BC addresses whether privacy rights include right to remain anonymous

July 13, 2014 - by: Chuck Harrison 0 COMMENTS

By Chuck Harrison

In a recent Canadian case, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board addressed whether privacy rights entitle an employee disciplined for serious misconduct to remain anonymous in an arbitration award. read more…

Limiting an arbitrator’s jurisdiction to modify last chance agreements

May 04, 2014 - by: Mohamed Badreddine 0 COMMENTS

By Mohamed Badreddine

Last chance agreements are a tool commonly used by workplace parties in Canada to give an employee accused of serious or repeated misconduct one last chance to keep his or her job. These agreements are sometimes used to manage an employee’s absenteeism, poor job performance, or drug or alcohol addiction. They may also be used to manage more serious employee misconduct such as insubordination, fighting, or harassment in the workplace. read more…

How far-reaching will the Irving Pulp & Paper decision be?

July 07, 2013 - by: Clayton Jones 0 COMMENTS

By Clayton Jones

Last week we told you about the recent decision in Irving Pulp & Paper where the Supreme Court of Canada severely limited an employer’s right to perform random alcohol and drug testing in the workplace. The implications of the Irving decision will undoubtedly be far-reaching, including on two prominent cases currently being heard by arbitrators in Alberta and British Columbia that deal with random drug testing–Suncor Energy and Teck (Coal). read more…

Progressive discipline prevails—even where harassment proven

June 09, 2013 - by: Keri Bennett 0 COMMENTS

By Keri Bennett

When a long-service costume designer was dismissed following a workplace harassment investigation, a British Colombia arbitrator found the company’s no-hire ban for all future productions to be excessive, since there was a lack of progressive discipline.

Despite finding that the fired employee had engaged in longstanding and widespread harassment of junior employees, the arbitrator in Warner Bros. Television (B.C.) Inc. ruled that even the least remorseful of employees is entitled to an opportunity to change his or her behavior.

read more…

Appeal court upholds temporary injunction against drug and alcohol testing

December 23, 2012 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess and Katie Clayton

Canadian courts have been reluctant to allow random drug and alcohol testing in most workplaces. The issue was recently back before the Alberta Court of Appeal. Oil Company Suncor appealed an injunction against its new proposed drug and alcohol testing policy. read more…

Indefinite protection for federal employee disabled by work-related injury

November 11, 2012 - by: Nicola Sutton 0 COMMENTS

by Nicola Sutton

When the employment relationship becomes impossible to perform because of a factor outside the control of a Canadian employer or employee, the employee’s employment can be terminated by virtue of frustration of contract. When an employee won’t be able to return to work because of injury or illness, the same applies. But not so for federally regulated employers such as banks, airlines, inter-provincial trucking companies, etc.

According to the recent decision of Kingsway Transport v. Teamsters, Local Union 91, the frustration argument is no longer available for those employers when the employee’s inability to return to work is because of a work-related injury or illness. read more…

Breaching duties and cashing checks: An employee’s entitlement to bonuses after termination

October 14, 2012 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Marisa Victor and Christopher Copeland

Can a Canadian employee who is fired for cause sue for outstanding bonuses? What about if those bonuses relate to the period of the employee’s wrongdoing? This was the issue in Mady Development Corp. v. Rossetto, when a terminated executive sought to claim his bonuses for a period when he was found to be misappropriating company resources.

Facts

Leonard Rossetto was employed as an executive with a group of corporations (Mady). In fall 2007, he diverted labor, materials, and funds from Mady to renovate his house. He was fired on December 12, 2008, when Mady discovered his wrongdoing. Mady then sued him to recover the misappropriated corporate funds and resources. Rossetto counterclaimed for his bonuses for 2007 and 2008. Pursuant to his employment contract, he was entitled to an annual bonus equal to 30 percent of Mady’s profits after overhead. The parties ultimately submitted their dispute to arbitration. read more…

Alleged Harasser Sidelined during Arbitration

April 15, 2012 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Frederic Parisien

Workplace harassment, at the onset, involves two players — the harasser and the harassee. A third party is added once a complaint is filed — the employer. And a fourth player, the union, is added if that complaint is a grievance. To what extent does the alleged harasser continue to be a party in Canada? In Association du personnel de soutien du College v. College d’enseignement general et professionel, the Quebec Court of Appeal recently said that the harasser takes a backseat to the main parties — the employer and the union.

Facts
A laboratory technician at a Montreal-area college filed a harassment complaint against a teacher. When the college’s internal investigation did not support the harassment allegations, the union filed a grievance on the harassee’s behalf. The college, as the employer, was called to defend the grievance. But the alleged harasser sought to intervene and obtain full party status.

read more…

Categories: Arbitration / Employment Law

Protecting Yourself from Canadian Labor Arbitrators’ Expanding Powers

May 16, 2011 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

By Brian P. Smeenk

How can you protect yourself from arbitrators’ ever-increasing damages awards, based on ever-expanding grounds?

In the April 25 Northern Exposure entry “Canadian Court Trims $500K Dismissal Damages, Upholds Arbitrator’s Broad Authority,” we reported on the latest notable example of a Canadian labor arbitrator’s expansive award being upheld by the courts. That decision surprisingly granted a lower-level Greater Toronto Airport Authority employee $500,000+ for past and future wages, plus damages for mental distress, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. In upholding most of the award, the court clarified the broad remedial authority of labor arbitrators. But it confirmed most of the arbitrator’s powers, at least under that agreement.

read more…

Categories: Arbitration

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Quebec Employer Not Entitled to Review Employee’s Email to Union

May 02, 2011 - by: Antoine Aylwin 0 COMMENTS

By Antoine Aylwin

A month ago, we reported on the Ontario Court of Appeal’s surprising decision in R. v. Cole.  In that decision the Court of Appeal said that a high school teacher was protected against searches on his work computer by the police absent a search warrant. The Court of Appeal based its decision on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Recently, an arbitrator in Quebec also considered an employee’s Charter rights, this time the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It said that Laval University violated an employee’s Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms when it reviewed an email sent by the employee — on the university’s systems — to the union.

Facts
At issue was a brief exchange of emails on January 16, 2007: read more…

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