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Special FX artist sues for wrongful termination after firing

The film industry is a major employer in British Columbia. A job working on a feature film is a highly sought-after position, and the opportunity to work on a potential blockbuster is of even greater appeal. That is what a local special effects artist thought he was being offered in a contract. When a three-month contract wrapped up two months early and allegedly without the promised work, the plaintiff chose to take his former employer to court, alleging wrongful termination.

In 2015, the plaintiff was offered a three-month contract with a visual effects company to work on the film "Batman v Superman." He was later told he would actually begin his contract working on another film, "Pan," but that he would likely work on both films over the course of his contract. The contract was to run from March 5, 2015 until May 5, 2015. 

On his first day of work, he was told he would be working on neither of the films originally mentioned, and was to be assigned to the "San Andreas" team, a film that was to be completed in April. On day two, he alleges a supplementary contract was given to him containing an early termination clause that was not present in the original contract. After less than a month had passed, he was let go without ever working on "Batman v Superman" and with only a couple of days spent on "Pan." He is suing the company for breach of contract and wrongful termination.

At first glance, this seems like a case of bait-and-switch, a sales technique wherein a product is offered to induce purchase, but is substituted for a different product at the last minute. The circumstances surrounding the supplementary contract are of particular interest in this case. Many potential cases of wrongful termination are complex and require a careful review before going to court. An experienced lawyer can advise employers or employees in British Columbia of their rights when contracts are under dispute.

Source: biv.com, "Lawsuit of the week: Special effects artist claims studio duped him about work on Batman v Superman film", March 7, 2017

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