Employment Contracts and Common Law


Read the following scenario in the context of the Wilson Bros case study you read in Module 1.

Consider the issues in this scenario as they relate to independent contractors and employees. Review the topic in your textbook if necessary.

Read the questions below and answer all of the questions briefly.

Limit each contribution to maximum 250 words.



John Smith, a well-respected Vice President Marketing with Wilson Bros., has to make a decision – and it’s not one he’s looking forward to. As Director of Human Resources, on orders from the Company owners, you have just notified John that the Company will be instituting written contracts of employment for all non-union employees, including management. Since John is a non-union employee, he will need to sign a written contract.

John has twenty-five years of service and an enviable employment record, having moved up through the ranks over the years from his original position as a sales representative. He’s now 50 years old and enjoys his job and his geographical location in Ontario. He doesn’t really want to make a big fuss over this contract issue.

Should he sign? He has heard that some of the other VP’s in the Company are more than willing to sign the document immediately, while others are not so sure. He’s not sure what’s in the fine print – or whether he even needs to be concerned about the fine print. According to rumours, the contract includes a ‘non-compete’ clause, a confidentiality clause, and a termination clause which provides six months’ notice or pay in lieu of notice of termination.

Your job is to get these contracts signed as soon as possible. You have just called John and want him to review and sign the contract today.


1 Imagine that you are John. What would you do in his situation? Explain the legal reasons behind your decision.

What legal issues do you see in this situation? Explain the situation, the relevant laws or statutes, and the way a judge would likely rule if John took it to court.

As Director of Human Resources, you’re dealing with a contract written by senior managers and owners, who have their eye on the bottom line and deadlines, not necessarily on legal issues. How would you handle this situation professionally?

What option(s) do you have if John refuses to sign? What options does the Company have? Consider what changes if all the VPs and managers refuse to sign, rather than just John.



Click here to request for this assignment help