Employers’ collection of GPS data found to not breach privacy rights

October 20, 2013 - by: Lorene Novakowski 0 COMMENTS

By Lorene Novakowski

In two recent cases out of British Columbia, employers were found to be entitled to collect GPS information from service vehicles and from mobile phones issued to employees. Employees had complained that the collection of the GPS information was contrary to the BC Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). The complaints were considered by BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC).

ThyssenKrupp Elevator (Canada) Limited

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Phoning it in: Termination appropriate for employee who called in ‘sick’

October 13, 2013 - by: Hannah Roskey 0 COMMENTS

By Hannah Roskey

Determining the legitimacy of an employee’s illness is a tricky situation for employers across Canada. The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently took a firm stance on the abuse of sick leave and found in favor of the employer in Telus Communications Inc. v. Telecommunications Workers’ Union. Telus was correct in firing an employee who said he was too sick to go to work but well enough to play in a softball tournament. The court even declined to take the usual step of sending the matter back for a new arbitration hearing. read more…

Canadian employers hit with record-setting occupational health and safety fines

October 06, 2013 - by: Norm Keith 0 COMMENTS

By Norm Keith

With the introduction of the Bill C-45 amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, occupational health and safety regulation, prosecution and conviction have been on the rise across the country. Recently, Vale Canada Limited and Metron Construction were given record fines in occupational health and safety and criminal negligence convictions, respectively. read more…

Allergies in the workplace can’t be ignored

September 29, 2013 - by: Eowynne Noble 1 COMMENTS

By Eowynne Noble

Peanuts, gluten, perfumes, smoke, and latex—we all know allergies to these and other substances are on the rise. And workplaces aren’t immune to the problem. More and more employees are suffering from allergies and sensitivities than ever before.

To put it in perspective, Health Canada recently reported that up to four percent of Canadians have a physician-diagnosed food allergy. We understand that schools accommodate these types of allergies, but surely employers don’t have to. Not true, as was made clear in a recent Ontario arbitration decision, London Health Sciences Centre v. Ontario Nurses’ Association (LHSC v. ONA). read more…

Self-employed worker or salaried employee? Getting it wrong can be costly

September 22, 2013 - by: Myriam Robichaud 0 COMMENTS

By Myriam Robichaud

You’re about to hire an employee. But he has his own business and wants to be an independent contractor. That way, he’ll pay less tax. And it’s easy for you too — you will just have to pay his invoices and won’t have to include him in your employee headcount.

But wait. There can be significant consequences from incorrectly characterizing an employee as an independent contractor. Not only can the individual, at the end of the relationship, claim he was really an employee and entitled to significant severance benefits, the tax authorities can also come knocking, as was the case recently in Quebec. read more…

Contracting out union work – comparing cases

September 15, 2013 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

By Brian P. Smeenk

An interesting series of recent labor tribunal decisions provides lessons about the application of contracting out clauses in union agreements. These cases demonstrate how virtually the same collective agreement requirements can be handled quite differently, with dramatically different outcomes. They also demonstrate that contracting out bargaining unit work in the face of collective agreement restrictions needs to be done in a carefully considered and planned manner. read more…

Employee convicted of criminal negligence

September 08, 2013 - by: Antonio Di Domenico 0 COMMENTS

By Antonio Di Domenico

On March 22, 2006, B.C. Ferries’ vessel the Queen of the North missed a scheduled turn causing it to run aground and sink off the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Fifty-seven passengers and 42 crew members abandoned ship before it sank. Two passengers were never found and were declared dead.

On May 13, 2013, seven years later, Karl Lilgert, the Queen of the North’s navigation officer, was convicted of two counts of criminal negligence following a four-month jury trial. read more…

Until death do us part: Attempts to reduce retiree benefits fail—for now

September 01, 2013 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Ralph Nero, Ross Gascho, and Keri Bennett

As in the United States, some Canadian employers have attempted to eliminate or reduce post-retirement benefits in order to address escalating costs. In two recent cases, Canadian employers were found to be not entitled to reduce post-retirement health and life insurance benefits. Courts in both Ontario and British Columbia have recently ruled that, under the respective plans before them, the employer’s “reservation of rights” (ROR) to make such changes was not sufficiently clear and unambiguous. read more…

No more human rights forum shopping?

August 25, 2013 - by: Lindsey Taylor 0 COMMENTS

By Lindsey Taylor

A few weeks ago, we reported on the recent decision in Baker v. Navistar Canada Inc., which confirmed that unionized employees aren’t able to bring employment claims to court. Rather, these claims must be brought within the framework of the special legal relationship between the union and the employer, either by way of a grievance or a complaint to the respective Labour Relations Board if there are grounds to do so.

But what about human rights issues – where should a unionized employee address those? And can a unionized employee pursue claims in both arbitration and human rights forums? A recent case from the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, Mahdi v. Hertz Canada, says “no.” read more…

Employees required to prove what they didn’t steal

August 18, 2013 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

A recent Alberta Court of Appeal case, 581257 Alberta Ltd. v. Aujla, is good news for employers. The court reversed the normal onus of proof, requiring the employees to prove that certain monies they deposited into their bank account were not stolen from their employer. read more…

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