Refusing to collaborate in harassment investigation can be grounds for dismissal

March 22, 2015 - by: Olivier Lamoureux 0 COMMENTS

By Olivier Lamoureux

In Séguin v. Dessau Inc., a tribunal, the Commission des relations du travail (CRT), upheld the dismissal of an employee who had behaved in a vexatious manner toward a subordinate he was enamored with. The dismissed employee had refused to collaborate in the employer’s investigation into an incident of psychological harassment. read more…

Federal sector employers have right to dismiss without cause, too

February 22, 2015 - by: Bonny Mak Waterfall 0 COMMENTS

by Bonny Mak Waterfall

There’s good news for Canadian employers in the federal sector—those engaged in federal works and undertakings such as airlines, airports, railways, banking, interprovincial transportation, and telecommunications. For many years, employers in Canada’s federal sector understood that they did not have the right to dismiss employees without cause unless such termination was due to lack of work or discontinuance of a function. The Federal Court of Appeal recently rejected this view in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. read more…

Arbitrator upholds employer’s dismissal of grievor who exaggerated her medical symptoms

December 21, 2014 - by: Louise Bechamp 0 COMMENTS

by Louise Béchamp

Exaggerating one’s medical symptoms in order to avoid a return to work can be cause for dismissal. This is a lesson that a grievor learned the hard way following the finding of a Quebec arbitrator in Fédération des paramédics et des employées et employés des services préhospitaliers du Québec (FPESPQ) and Services préhospitaliers Laurentides-Lanaudière ltée. read more…

Retaliation against unreasonable discrimination complaint can cost you

November 23, 2014 - by: Kevin O'Neill 0 COMMENTS

By Kevin O’Neill, Q.C.

How the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal recently handled a retaliation complaint—where the employee was found to be not credible and unreasonable—should give employers pause. read more…

A not-so-constructive constructive dismissal decision

July 06, 2014 - by: Frederic Parisien 0 COMMENTS

By Fréderic Parisien

A Canadian employee may claim that his or her employment is constructively dismissed when his or her employer makes a unilateral change to a fundamental term or condition of employment without appropriate notice. What about a change in the employer with no other change? Surely that can’t be a constructive dismissal. Apparently so, at least in Quebec. read more…

Clear offer of employment needed to argue mitigation

April 27, 2014 - by: Katherine Pollock 0 COMMENTS

By Katherine Pollock

Want to change a Canadian employee’s terms or conditions of employment? It’s not as easy as it once was.

Depending on the nature of the change, it may amount to constructive dismissal. If it does amount to constructive dismissal, simply providing notice of the change may not be sufficient—as the Court of Appeal taught us in Wronko v. Western Inventory Service Ltd. To make matters worse, contrary to what was once expected, an employee may not even need to quit to sue for constructive dismissal. 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.

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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…

The power of a PIP – performance improvement plan

March 17, 2013 - by: Marie-Julie Lanctot 0 COMMENTS

By Marie-Julie Lanctôt

Under their management rights, employers may establish fair, accurate, and achievable performance standards. A recent decision from the Labour Relations Board of Quebec, Piché et Impérial Tobacco Compagnie ltée, 2012 QCCRT 0600 (decision available in French only), serves to illustrate how Canadian employers may properly dismiss employees for poor work performance despite the fact that Canada doesn’t have at-will employment. read more…

Layoff as constructive dismissal: a cautionary tale for employers

December 09, 2012 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Ralph N. Nero and Keri L. Bennett

When is a layoff not a layoff? When it is a constructive dismissal, according to an Ontario judge. McLean v. The Rawyal Limited Partnership reaffirms the principle that unless incorporated as an express or implied term of the employment contract, a layoff may be treated as constructive dismissal–meaning the employee can sue for pay in lieu of reasonable notice.

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