An Ontario appeal court has overturned a lower court decision and ruled that a former Manulife Financial Corp. employee was wrongfully dismissed by the firm after she changed her mind about retiring.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled that an appeal from former Manulife employee Elisabeth English should be allowed, and that she’s entitled to 12 months salary.
According to the decision, English had been a senior customer relationship manager for Standard Life Insurance when it was acquired by Manulife in 2015. When the insurance giant announced that it would be implementing a new computer system, she decided to retire, rather than train on the new system.
Manulife subsequently reversed that decision, and decided not to implement the new system. But when English changed her mind too and decided to stay with the company, it took the position that she’d retired.
She then sued for wrongful dismissal. Her lawsuit was dismissed by a motions judge, but that decision has now been overturned, with the appeal court finding that she was entitled to withdraw her resignation.
“When Manulife cancelled the computer conversion… the basis for the appellant’s resignation disappeared,” the appeal court said, noting that she immediately informed the company that she didn’t want to retire after all.
“Since the appellant did not in fact resign, her termination… was a wrongful dismissal,” the court found, and it ordered that she should receive 12 months’ salary in lieu of notice.