New Defense Against Overtime Class Actions Confirmed

May 13, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Donovan Plomp
McCarthy Tetrault

The British Columbia Court of Appeal just issued an important decision about an employee’s right to make a statute-based overtime claim in a civil action. The decision, Macaraeg v. E Care Contact Centers Ltd., should make BC employers very happy. And it may provide a new defense to overtime pay class actions in other Canadian jurisdictions as well.

Avoiding a dangerous trap
The BC Employment Standards Act applies to most employees in British Columbia with some limited exceptions. It requires employers to pay overtime pay to employees if they are required or “directly or indirectly” allowed to work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week.

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Be Prepared If an Inspector Knocks at Your Door

May 06, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 1 COMMENTS

by Daniel Pugen of McCarthy Tetrault
and Karen Sargeant formerly with McCarthy Tetrault

In most Canadian provinces, occupational health and safety legislation provides for government inspections.

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New Top 10 Rules for Video Surveillance in Canada

April 29, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Barbara A.  McIsaac and Rachel Ravary
McCarthy Tetrault

By now, we all know that video surveillance of employees is a touchy subject and should be used only as a last resort. But when you’ve examined all of the alternatives and have come to the conclusion that no other solution will do, we can at least give you some guidance on how to do it right.

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Categories: Employment Law / Privacy

Avoiding Hiring Pitfalls in Canada

April 22, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Kate McNeill
McCarthy Tetrault

We all know that once you hire an employee, you have certain legal obligations to that employee. But what about before you even hire someone?

In Canada, job applicants are entitled to certain human rights and common law protections that employers must be aware of in their hiring practices. In this Q&A, we provide answers to some of the more commonly asked questions about hiring practices in the Canadian marketplace.

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Response to last week’s article

April 21, 2008 - by: Brian Smeenk 1 COMMENTS

by Brian Smeenk
Editor – Northern Exposure

Like the hockey gag line about going to a fight only to have a hockey game break out, last week Northern Exposure was the site of shock and awe, and a good legal debate broke out.

There was a lot of interest in our post last week about a discrimination case against McDonalds by a British Columbia employee who wasn’t able to wash her hands frequently. We were surprised by all the attention it got. Some people might think employment law is dull, but sometimes it can really touch a nerve with people. It certainly inspired a heated debate online.

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Categories: Commentary

McDonald’s Fails to Accommodate Employee Unable to Wash Hands

April 15, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 58 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…

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?

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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.

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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.

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