court of Appeal, the employer used a pretext to get rid of the employee because of her activities as a member of a committee on pay equity. Though the employer’s decision was abusive, the Court awarded no compensation for loss of pay since the employee held a new job the following school year. In addition, since there was no deliberate violation of a protected right, the employee is not entitled to exemplary damages. However the Court did award her $5000 in damages for injury to her reputation, as her employer refused to give her a letter of recommendation. The judge specified that, though the employer is not obliged to provide such a letter, he must nevertheless evaluate such requests in good faith. The appeal is therefore upheld.

Arsenault (Estate) v. École Sacré-Cœur de Montréal, DTE 2013T-699, 2013 QCCA 1664

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