Clive Anderson had worked for Culligan of Canada in one capacity or another for 19 years. In December 2007, Culligan informed him that he was being terminated without cause as a result of the economic downturn but offered a lump sum severance payment of $25,000. Anderson accepted the offer. Towards the end of his last day on the job, Anderson sent an e-mail to all or most of Culligan’s franchise dealers and the managers of its company-owned outlets, thanking them for their support, and saying that while he bore the company no ill will he regretted the lack of support it offered to dealers and managers.

Culligan found out and denied Anderson the severance pay, alleging that he had breached his duty of good faith, defamed the company and repudiated the severance agreement.

Dufour J of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench held that Anderson’s e-mail was ‘nothing more than a snarky, parting shot from a mid-level employee who had been pushed out the door’. Because this would not have been grounds for dismissal for cause, Anderson’s conduct did not constitute repudiation of the severance agreement and Culligan had to pay up the $25,000 plus an amount for loss of his bonus.

Anderson v Culligan of Canada Ltd, 2011 SKQB 188 [Link available here].