Avoiding liability risks when you fire a sexual harasser

November 05, 2017 - by: Theodore Fong 0 COMMENTS

by Theodore Fong

The risks to employers in sexual harassment cases can be big. Potential liability can arise from any decision. Employers may then find themselves having to make tough decisions on tight timelines.

The key to ensuring an appropriate response is to be prepared. Preparation will permit an employer to take a proactive approach, as opposed to a reactive stance, when sexual harassment is discovered. That is a lesson that can be drawn from the recent Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench case of Watkins v. Willow Park Golf Course Ltd.

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Discipline for off-duty cocaine use justified in safety-sensitive workplace

June 25, 2017 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

by Rosalind H. Cooper

A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Stewart v Elk Valley Coal Corp., 2017 SCC 30, has confirmed that employers have the ability to take disciplinary action against employees for drug and alcohol use in safety-sensitive workplaces.

The worker in this case was employed in a mine where a drug and alcohol policy had been implemented. The policy required workers to disclose any dependence or addiction issues and to make such disclosure in advance of any incident occurring. If employees followed the policy, they were offered treatment for their addiction. If disclosure was not made and an incident occurred and the employee subsequently tested positive for alcohol or drugs, he or she could be terminated.

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Quebec Court of Appeal: People (not workplace policies) harass people

December 18, 2016 - by: Alexis Charpentier 0 COMMENTS

by Alexis Charpentier

Workplace harassment is a complicated and evolving area of the law. The lines between an employer’s right to manage its employees and harassment are often blurred. Fortunately, the Court of Appeal of Québec has provided some clarity in a recent decision in Syndicat des travailleurs de l’aluminium d’Alma, local 9490 (Syndicat des métallos, section locale 9490) c. Rio Tinto Alcan, usine d’Alma (2016 QCCA 879) by confirming that a workplace policy addressing the employer’s right to manage medical absences cannot, in and of itself, constitute harassment of employees.

Facts

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New developments in Canadian law on gender identity and expression at work

December 04, 2016 - by: Clayton Jones 0 COMMENTS

by Clayton Jones

In Canada, legislative developments continue to occur regarding the issues of gender identity and gender expression and have gained much attention in recent months. This is due in part to the increased acknowledgement of the challenges faced by transgendered people including in the workplace.

One of the results is that employers are being required more than ever to pay attention to the issues of gender identity and gender expression at work, including ensuring that discrimination against transgendered employees isn’t tolerated and that workplace accommodations are implemented as appropriate.

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Going down the class-action Tran-Canada Highway

October 16, 2016 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

by Kyla Stott-Jess and Mitchell Barnard

The phrase “class action lawsuit” can strike fear in the executive ranks of any large company. The development of class action law in in the employment context has been slower north of the 49th parallel than in the United States. Recently, though, a line of cases has been paving the class action ‘highway’ to increased Canadian litigation in this area. Much of the law to date has focused on certification. For a legal action to be certified, its initiators must prove that it is appropriate for the claims to be brought as a class proceeding. A recent Ontario decision suggests that certification may not provide as much of a speed bump as employers would like. read more…

Managing the risks posed by distracted driving

December 20, 2015 - by: Carla Oliver 0 COMMENTS

by Carla Oliver

We’ve all seen it. Maybe when looking around while stuck in stop-and-go traffic on a highway. Maybe when noticing that a car in front of us doesn’t move when the traffic light turns green. It’s the distracted driver—texting away on his or her handheld device instead of paying attention to the traffic and road conditions.

Distracted driving has become one of the most dangerous hazards on our roads today. In most provinces in Canada, fatalities caused by distracted driving have now exceeded the fatalities caused by both impaired driving and speeding. The Canadian Automobile Association has published statistics noting that a driver texting on a cell phone is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident or near accident than a nondistracted driver. read more…

BYOD: privacy issues for Canadian employers

November 15, 2015 - by: Lorene Novakowski 0 COMMENTS

by Lorene A. Novakowski

Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, programs are increasingly popular in Canada, as they are in the United States. Under a BYOD program, employers require or expect employees to use their own mobile devices for business purposes. The practice raises privacy concerns as well as concerns about ownership of company data and the ability to retain company data when an employee departs.

In August 2015, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s federal government together with those of British Columbia and Alberta jointly issued a paper considering the privacy implications of BYOD programs. The paper also provides useful recommendations for employers. read more…

Employers required to give employees time off to vote

September 27, 2015 - by: Stefan Kimpton 0 COMMENTS

By Stefan Kimpton

It’s almost election day in Canada. On October 19, Canadians will head to the polls to elect the new federal government. Employers with employees in Canada should be aware of their obligations on election day. read more…

Canada’s temporary foreign worker program: new emphasis on enforcement

May 18, 2014 - by: Thora Sigurdson 0 COMMENTS

By Thora Sigurdson

As we reported earlier, in response to increasing concerns about the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC) have stepped up enforcement. read more…

More rigorous regime for employers of temporary foreign workers

March 02, 2014 - by: Gilda Villaran 0 COMMENTS

By Gilda Villaran

As we have repeatedly reported, there have been many changes to Canada’s immigration program in the past year. So many, in fact, that it has been hard to keep track of all the new legislative and regulatory amendments and new administrative measures.

Yet another important change to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program came into effect on December 31, 2013 — one that can’t be overlooked by employers of temporary foreign workers. This is the amendment of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. read more…

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