A Workopolis user asked our employment lawyer: “I am certain that a vindictive executive at my former employer orchestrated my dismissal. I am contemplating a lawsuit against the employer for wrongful dismissal. Is there any possible personal liability on the part of the executive?”
Norman Grosman responds:
While the executive to whom you refer was not part of the contract of employment, and therefore cannot be sued for wrongful dismissal, there does exist the potential for a lawsuit against the individual, alleging the economic tort of inducing breach of contract.
In order to succeed in a tort action for inducing breach of contract, you must establish the following essential elements:
While it is often difficult to prove individual liability associated with the termination of employment, there are many cases where, with the right fact pattern, a case can be made out against an individual for inducing breach of your contract of employment with your employer.
Often assertions against individuals, whether for inducing breach of contract or other economic torts, are asserted for strategic or tactical reasons in a lawsuit, drawing an executive into a lawsuit in which he or she would not otherwise be directly involved. In exposing the individual to possible liability, this may act as an additional factor or motivation for your employer to seek to resolve the matter with you on an expedited and fair platform.
You should be aware, however, that a frivolous assertion of this nature may result in an award of legal costs in favour of the individual you have unfairly drawn into a lawsuit, against you.