A face for radio? Employment law lessons from the Jian Ghomeshi scandal

December 07, 2014 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 1 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

Over the last month, the Canadian news media has devoted significant time to covering the Jian Ghomeshi scandal. Aside from the celebrity gossip factor, the story has had such staying power because it touches on so many controversial issues—BDSM (Bondage & Discipline / Domination & Submission / Sadism & Masochism), sexual consent, victim credibility, privacy concerns, power politics, criminal charges—the list is long. In addition (and more importantly for employers) the Ghomeshi story began as a story about the end of an employee’s employment. read more…

Duties more important than titles when determining eligibility for overtime

August 03, 2014 - by: Marc Ouellet 0 COMMENTS

by Marc Ouellet

The issue of overtime has become a major concern for employers in the wake of class actions on the subject in Canada. The Québec Act Respecting Labour Standards (ALS) provides exemptions from the right to overtime including for employees in managerial positions. In Skiba v. Playground, L.P., the Court of Appeal of Québec recently clarified which employees may be exempt as “managers” in Quebec. While the applicable statutes vary across Canada, the fundamental principles applied are similar. Thus this decision may have persuasive value outside of Quebec. read more…

Lessons from the U.S. government shutdown

October 27, 2013 - by: Julia Kennedy 0 COMMENTS

By Julia Kennedy

It should be a relief to many employers (and employees) that their company has just one board of directors, with no second house to blockade budgets, freeze operating funds, or send large portions of the workforce home. Since an estimated 800,000 U.S. government employees were “furloughed” or required to work without pay earlier this month (approximately one-third of the U.S. government’s civilian workforce), employers in Canada may want to take a moment to remind themselves of the constraints they may face when initiating their own temporary layoffs. read more…

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Self-employed worker or salaried employee? Getting it wrong can be costly

September 22, 2013 - by: Myriam Robichaud 0 COMMENTS

By Myriam Robichaud

You’re about to hire an employee. But he has his own business and wants to be an independent contractor. That way, he’ll pay less tax. And it’s easy for you too — you will just have to pay his invoices and won’t have to include him in your employee headcount.

But wait. There can be significant consequences from incorrectly characterizing an employee as an independent contractor. Not only can the individual, at the end of the relationship, claim he was really an employee and entitled to significant severance benefits, the tax authorities can also come knocking, as was the case recently in Quebec. read more…

Employees’ smartphones as potential sources of evidence

August 04, 2013 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Antoine Aylwin and Edith Charbonneau

Your employee quits his job and returns his smartphone. It contains information that shows he was scheming against you. What can you do with this? Could you use the e-mails found in the smartphone as evidence? This question was recently ruled upon by the Quebec Superior Court in Les Images Turbo inc. v. Marquis. read more…

When time is the very essence of your job, best not be late …

April 28, 2013 - by: Michel Bellemare 0 COMMENTS

By Michel Bellemare

Every job has its own peculiarities. What might be a minor shortcoming in one type of employment could be catastrophic in another. This is especially true when the breach touches on the very heart of the duties assigned to an employee. This, at least, is what an employee learned in a recent Quebec case: Mardik v. Nova Bus. (2013 QCCS 1152; decision available in French only). read more…

Bridging work permits for those awaiting permanent residence in Canada – finally!

April 14, 2013 - by: Gilda Villaran 1 COMMENTS

By Gilda Villaran

Immigration Canada announced a new policy on December 15, 2012, that allows for bridging work permits. Foreign nationals who are currently working in Canada and have applied for permanent residence (under certain programs) can now apply for such a permit. This will allow them to stay and work until their permanent residence application is finalized. read more…

Punitive damages awards increasing in Canadian employment cases

March 31, 2013 - by: David McDonald 0 COMMENTS

By David McDonald

In wrongful dismissal cases in Canada, punitive damages awards are available only in exceptional situations. That’s what the Supreme Court of Canada said in 2008 in Honda Canada v. Keays. The employer’s conduct in the course of termination must be proven to be harsh, vindictive, reprehensible, and malicious. Despite this high threshold, a number of recent trial decisions show how Canadian courts are becoming more open to providing employees with punitive damages awards. read more…

Personal liability of managers for workplace harassment

February 17, 2013 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Marisa Victor and Lydia de Guzman

Canadian employers, like those in the United States, are required to deal effectively with sexual harassment in the workplace. But managers have usually been personally liable only in the worst cases.

read more…

Definition of ‘employer’ key to human rights claim of worker in isolated location

January 27, 2013 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 1 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

The Alberta Court of Appeal has recently added to the ongoing debate in Canada over who is or isn’t an employer in the human rights context. In its recent decision in 375850 Alberta Ltd. v. Beverly Noel and the Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, the dismissal of the complainant’s appeal illustrates that naming the correct employer is vital to the outcome. read more…

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