Quitting Before End of Notice Period: Lessons from B.C. Court of Appeal

March 03, 2012 - by: Hadiya Roderique 0 COMMENTS

By Hadiya Roderique

Working notice — the default under many pieces of employment standards in Canada — can be a way to reduce an organization’s cost of termination of employment. But what happens when an employee quits in response to getting fired before the end of the notice period? And what happens when the working notice isn’t reasonable. The recently decided British Columbia Court of Appeal case of Giza v. Sechelt School Bus Service Ltd., sheds some new light.

Facts
Raymond Giza was a five-year part-time school bus driver for the employer, Sechelt School Bus Service Ltd. He wasn’t subject to an agreement setting out an amount of notice to be given upon termination.

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Categories: Termination

Should Noncompete Agreement Be in Purchase and Sale Agreement or in Employment Agreement?

February 26, 2012 - by: Chris Semerjian 0 COMMENTS

By Chris Semerjian

When Canadian employers are buying other businesses, the question of noncompetes often arises. But a noncompetition provision in an employment contract may not be the answer.

According to the Quebec Court of Appeal in Guay Inc. c. Payette, 2011 QCCA 2282, you may be better protected by only having a noncompetition covenant in your sale agreement rather than also including such a clause in your new employees’ employment contracts.

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Categories: Employment Contracts

Duty to Accommodate Disabilities Takes New Turn in Canada

February 19, 2012 - by: Donna Gallant 0 COMMENTS

By Donna Gallant

Employers are regularly called upon to modify the workplace or job duties in order to accommodate disabilities. But personal assistive bodily devices haven’t traditionally been part of the accommodation discussion in Canada. This may now be changing, according to a recent arbitration decision.

Teacher requires hearing aids
A teacher struggled with a serious, progressive hearing loss. She bought an analog hearing aid in the early 1990s. Her hearing got worse, and she couldn’t communicate effectively, which of course is an essential part of teaching.

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Health and Safety Coordinator Convicted and Fined

February 12, 2012 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

by Rosalind H. Cooper

It is commonplace for companies and supervisors across Canada to be charged and convicted with respect to health and safety offenses. But the same doesn’t necessarily hold true for health and safety managers. In R. v. Della Valle, the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia recently convicted and fined a health and safety manager. This individual is now the second health and safety manager to be convicted of an occupational health and safety offense.

Facts
James Edward Della Valle was the occupational health and safety coordinator of the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority, which owns and maintains several housing units.  After concerns were raised by an employee, testing was done on vermiculite insulation found in the attics of some of the housing units.

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Mo’ Money! Statutory Termination Can Lead to Common Law Damages

February 05, 2012 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Marisa Victor and Sean McGurran

Following a recent decision by Ontario’s highest court, employers across Canada may now be on the hook for more termination pay when nonunion employees are laid off for an extended period.

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Categories: Employment Law / Termination

Demotion Inappropriate Response to Poor Performance

January 29, 2012 - by: David McDonald 0 COMMENTS

By David T. McDonald

“Cause” for termination is a difficult standard to meet in Canada. So what are your alternatives if you don’t have cause? Warning, suspension, demotion, transfer? In Haddock v. Thrifty Foods (2003) Limited and Quadcam Holdings Ltd., the British Columbia Supreme Court has recently said a demotion may not be a proper response. Further, a warning must be “current” to disentitle an employee to damages.

Employee’s declining performance
The employee was a grocery store department manager. He had worked his way up to that position over the course of 16 years. For the first 14 years of his employment, he was a good employee. But he started abusing alcohol, resulting in poor performance in the last two years.

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Canadians Can Now Sue for Invasion of Privacy, But It’s Not Worth Much

January 24, 2012 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

By Brian P. Smeenk

Does Canadian law recognize a right to sue somebody for invasion of privacy? In a landmark ruling in Jones v. Tsige, Ontario’s highest court recently said essentially: Yes. In limited circumstances you can sue for “intrusion upon seclusion.” But you won’t have a big payday.

This decision is a very significant development in Canadian law. It has potentially wide-ranging ramifications across many sectors, including in the labor and employment context.

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Categories: Employment Law / Privacy

Loss of Qualifications: What’s the Employer’s Obligation?

January 22, 2012 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Gulu Punia

What’s an employer in Canada to do if an employee loses a required qualification? For example, if drivers lose their licenses? If professional employees lose their accreditation? Is there a requirement to provide notice or pay in lieu of notice of termination?

A recent appeal court decision in Ontario suggests that in such cases the contract of employment comes to an end because it has been “frustrated.” There is no requirement to provide any notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice in such circumstances.

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Another Gong Sounds for the End to Mandatory Retirement

January 15, 2012 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Ralph N. Nero and Keri L. Bennett

Following the earlier lead of many Canadian provinces, the federal government has now outlawed mandatory retirement for federally regulated employers such as banks, telecommunications companies, airlines, and railways.

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Employer’s Right to Reduce Pension Benefits

January 09, 2012 - by: Lyne Duhaime 0 COMMENTS

By Lyne Duhaime

In most Canadian jurisdictions, employers are limited in retroactively reducing pension benefits. The Quebec Superior Court recently considered employers’ rights in this regard in Synertech Moulded Products, Division of Old Castle Buildings v. Tribunal Administratif du Québec et al.

The court ordered the Quebec Regulator to register pension amendments proposed by the employer and said that absent specific powers, the Quebec Regulator could not arbitrarily refuse to register pension amendments to which affected employees had agreed.

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