Bullying and harassment in the workplace: lessons from the Miami Dolphins

December 01, 2013 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

The professional sports world has been buzzing with the sudden departure of offensive tackle Jonathan Martin from the Miami Dolphins. His midseason exit from the team comes amid allegations that he was the victim of harassment and bullying.

The scandal has given the public a glimpse behind closed locker-room doors, into the testosterone-fueled “workplace culture” of professional football—a culture rife with hazing, teasing, and, in this particular instance, aggressive and targeted harassment of a young player. While Martin’s alleged harassment will be dealt with under U.S. laws, his situation draws attention to issues faced by Canadian employers. read more…

Individual privacy rights trumped by union’s freedom of expression

November 24, 2013 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Lorene Novakowski and Brandon Wiebe

On November 15, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a union’s right to collect, use, and disclose personal information for legitimate labor relations purposes outweighs an individual’s right to privacy. In so doing, it declared Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) unconstitutional but suspended the declaration for one year to allow the Alberta legislature time to cure the statute. read more…

Objective medical proof not necessary for accommodation duties to arise

November 10, 2013 - by: Marc Rodrigue 1 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

Under human rights legislation across the country, Canadian employers have a general duty to accommodate employees who are unable to perform their work for a period of time because of illness or disability to the point of undue hardship.

This may require an employer to grant an employee a leave of absence from the workplace. But what if the employee doesn’t provide medical documentation to justify such an absence; surely you could deny the leave? Not necessarily, according to an Ontario arbitrator in TRW Canada Ltd. and TPEA (Lockhart). read more…

High court rules on noncompete, nonsolicitation clauses in business sale

November 03, 2013 - by: Isabelle East-Richard 0 COMMENTS

By Isabelle East-Richard

A recent Supreme Court of Canada decision arising out of Québec will have broad ramifications across Canada.

In Payette v. Guay Inc. (2013 SCC 45 (September 12, 2013)), the Supreme Court of Canada settled the debate over whether the employment contract provisions of the Civil Code of Québec also apply to noncompete and nonsolicitation clauses set forth in business sale agreements. In so doing, it addressed the distinction between the rules that apply to restrictive covenants found in an employment contract and those found in a contract for the sale of a business. 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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Employers’ collection of GPS data found to not breach privacy rights

October 20, 2013 - by: Lorene Novakowski 0 COMMENTS

By Lorene Novakowski

In two recent cases out of British Columbia, employers were found to be entitled to collect GPS information from service vehicles and from mobile phones issued to employees. Employees had complained that the collection of the GPS information was contrary to the BC Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). The complaints were considered by BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC).

ThyssenKrupp Elevator (Canada) Limited

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Phoning it in: Termination appropriate for employee who called in ‘sick’

October 13, 2013 - by: Hannah Roskey 0 COMMENTS

By Hannah Roskey

Determining the legitimacy of an employee’s illness is a tricky situation for employers across Canada. The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently took a firm stance on the abuse of sick leave and found in favor of the employer in Telus Communications Inc. v. Telecommunications Workers’ Union. Telus was correct in firing an employee who said he was too sick to go to work but well enough to play in a softball tournament. The court even declined to take the usual step of sending the matter back for a new arbitration hearing. read more…

Canadian employers hit with record-setting occupational health and safety fines

October 06, 2013 - by: Norm Keith 0 COMMENTS

By Norm Keith

With the introduction of the Bill C-45 amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, occupational health and safety regulation, prosecution and conviction have been on the rise across the country. Recently, Vale Canada Limited and Metron Construction were given record fines in occupational health and safety and criminal negligence convictions, respectively. read more…

Allergies in the workplace can’t be ignored

September 29, 2013 - by: Eowynne Noble 1 COMMENTS

By Eowynne Noble

Peanuts, gluten, perfumes, smoke, and latex—we all know allergies to these and other substances are on the rise. And workplaces aren’t immune to the problem. More and more employees are suffering from allergies and sensitivities than ever before.

To put it in perspective, Health Canada recently reported that up to four percent of Canadians have a physician-diagnosed food allergy. We understand that schools accommodate these types of allergies, but surely employers don’t have to. Not true, as was made clear in a recent Ontario arbitration decision, London Health Sciences Centre v. Ontario Nurses’ Association (LHSC v. ONA). read more…

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…

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