Human rights damages awarded by Ontario court

January 19, 2014 - by: Eowynne Noble 0 COMMENTS

By Eowynne Noble

In 2008, Ontario’s Human Rights Code was revised to specifically permit Ontario courts to award damages for breaches of the Code. Before this, it was only the Human Rights Tribunal that had jurisdiction to award damages for human rights violations in Ontario.

Since then, Ontario plaintiffs have made many attempts to obtain human rights damages in wrongful dismissal and other employment-related lawsuits, but none have succeeded until now. For the first time, the Ontario Superior Court has awarded damages for a breach of the Code in Wilson v. Solis Mexican Foods, 2013 ONSC 5799. read more…

Access to information in labor relations: jurisdiction of arbitrators

January 12, 2014 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Édith Charbonneau and Antoine Aylwin

One of your unionized employees files a complaint for psychological harassment and requests to access your investigation report several years later. When you refuse, the employee turns to the Quebec information and privacy board to get that access. But does the information and privacy board have jurisdiction, or could a grievance arbitrator have jurisdiction over such access issues? read more…

Terminating employees for cause: lessons from the Canadian healthcare sector

January 05, 2014 - by: Ian Campbell 0 COMMENTS

By Ian Campbell

It seems to be increasingly difficult to justify terminations for cause—even when an employee is found to have engaged in serious misconduct. read more…

When is a truck just a truck: the evolving definition of workplace

December 29, 2013 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

By Rosalind H. Cooper

As we reported earlier this year, Canadian courts are being asked with increasing frequency to expand the definition of “workplace” under occupational health and safety legislation. read more…

New occupational health and safety awareness training to be required in Ontario

December 22, 2013 - by: Patrick Gannon 0 COMMENTS

By Patrick Gannon

Occupational health and safety legislation in all provinces across Canada places the ultimate responsibility for occupational health and safety on employers. Among other things, Canadian employers have to provide certain information, instruction, and training to workers.

Last month, Ontario took occupational health and safety training to a new level, announcing that Ontario employers will have to ensure that all workers and supervisors have completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation will take effect on July 1, 2014. It is the first regulation of its kind in North America. read more…

B.C. court decision offers lessons to employers about employment contracts

December 15, 2013 - by: Kevin O'Neill 0 COMMENTS

By Kevin O’Neill

In a recent British Columbia Supreme Court decision, Gerry Miller v. Convergys CMG Canada Limited Partnership, the court confirms a number of useful principles for employers who use an employment agreement containing minimum severance provisions. read more…

Mandatory flu vaccination/masking policy upheld

December 08, 2013 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Charles G. Harrison

A recent labor arbitration in British Columbia upheld the employers’ policy requiring annual flu vaccinations or masking for their healthcare staff. Coming as it does during flu season, this is a timely decision. read more…

Bullying and harassment in the workplace: lessons from the Miami Dolphins

December 01, 2013 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

The professional sports world has been buzzing with the sudden departure of offensive tackle Jonathan Martin from the Miami Dolphins. His midseason exit from the team comes amid allegations that he was the victim of harassment and bullying.

The scandal has given the public a glimpse behind closed locker-room doors, into the testosterone-fueled “workplace culture” of professional football—a culture rife with hazing, teasing, and, in this particular instance, aggressive and targeted harassment of a young player. While Martin’s alleged harassment will be dealt with under U.S. laws, his situation draws attention to issues faced by Canadian employers. read more…

Individual privacy rights trumped by union’s freedom of expression

November 24, 2013 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Lorene Novakowski and Brandon Wiebe

On November 15, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a union’s right to collect, use, and disclose personal information for legitimate labor relations purposes outweighs an individual’s right to privacy. In so doing, it declared Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) unconstitutional but suspended the declaration for one year to allow the Alberta legislature time to cure the statute. read more…

Objective medical proof not necessary for accommodation duties to arise

November 10, 2013 - by: Marc Rodrigue 1 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

Under human rights legislation across the country, Canadian employers have a general duty to accommodate employees who are unable to perform their work for a period of time because of illness or disability to the point of undue hardship.

This may require an employer to grant an employee a leave of absence from the workplace. But what if the employee doesn’t provide medical documentation to justify such an absence; surely you could deny the leave? Not necessarily, according to an Ontario arbitrator in TRW Canada Ltd. and TPEA (Lockhart). read more…

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