Employment Law

Visaggio v. Joynt-Dent Inc. – Dental Hygienist Awarded 24-months’ Pay

Samfiru Tumarkin LLP is pleased to announce that Alex Lucifero, Managing Associate of the firm’s Ottawa office, has secured a successful summary judgement motion for our client, a dental hygienist, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, for 24 months’ pay as severance in lieu of notice.

The Court’s scathing decision in Visaggio v. Joynt-Dent Inc., 2018 ONSC 1911 serves as a reminder to employers that they should not ignore the legal rights of long-serving and exemplary employees in favour of a business’s financial interests.

Summary of Visaggio v. Joynt-Dent Inc., 2018 ONSC 1911

Our client had worked as a dental hygienist at a dental office in Ontario, for 33 years. When the practice was sold to a new owner, she was offered a job, but with restrictive and unfavourable terms in a new employment agreement. Notable changes included:

  1. hours of work to be paid would be based on the daily schedule per employee, and would no longer be the business hours of the office; and
  2. appointment cancellations by patients would become unpaid time slots during which the scheduled employee would not be paid. The resulting cancelled appointments were to alternate between the dental hygienists like the plaintiff, thereby averaging their decrease in salary.

Employees, including our client, were being forced to navigate a legal labyrinth created to strip their earned common law notice entitlements for the financial gain of the owners and their corporations.

When our client attempted to negotiate the new terms of employment, the buyer’s offer was pulled off the table.

The Court determined that the buyer’s offer was inferior to our client’s existing terms of employment, and agreed that the questions she raised about the offer were legitimate.

In her decision, Justice Kane noted that the owners had “prioritized their financial interests ahead of the livelihood and legal rights of the plaintiff who had served the practice, these dentists, and their patients for over 30 years.”


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