Monitoring Employees’ E-messages — Impact of Recent U.S. Ruling for Canada

July 11, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Derek Knoechel and Lorene Novakowski

On June 17, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in City of Ontario v. Quon. This was its first decision regarding the monitoring of electronic communications in the workplace by employers.

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Managing LTD Claims: Less Pain, More Gain

July 05, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Suzanne Porteous and Wendy Wang

The bad news is that one of your employees has just commenced a long-term disability (LTD) leave. You may well have concerns like: (1) Will the employee ever return to work? (2) If so, when? (3) What accommodations would be needed to allow a return to work? (4) What will it all cost?

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Canadian Court Not Prepared to Act as Workplace Referee

June 28, 2010 - by: Sara Parchello 1 COMMENTS

By Sara Parchello

Does an employer have a broad obligation to protect employees from mental distress that may be caused in the workplace? Ontario’s Court of Appeal recently answered this question in Piresferreira v. Ayotte and Bell Mobility Inc. with a resounding “no.” The decision reverses, in part, an award made back in 2008 – where an employee was awarded over half a million dollars in damages after her boss pushed her on the shoulder and verbally abused her during a workplace dispute.

Background
Piresferreira was a 60-something account manager who had worked with Bell Mobility for about 10 years. She reported to Richard Ayotte, a person known to be a “critical, demanding, loud and aggressive manager.” He was known to pound his fists on the desk, yell, and swear at his employees, and act in other intimidating ways toward employees. Piresferreira, on the other hand, was known to be a sensitive employee who didn’t take well to criticism.

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Beware the Perils of Firing Employee-Shareholders

June 21, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Stephen Acker and Julia Kennedy

As we have repeatedly reported, courts are finding new ways to put money in former employees’ pockets in Canada. Another example is the Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Link v. Venture Steel Inc. and Ruben Rivas, where it agreed with the trial judge’s decision awarding a former employee more than $4 million in damages. Only $550,000 of the damages was pay in lieu of notice. The bulk of the damages related to shares that had been improperly purchased by the employer at the time it terminated the employee’s employment for cause.

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Don’t Get Tangled Up in Duct Tape: Lessons for Employers

June 14, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 1 COMMENTS

By Ida Martin and Brian Smeenk

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.

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Toronto’s G20 Summit — Lessons for Employers about High-Security

June 14, 2010 - by: Patrick Gannon 0 COMMENTS

By Patrick Gannon

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…

Court of Appeal Agrees with $25,000 Award for Loss of Apprenticeship

June 07, 2010 - by: Derek Knoechel 0 COMMENTS

By Derek Knoechel

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 – 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.

Apprentice agreement
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.

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Advertising Requirements Before Hiring Foreign Worker

May 31, 2010 - by: Gilda Villaran 0 COMMENTS

By Gilda Villaran

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 Québec. If you are hiring an employee who will work in Québec, make sure you follow the Québec rules.

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Categories: Employment Law / Immigration

Employee Awarded $500,000 for Bad Faith Termination

May 24, 2010 - by: Donna Gallant 0 COMMENTS

By Donna Gallant

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.

What happened?
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.

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Ensuring the Ongoing Strength of Canada’s Retirement Income System

May 17, 2010 - by: Lyne Duhaime 0 COMMENTS

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.

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