Canadian Employer Avoids Prior Severance Promises

December 09, 2008 - by: Karen Sargeant 0 COMMENTS

by Karen Sargeant

During these tough economic times, employers are often looking to increase flexibility. Several of our recent blog entries have discussed ways in which employers can do so – furloughs, work-sharing programs, changing employment contracts, and adjusting the size of the workforce. Recently, the British Columbia Court of Appeal granted Raytheon Canada some flexibility when it said that Raytheon did not have to provide severance pay in accordance with prior promises. (Marija Ciric v Raytheon Canada Limited)

Severance pay promises
In January 2004, Raytheon began downsizing its Richmond, British Columbia, facility. Layoffs had been made, more were expected and were subsequently made, and Raytheon was anxious to retain key employees. In order to do so, Raytheon told employees that were not being laid off that the practice of paying severance pay based on one month’s salary for each year of service, with an upward adjustment for age and level, would continue to apply to employees who were laid off from the Richmond facility in the future.

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Quebec closing may have ramifications in Saskatchewan – Wal-Mart revisited

December 02, 2008 - by: Karen Sargeant 0 COMMENTS

by Karen Sargeant

As many of you will know from earlier blog entries, Wal-Mart’s entry into Canada has been rife with union complaints. Beginning in the 1990s when employees at a Windsor, Ontario, store were automatically certified under relatively new certification provisions, employees and unions have filed numerous unfair labor practice complaints. The most recent of these complaints to be dealt with comes out of Saskatchewan.

What’s interesting about the development in Saskatchewan is that it involves a store in another province — Quebec.

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Creative Ways to Cut Labor Costs in Canada: Furloughs and Work Sharing

November 25, 2008 - by: Sara Parchello 1 COMMENTS

by Sara Parchello

Many employers in Canada are assessing how they can continue to compete during the tough financial times that appear to be heading toward us. One of the most difficult decisions employers must make is how to reorganize or reduce labor costs in order to stay competitive.

While closures and layoffs make sense for some employers, other employers are questioning whether other options are available to them. What options do companies have in tough economic times to reduce labor costs?

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Canadian Employer Uses Arbitration to Recover Losses from Employee’s Theft

November 18, 2008 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

by Brian Smeenk

TFI Transport (doing business as Canadian Freightways) had a bit of a theft problem in its Calgary terminal in 2005 and 2006. The company was losing television sets and generators. It conducted an investigation and was able to prove that one of its employees, Wayne Spence, had either stolen or was knowingly in possession of a number of the TVs and at least one generator.

The company tried to get an explanation from Spence, without success. But rather than just fire the culprit (and why they didn’t was never explained), they filed a claim for damages against him. The company filed a grievance against the employee and presented it to his union. TFI Transport 7 LP, Transforce Administration Inc. vs. Wayne Bruce Spence (Arbitrator D. Tettensor), April 25, 2008.

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List Identifies Canada’s Top 10 Employers

November 10, 2008 - by: Karen Sargeant 0 COMMENTS

Wondering if your company is a “best employer?” Canada’s Financial Post magazine recently identified Canada’s Top 10. The winners span the country. They include some of Canada’s best known companies, as well as some that are only well-known within their industry sector.

The Financial Post contacted 16,000 private-sector employers to participate in its competition. Of those, 2,100 employers participated. Those companies were judged on physical workplace; worker relations; health, financial and family benefits; vacation/time off; communications between management and staff; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.

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Categories: Workplace Policies

List Identifies Canada’s Top 10 Employers

November 10, 2008 - by: Karen Sargeant 0 COMMENTS

by Karen Sargeant

Wondering if your company is a “best employer?” Canada’s Financial Post magazine recently identified Canada’s Top 10. The winners span the country. They include some of Canada’s best known companies, as well as some that are only well-known within their industry sector.

The Financial Post contacted 16,000 private-sector employers to participate in its competition. Of those, 2,100 employers participated. Those companies were judged on physical workplace; worker relations; health, financial and family benefits; vacation/time off; communications between management and staff; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.

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Categories: Workplace Policies

Facing Up to Facebook and Other Social Networking Web Sites in the Workplace

November 04, 2008 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

by Brian Smeenk

What if one of your employees reports to you he is very upset about what a coworker (“John”) wrote in a social networking web site about their boss? The statements are false and injure the boss’ reputation. If seen widely, they would be hurtful to the boss’ family. You are shown the statements by the employee, who is one of the “friends” with access to the author’s personal page.

What can or should a Canadian employer do if employees are using Facebook or similar social networking Internet web sites to hurt the reputation of a coworker? What if they are not making injurious statements but are spending a lot of time on this while at work? What are the risks to the employer of employee use of these sites? What can you do to limit or control these risks?

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Categories: Employer's Tip / Privacy

Canada’s Supreme Court Awards RBC Dominion $1.5 Million from Branch Manager Who Defected to Merrill Lynch

October 28, 2008 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

by Brian Smeenk

On October 9, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in RBC Dominion Securities v. Merrill Lynch Canada. The court restored an award of approximately $1.5 million in damages against a branch manager who had coordinated the defection of almost all his branch’s sales group from RBC to Merrill Lynch.

In November 2000, the branch manager at RBC’s Cranbrook, British Columbia, office coordinated the defection of virtually all of the branch investment advisers and administrative staff. The branch manager, eight of 10 investment advisers, and five of seven administrative assistants all resigned without giving notice to RBC and joined Merrill Lynch. Only two very junior investment advisers, an office administrator, and a receptionist were left at RBC.

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Despite Election, Global Financial Crisis, Everything Stable for Employers in Canada

October 21, 2008 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

by Brian Smeenk

Employers with operations in Canada may well ask: “What’s going on up there? What will Canada’s federal election mean for business? How is the world financial crisis playing out there?”

It would appear that the most accurate answer to these questions, at this time at least, would be a typically understated Canadian one: “Everything is stable.”

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Ontario Court Allows Salespersons to Ignore Noncompetes

October 14, 2008 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

by Brian Smeenk

In an important recent decision, Ontario’s Court of Appeal has reconfirmed that noncompetition clauses will be enforced against departing employees only in exceptional circumstances. It allowed two insurance salespersons to take many of their clients to a competing insurance broker despite their contractual agreement to the contrary.

What happened?
Tim Allan and Jeff Kienapple worked for H.L. Staebler Company Limited. They sold commercial insurance (property, casualty, and automobile) to businesses. Because they were unhappy with new management, they resigned and immediately began working in a similar capacity for Stevenson & Hunt Insurance Brokers.

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Categories: Employment Contracts

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