The City of Mississauga was recently embarrassed by a video of two of its employees duct-taped together. They were squirming around on a table, taped by their hands, torsos, and feet. This was apparently a routine employee hazing. It was leaked to the media by an employee who had had enough. The case provides a good lesson in how employers should not handle such situations.
The G20 Summit of world leaders will be in Toronto June 26-27. The summit is expected to draw considerable attention and thousands of protesters from around the world. Like the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, there will be intensive security measures and lots of potential disruptions.
As the summit will be held at a convention center in the downtown core, it gives rise to many issues for downtown employers. And employers outside the downtown area will be affected too, given that the central hub for commuter trains is in the highest security zone. What can employers expect and how should they respond when faced with this kind of massive, high-security event in their neighborhood? read more…
As we reported in an article last year, courts across the country are generally following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Keays v. Honda Canada: Punitive damages should be awarded only in exceptional cases, and moral damages should be limited to actual losses resulting from the employer’s conduct. That has left Canadian courts assessing employees’ actual losses. But the result can be a double-edged sword. Other damages may flow â€“ as was the case when the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled in Marchen v. Dams Ford Lincoln Sales Ltd. that an apprentice who was wrongfully dismissed was entitled to $25,000 for loss of his apprenticeship.
In November 2002, Dams Ford Lincoln Sales Ltd. (Dams) entered into an apprenticeship agreement with a Mr. Marchen. Under the agreement, Marchen was to work and take courses to become a qualified automobile collision repair journeyman. In exchange, Dams was to provide adequate training, so far as the facilities and the scope of the business would permit. The training program was expected to take approximately four years. Dams wasn’t required to keep Marchen employed for the entire period but only so long as work was available.
In our January 4, 2010, article titled Obtaining a Work Permit in Canada: The Labour Market Opinion Process, we explained that in order to get a work permit for a foreign worker, an employer in Canada generally must first obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (Service Canada). In order to obtain a positive LMO, Canadian employers must prove that they have made reasonable efforts to fill the position with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. This article discusses Service Canada’s advertising requirements relating to this “reasonable efforts” obligation.
Service Canada’s minimum advertising requirements were recently modified. And note that the requirements are slightly different for the Province of QuÃ©bec. If you are hiring an employee who will work in QuÃ©bec, make sure you follow the QuÃ©bec rules.
As we reported four weeks ago (Shocking Arbitration Decision in Ontario), a prominent Canadian arbitrator recently ordered the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) to pay more than $500,000 in damages, finding that it failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain the truth about an employee’s medical condition and fired her for sick leave fraud. The question is whether the door to higher damage awards in Canadian labor relations just got a whole lot wider.
On February 19, 2004, the grievor (a 23-year employee with a clean record) underwent arthroscopic surgery as a result of a workplace knee injury. On February 24, her surgeon wrote a note authorizing her to be off work for four weeks to recuperate.
By Lyne Duhaime
There are lots of recent activities in the pension field at the federal level in Canada. The government’s actions in the past 12 months constitute the most important reform of federal pension laws since the 1980s. Here’s a quick overview.
It started on January 9, 2009, when the government of Canada released a discussion paper titled “Strengthening the Legislative and Regulatory Framework for Private Pension Plans Subject to the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985.” This was followed by a series of public meetings across Canada. They were led by Ted Menzies, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. Concerned stakeholders had the opportunity to make their views known to the government by speaking at one of the public meetings or by making written submissions. The government received a wide range of advice.
Are pension plans that provide age-based early retirement programs discriminatory? In a decision that may be important across Canada, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has recently answered no.
In Kovacs v. Arcelor Mittal Montreal, Kovacs argued that he had been discriminated against on the basis of his age by not being able to participate in the early retirement program being offered by the employer, Arcelor.
Employers are often tasked with creating systems to reduce employee theft or fraud. Such systems can include many things including credit checks on potential employees. Recently, Mark’s Work Wearhouse in Alberta was stunned to learn that such credit checks weren’t permissible in the circumstances — even when a number of other measures had failed. As such, it agreed to stop conducting prehiring credit checks.
Faced with in-store theft or fraud, Canadian national retail chain Mark’s Work Wearhouse instituted a series of measures to deter employees. When other measures weren’t successful, it started collecting credit check information on its applicants.
The latest price tag for terminating an employee based on inadequate investigation and preconceived notions of guilt is $500,000. In a searing decision, an Ontario arbitrator found that the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain the truth about an employee’s medical condition before it fired her for alleged sick leave fraud.
According to the arbitrator, the GTAA’s high-handed and capricious conduct amounted to a breach of trust and the GTAA was held accountable for the devastating effects the termination had on the grievor’s mental and financial wellbeing.
By Gulu Punia
Successful headhunting can add significant value. But employers must be careful that they don’t become the hunted. As with any hunt, there are risks that may not be obvious. In the employment context, a Canadian employer may be on the hook for extended severance or risk an action from the previous employer for inducing a breach of the employment contract. The good news is that reasonable precautions can minimize these risks and result in happy hunting.
Recognition of previous service
One of the biggest risks for Canadian employers comes from an employee who’s recruited from secure employment. Such an employee may claim that previous service must be recognized by the new employer. This is particularly troublesome when the recruit is fired.