In a September 5, 2003 judgment, the British Columbia Supreme Court has determined that an Alberta employee had no right to sue in British Columbia for wrongful dismissal.
On reviewing the evidence, the Court found that the plaintiff was hired in Alberta, lived in Alberta, was allegedly terminated in Alberta and suffered any resulting damages in Alberta. All but one of the witnesses resided in Alberta and the parties had agreed to have a portion of the employment contract governed by Alberta law. The only connection to British Columbia was the location of the employer’s head office and the presence of one witness.
The Court concluded that, based on this evidence, Alberta was the more appropriate venue in which to bring the wrongful dismissal action. The Court stayed the plaintiff’s action, thus requiring the plaintiff to sue in Alberta in order to pursue his claim.
This claim demonstrates the importance of selecting the proper jurisdiction to bring an action for wrongful dismissal. It also highlights the value of an employer ensuring that an employment contract contains a choice of law clause. This type of clause may help ensure that an employer’s choice of forum is upheld if an employee sues outside the jurisdiction.
Harris & Company were counsel for the successful employer in this case.