Liboiron v. IBM Canada Ltd., 2015 BCSC 1523
Mr. Liboiron was employed by IBM Canada Ltd. (IBM) in various capacities relating to technical support services for 32 years until his employment was terminated without cause in 2014. While employed at IBM, IBM paid Mr. Liboiron a salary and made bi-weekly contributions to his pension plan in an amount equal to six per cent of his salary. At issue was the period of reasonable notice that Mr. Liboiron was entitled to on termination. Mr. Liboiron also claimed damages for the amount which IBM would otherwise have contributed to his pension during the reasonable notice period.
The British Columbia Supreme Court (Court) considered various factors in determining the period of notice, including that Mr. Liboiron had developed expertise in a very narrow area, which limited his prospects for future employment; was 56 years of age; and had worked for his employer for 32 years. The Court held that a reasonable period of notice of termination was 20 months.
Regarding the pension issue, the Court held that where an employee is terminated without reasonable notice, generally that employee is entitled to the increased value that would have accrued to the employee’s pension entitlement had reasonable notice been provided. Had reasonable notice been given, IBM would have continued to contribute to Mr. Liboiron’s pension, which would have caused the amount in his pension account to increase. As IBM had made bi-weekly contributions of six per cent of Mr. Liboiron’s salary to his pension, the Court held that Mr. Liboiron was entitled to damages for the amount of IBM’s contributions over the 20-month notice period as compensation for the loss he suffered to his pension account, notwithstanding arguments from IBM that it was not obligated — due to the definition of “pensionable earnings” in the plan — to make further contributions during the reasonable notice period.