National HR Awards - Winner Profiles

Employment Lawyer of the Year
Natalie MacDonald

A major $750,000 victory in Galea v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp. highlighted an extraordinary year for Toronto employment lawyer Natalie MacDonald.

On Dec. 7, 2017, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Emery awarded $250,000 in moral damages and $500,000 in punitive damages to Gail Galea, a former Walmart Canada executive who was fired without cause in 2010.

 The monetary awards came after an eight-year court battle and are the highest in Canadian employment law history, says MacDonald.

Hired in 2002, Galea served in several management roles before being promoted to vice-president of general merchandising. In 2010,  she was removed from her role and informed she was being reassigned internationally, only to be terminated 10 months later.

Required to pay Galea two years’ base salary to satisfy her non-compete agreement, Walmart’s payments ceased after 11 months — actions described as “deplorable” by the judge.

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