Employers don’t often enough think about the consequences of a heat-of-the-moment resignation. It is generally assumed that when an employee says “I quit” or storms out of the workplace, the employment relationship has come to an end and the employer owes no further obligations to the employee.
Think again. As a recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – Johal v Simmons da Silva LLP, 2016 ONSC 7835 – reminds us, employers ought to exercise caution before accepting a resignation from an employee who quits suddenly following an emotional outburst at work. For the resignation to be valid, it must be clear and unequivocal. Most importantly, it must reflect the employee’s intention to resign.
An employee who was repeatedly sexually harassed by her coworker sued her employer after being terminated. In addition to normal damages for wrongful dismissal she was awarded $60,000 for “moral damages” by the trial judge, plus damages for the employer’s violation of human rights laws.
In Doyle v. Zochem Inc., 2017 ONCA 130, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently upheld this award and dismissed the employer’s appeal. This decision is a stark reminder of the importance of properly investigating employee complaints. It also confirms that moral damages and damages under human rights laws may both be awarded to an employee, without being characterized as “double dipping.”
In a recent decision – Peterson v. The Mutual Fire Insurance Company of BC, 2017 BCHRT 21 (CanLII) – the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal considered whether a corporate director who was told he could not serve a second term on the company’s board because he was over 69 years old, ought to be protected by human rights legislation.
The tribunal concluded that the applicant, a director on the board of an insurance company, was not entitled to protection from age discrimination under the British Columbia Human Rights Code because he was not in an employment relationship with the company.
In several jurisdictions across Canada, the issue of unionization of managers and supervisors is a thorny one. In many cases, unionization is restricted to “employees,” a definition from which managers are excluded. In the province of Québec, the exclusion is based partly on the potential for conflicts of interest in having managers collectively bargain their own conditions of employment.
In two surprising decisions, the Tribunal administratif du travail of Québec (Tribunal) has questioned the constitutionality of this managerial exclusion under Quebec’s Labour Code. While the decisions stem from an administrative tribunal and have yet to make their way to various appeal processes available through courts, as the case may be, they could have ramifications in other provinces.
The Government of Canada prides itself on its positive attitude toward immigration and openly welcomes international talent. There are no restrictions preventing the issuance of work permits based on citizenship, and there is no reason to believe that Canada will change the way it views immigration in the immediate future. Not to suggest that Canada is lax about national security; of course, appropriate screening measures are in place to ensure the population’s safety. But once regular security checks are performed, Canada issues (and will continue to issue) work permits to those who meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations.
Given the uncertainty that many employees of U.S.-based companies are now facing, the option of establishing a Canadian subsidiary to expand the organization’s footprint and relocate those employees who find themselves affected by the immigration policies of the current administration is gaining traction. From a Canadian’s perspective, we certainly welcome you in our country. Among other Canadian cities, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Waterloo are already home to many flourishing international tech companies.
A work permit is generally issued based on a specific job offer made by a particular Canadian employer (or an employer doing business in Canada). As such, the employer commits itself to providing the foreign worker with wages, working conditions, and employment that are similar to the terms set out in the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application submitted to Service Canada.
If the employment is exempt from the LMIA (for example, transfer within a company, North American Free Trade Agreement professional, etc.), the employer commits to providing the foreign worker with wages, working conditions, and employment that are similar to the terms set out in the offer of employment submitted via Immigration Canada’s Employer Portal.
By Brian Smeenk
Six innocent men were shot in the back while praying in a Quebec City mosque on January 29. The apparently racially motivated act of violence makes us all pause to reflect. How could this happen? In a peaceful city like that? In a peaceful country like Canada? What is happening in our society that would give rise to such hateful violence?
Perhaps we can all learn something from such a tragedy—including HR professionals, business managers, and even lawyers. Canadians and Americans alike.
What if this happens at your Canadian facility: One of your employees witnesses a workplace incident. Soon, enforcement officers are on-site investigating the incident. They may be police officers, health and safety inspectors, or environmental officers. One of the investigating officers asks the employee to assist and provide a witness statement. What should the employee do? What are the employee’s rights?
This split-second decision can have long-term and far-reaching legal implications for that employee, the employee’s coworkers, and your organization. Employees in such a situation might risk being charged with obstructing justice or inadvertently providing evidence to implicate themselves or others.
by Cory Sully
While access to medical marijuana has increased in Canada over the last few years, the consumption of medical marijuana has arguably become less taboo with the new Trudeau government’s pledge to eventually legalize and regulate this substance.
In the summer of 2016, the government made the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which allows individuals to legally consume marijuana for medical purposes if they meet certain criteria. The ACMPR is designed to allow individuals to access and use marijuana, notably by producing their own cannabis or designating someone to do so for them.