The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board has lost its appeal of a decision ordering it to pay more than $1 million to a former senior investment employee.
The 2015 Superior Court ruling in Lin v. OTPPB ordered the Teachers’ pension plan to compensate former employee David Lin $1,002,905 in damages, the majority comprising bonuses under the company’s short- and long-term incentive plans from 2010-12.
In its ruling last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed Ontario Teachers’ appeal. “Briefly, there is nothing in the trial judge’s comprehensive and detailed reasons for judgment that discloses an error that would justify interference by this court,” wrote Justice Katherine van Rensburg.
The wrongful dismissal suit arose from Ontario Teachers’ decision to fire Lin, a director who managed global funds and Asian investments, in March 2011 for cause.
Toronto employment lawyer Howard Levitt noted the case is also significant for the finding that employees fired don’t have to prove bad faith in order to get damages at the higher end of the range. “That’s a significant argument that’s going to be argued in every single cause case going forward,” he says.
“Employees don’t have to prove bad faith anymore. They can just prove the very fact the cause was alleged. If they win on cause, they win. That’s a massive victory for employees who are fired for cause and a huge disincentive for employers who allege cause unless they are very, very certain they will win.”
Ontario Teachers’ refused to comment about the case but said it respects and accepts the appeal court’s decision.