Ghost of Christmas Past: Firing Union Supporters Can Come Back to Haunt You

January 03, 2011 - by: David McDonald 1 COMMENTS

By David McDonald

Most Canadian employers are familiar with what they can and can’t do when they’re the target of a union-organizing campaign. Labor legislation across Canada prohibits management from terminating or disciplining employees because of trade union affiliation while a union is attempting to gain representational rights. A recent decision from British Columbia, Playtime Peardonville Ventures Ltd. and USW, Local 2952, warns that those prohibitions may continue in a workplace even months after the employees have voted to get rid of the union.

Union decertified in 2009
The United Steelworkers, Local 2952, had represented the employees at Chances Abbottsford, in British Columbia, since 1997. Chances was a former bingo hall that had been converted into a gaming center. It was clear that some employees weren’t satisfied with the representation they were receiving from the union since employees had unsuccessfully tried to leave the union, or “decertify,” in 2005 and 2008. On their third application, which was filed in July 2009, the employees’ decertification efforts were finally successful and the union’s certification was canceled.

Employees later terminated

By the fall of 2009, Chances was having economic troubles. After reviewing its staffing situation, management decided to reduce the workforce by four people. According to management, the people selected for termination were satisfactory employees, but when compared to others, they were viewed as weaker performers. It terminated the employees in late October 2009.

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Categories: Union-Labor Relations

Hiring Decisions and Older Workers — Avoiding Liability

December 27, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Alix Herber and Hadiya Roderique

Across Canada, human rights legislation prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of age. This applies to all aspects of the employment relationship — job advertisements, application forms, job interviews, hiring decisions, denial of promotional opportunities, and termination decisions.

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Permanent Immigration from United States to Canada

December 20, 2010 - by: Gilda Villaran 0 COMMENTS

By Gilda Villaran

How can an American resident become a Canadian citizen? Only permanent residents of Canada can apply. Therefore, one must start with applying for permanent resident status. There are various ways to become a permanent resident of Canada. This article will focus on those who apply in the “economic class.”

For those applying in the economic class, there are federal programs that are applicable across Canada as well as provincial programs that may facilitate the process.

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Workplace Harassment: Preventive Measures May Limit Liability

December 13, 2010 - by: Dominique Launay 1 COMMENTS

By Dominique Launay

No doubt, workplace harassment remains a hot topic in Canada. Another Canadian province, Manitoba, has recently announced that it will join Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and the federal sector in requiring employers to provide protection from workplace harassment.

Quebec employers have been required to deal with protections from psychological harassment since 2004. Their experience has helped determine when behavior crosses the line from a work conflict to harassment. A recent Quebec case, Gougeon v. Cheminées Sécurité International ltée, illustrates this fine line and demonstrates the importance of preventive measures and a prompt response to a complaint.

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Competing for Talent with Your Own Clients

December 06, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Joel Henderson and Stephen Acker

Julie is an IT consultant working for NoProblemo! Tech Solutions (NP), a technology consultancy. Julie has worked at NP for six years, is well-educated, and has important certifications and transportable skills. What can NP do to reduce the risk of her being hired away by a client?

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Noncompetes Often a Nonstarter

November 29, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Gulu Punia and Kyla Stott-Jess

Signing a noncompete agreement can potentially provide some assurance that former employees will not start up or join the competing business across the street. In the absence of a noncompete agreement, employers often try to rely on their former employees’ fiduciary duties to combat competition. Unfortunately, Alberta’s Court of Appeal has recently confirmed, in KOS Oilfield Transportation Ltd. V. Mitchell, that common-law fiduciary duties do not generally prevent former employees from working for a competitor.

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Aspects of Attendance Management Program Ruled Discriminatory

November 22, 2010 - by: David Wong 0 COMMENTS

By David Wong

Attendance management programs themselves aren’t discriminatory — they just need to be carefully designed and properly applied. Such is the latest conclusion in continuing litigation between Coast Mountain Bus Company Ltd. and the Canadian Auto Workers, a battle over an attendance management program covering transit operators in the Greater Vancouver region in British Columbia.

In May 2009, we commented on the British Columbia Supreme Court’s decision in which the court largely accepted the employer’s program.

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Employees Fired for Facebook Postings

November 15, 2010 - by: Maria Giagilitsis 1 COMMENTS

By Maria Giagilitsis

It’s becoming more and more clear that an employee’s use of social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace may lead to justifiable discipline by an employer. On October 22, 2010, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board released its decision in West Coast Mazda (d.b.a. West Coast Detail & Accessory Centre) and UFCW Local 1518, in which it dismissed the union’s unfair labor practice complaint and agreed that the employer’s decision to terminate two employees for their Facebook postings during certification was appropriate.

Facebook postings
The facts and timeline in this case are critical: The union applied for certification on August 26; the employer received notice of this application on August 27; and the union was certified one week later on September 8, 2010. There were three key individuals involved in this case: one employee who was a key inside organizer with four years’ service; a second employee who was also a union supporter with two years’ service; and a third employee, the manager, with over four years’ service. All three individuals were “friends” on Facebook.

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Accommodating Mental Illness

November 15, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Alix Herber and Hadiya Roderique

In Canada, employers have a duty to accommodate individuals suffering from a disability to the level of undue hardship. In the case of an employee with a physical disability, it often can be relatively straightforward to identify accommodations that can be implemented.

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Wal-Mart’s Follow-Up: A Consolation Prize for Unions?

November 08, 2010 - by: Chris Semerjian 1 COMMENTS

By Chris Semerjian

The Quebec Superior Court recently upheld an arbitration award against Wal-Mart regarding the  closure of its store in the town of Jonquière in 2005. That closure is now also affecting Wal-Mart elsewhere in Canada. The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal recently indicated that Wal-Mart’s actions in Quebec possibly could be perceived as an intimidation tactic against Saskatchewan employees. Here is an update of the cases.

Facts
In February 2005, after the Jonquière workers had voted to become the first unionized Wal-Mart store in North America, the company announced it was closing the store. It did so on April 29, 2005. About 190 employees were laid off.

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