I sued my former employer for wrongful dismissal and although I was modestly successful at trial, I did not receive any damages for what I consider to be the bad faith actions of my former employer, or punitive damages. Can I appeal?
Technically, the answer is yes. You have a specified time limitation in which to launch an appeal from a trial decision, which usually must be strictly observed. On the other hand, if the decision which granted you an award was made by a tribunal, you may be considering judicial review of the tribunal’s decision, rather than an appeal, which has greater limitations, not only in terms of the time of the review but also the scope of the review.
That said, you will want to consider carefully whether or not you wish to pursue the appeal or review of a decision which did not grant you bad faith or punitive damages. Both of these heads of damages are granted sparingly by courts and tribunals, and even in circumstances where they are granted, they typically of modest value.
That said, and not to add unnecessary fuel to the fire, a recent award by an arbitrator gave $500,000.00 on account of the “bad faith” firing of a long serving employee who was fired while recuperating from surgery.
The best advice, in the circumstances, is to get a competent legal opinion as to the merits of an appeal, and the likelihood of success.
Norman Grosman tackles your employment law dilemmas regularly on Workopolis. More information about him and his legal services can be found on his website grosman.com