Cottrill v. Utopia Day Spas and Salons Ltd., 2017 BCSC 704

Our client worked for Utopia Day Spas and Salons as a skincare therapist.  After approximately 11 years of employment, Utopia gave her three months to alter her performance or be dismissed.

Ultimately, Utopia decided that our client’s performance had not improved to its satisfaction and dismissed her, alleging they had just cause to do so. Our client sued for wrongful dismissal, claiming damages for unpaid severance as well as aggravated damages.

At trial, the Court concluded that Utopia had not had just cause to fire Ms. Cottrill and awarded her the severance due to her under her employment contract. The Court also found that Utopia breached its duty of good faith toward our client through conduct that included:

  • reviewing her personnel file to issue a “termination notice” without first raising any recent performance issues with her;
  • promising that our client could keep her job if she improved her performance in two of the three months’ warning, yet still firing her when she did so improve; and
  • not being candid about the lack of documentation concerning Ms. Cottrill’s performance in the last month of the three-month period.

Given the employer’s conduct, which included its unfair assessment and treatment of Ms. Cottrill in her last three months of work, the Court awarded her an additional $15,000 in aggravated damages.

Click here to read the decision in Cottrill.

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