McDonald’s Fails to Accommodate Employee Unable to Wash Hands

April 15, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 59 COMMENTS

by Daniel Pugen and Earl G. Phillips
McCarthy Tetrault

In Canada, human rights legislation provides that employers have a duty to accommodate disabled workers unless such accommodation would cause “undue hardship” on the employer.

A recent case involving McDonald’s Restaurants before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal illustrates the high standard of accommodation expected of employers. It also shows the kinds of proactive measures employers may have to take before accommodation is considered “undue hardship.”

In the case, the tribunal found that McDonald’s improperly terminated the employment of a long-time employee. McDonald’s didn’t do enough to accommodate the employee who developed a skin condition that prevented her from working and meeting the restaurant’s hand-washing policy. read more…

The Basics of Canadian Employment Contracts

April 08, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Rachel Ravary of McCarthy Tetrault
and Brian P. Smeenk, formerly with McCarthy Tetrault

So you’ve hired a new employee. Should you put it in writing? If so, what should it look like? What do you include? What is better left out? If you decide against an employment contract, what will the terms and conditions of employment be?

read more…

Where Will Disputes about Your International Employment Contracts Be Resolved?

April 01, 2008 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

This question can be a vexing one. Will disputes be resolved in the employee’s country of origin? In the country in which the employee is now working? In the country in which your head office is located? In the country in which the employment contract was executed? All of the above? And how will you know?

You could be forgiven for being confused about this. The courts have been, too. What’s more, the answer that Canadian courts give will not necessarily be the same as the answer of a U.S. or foreign court. Here I can at least provide a brief outline of how a Canadian court should look at this issue.

read more…

Categories: Employment Contracts

Appealing Employment Tribunal Decisions May Be Easier

March 25, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

McCarthy Tetrault

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada may make it easier for employees and employers to appeal decisions of administrative agencies to the courts.

In Canada, and from an HR perspective, such agencies include labor boards, labor arbitrators, human rights tribunals, pay equity tribunals, and employment standards adjudicators.

read more…

What Company Should Employ Your Expats in Canada?

March 18, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Rachel Ravary of McCarthy Tetrault
and Brian P. Smeenk, formerly with McCarthy Tetrault

When you send an employee to work in Canada, what company should be named as the employer? Your U.S. company? A Canadian subsidiary or affiliate? Perhaps your parent company?

read more…

Categories: Employment Law / Immigration

Getting a Dismissed Employee’s Last Meeting Right

March 11, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Donovan Plomp of McCarthy Tetrault
and Karen Sargeant, formerly with McCarthy Tetrault

Spring will soon be upon us, and with it may come the urge to do some “spring cleaning” in the home and the workplace. This might mean ending an employment relationship that isn’t working out.

read more…

Health and Safety Legislative and Regulatory Responses

March 04, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 1 COMMENTS

by Daniel Pugen
McCarthy Tetrault

Workplace violence has become a hot topic among labor, employment, and health and safety regulators in Canada. Of course, workplace violence is hardly a new phenomenon. Certain workers like police officers have an inherent risk of workplace violence. Also, put enough people in an enclosed area under stressful conditions (i.e., the typical office scenario) and some form of conflict is bound to result.

Whether it’s actual physical aggression or other forms of workplace violence like threats or harassment, some research suggests that such conduct is on the rise.

read more…

What to Do When U.S. National Security, Canadian Employment Laws Clash

February 26, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Rachel Ravary
McCarthy Tetrault

No one can deny that security concerns have taken on monumental proportions in the post-9/11 era. Buzzwords like national security, homeland security, border security, supply chain security, perimeter security, and security threats have become part of our daily vocabulary. National security is also high on the list of priorities of our respective lawmakers.

In the past several years, the U.S. State Department has become increasingly strict in its enforcement of export and transportation controls, most importantly the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

read more…

Categories: Human Rights / Privacy / Q&A

Releases You Can Rely On

February 19, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Donovan Plomp
McCarthy Tetrault

Does your Canadian business ask employees to sign releases in exchange for their severance packages? Imagine if an employee took the severance package, signed the release, then sued your company anyway.

That’s exactly what Douglas L. Titus did to his former employer — and he won at the trial level. Thankfully for employers, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned this decision.

read more…

Categories: Termination

Effective and Streamlined Bargaining Preparation

February 12, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Daniel Pugen
McCarthy Tetrault

It’s been a cold, wintry start to 2008 (at least in Canada). The cobwebs from New Year’s Eve have passed and New Years’ resolutions already have been broken. As February began, the groundhog indicated six more weeks of winter and Ontario employees were counting down the days until Family Day (February 18, 2008), Ontario’s new statutory holiday.

People are back from vacation and work is in full swing. Phones are ringing, faxes are churning, e-mails are popping up on computer screens. In the midst of the hum of the office as you think of the priorities for the year ahead, it occurs to you that your current collective agreement is set to expire in 2008.

read more…

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