Terminating for cause? How to limit your liability in Canada

January 15, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Karen Sargeant and Brian P. Smeenk

You’ve likely been in this situation before: One of your employees has engaged in questionable conduct. You’re in the process of investigating and are considering whether you should terminate the employee for cause. How do you go about it under Canadian employment laws?

Be careful

Terminating an employee’s employment for cause can be difficult and stressful for all concerned. It also can lead to increased damages and costs if you don’t do it right. That’s because Canadian courts will not award damages in lieu of notice of termination or severance pay when you have just cause for termination, but courts will often award increased damages when you make an allegation of misconduct that you can’t ultimately prove in court.

Here are some tips to help limit your company’s liability, while also reducing your stress: read more…

Categories: Termination

Class-Action Lawsuits Filed Against KMPG, CIBC, Scotiabank

January 08, 2008 - by: Northern Exposure 2 COMMENTS

By Trevor Lawson and Donovan Plomp
McCarthy Tetrault

Although large employment-related class-action lawsuits have become commonplace in the United States, until recently they were virtually unknown in Canada.

The relative peace enjoyed by Canadian employers on this front was shattered with a $651 million class-action lawsuit filed in June 2007 against the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), followed quickly by a $20 million class-action against international finance and accounting giant KPMG LLP. And in early December, a $350 million-dollar suit was filed against a second major Canadian bank, Scotiabank.

These lawsuits seek damages for unpaid overtime in relation to thousands of current and former employees. If successful, they‘re expected to serve as a springboard for similar class-action lawsuits targeting large employers in Canada. read more…

Categories: Class Actions

Biometric Hand Scanners vs. Religious Beliefs: What Does the Law Say?

December 04, 2007 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Daniel Pugen
McCarthy Tetrault

Biometric hand scanners vs. religious beliefs: What does the law say?

read more…

Categories: Human Rights

Ontario Adds Holiday to Celebrate Families; Other Provinces May Follow

December 04, 2007 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Daniel Pugen
McCarthy Tetrault

Following its recent re-election in October, the Ontario provincial government led by Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty established a new public holiday called “Family Day.” The holiday falls on the third Monday in February each year. Ontario joins the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan in creating a public holiday in February.

Ontario now has nine public holidays: read more…

Categories: Employment Standards

Managing Absences Related to Injury and Illness

December 04, 2007 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Daniel Pugen
McCarthy Tetrault

An increasingly difficult task for HR professionals is managing absences related to injury and illness. How far can you go to make an employee prove he or she is legitimately ill or legitimately able to return to work without restriction? The following are some tips to help your Canadian business manage an employee’s absence from work as well as his or her return to work.

Employee’s absence from work read more…

Must-Know Facts about Employment Contracts in Canada

December 04, 2007 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

McCarthy Tetrault

Q. When does an employer have an employment contract with its employees?

A. Every employer in Canada has an employment contract, whether written or unwritten, with each of its nonunion employees. Sometimes, only some of the terms are in writing. When necessary, courts will imply reasonable terms in the absence of any express agreement on the issue. read more…

Categories: Employment Contracts / Q&A

Don’t Let ‘Enhanced’ Severance Be a Surprise During Terminations

November 08, 2007 - by: Northern Exposure 2 COMMENTS

McCarthy Tetrault

Since the concept of at-will employment isn’t recognized in Canada, U.S. employers need to understand how terminations are handled in their operations north of the border. Are you confident that your termination decisions are in line with Canadian law? And what about the “enhanced” severance known as “Wallace damages”? Are you clear on that concept?

Here’s a key difference between United States and Canadian employment laws: In Canada, unless termination is for just cause, employees are entitled to notice or payment in lieu of that notice. Also, unless an employment agreement expressly provides otherwise, the courts may allow a terminated employee notice or payment of an amount that the court considers reasonable.

This “reasonable” notice or pay is based on the employee’s age, position, length of service, and the availability of alternative employment. Such notice is usually more than the statutory minimum. Plus, the courts can award extra notice or pay if the employee has been treated unfairly during termination. So it’s important that you understand what you’re up against when letting employees go. read more…

Six Essential Tips for Running Background Checks in Canada

November 08, 2007 - by: Karen Sargeant 0 COMMENTS

by Karen Sargeant
former of McCarthy Tetrault

You have found the perfect employee. Your intuition tells you the candidate is exactly what you’ve been looking for. But will she really be the perfect employee? Reference and background checks are a good way to ensure that you have the right person for the job, but they’re not always straightforward.

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you decide to do a reference or background check in Canada:

1. Ensure that you are not violating human rights legislation. When conducting background checks for education, previous employment, and criminal records, you must comply with the human rights legislation in the applicable province, territory, or federal jurisdiction. read more…

Categories: Employer's Tip

When Can You Terminate a Disabled Unionized Employee in Canada?

November 07, 2007 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

McCarthy Tetrault

Canadian discrimination laws, like those in the United States, generally require employers to make accommodations for employees with disabilities. By law, employers must accommodate to the point of “undue hardship,” but undue hardship is difficult to define and is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

What happens when employee rights come up against your rights as an employer under a union agreement to terminate an absent employee after a specified period? Just how far must you go in accommodating an employee who is considered totally disabled and unable to work for the foreseeable future? read more…

Blogs and Why You Should Care

November 07, 2007 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

McCarthy Tetrault

A “blog,” short for web log, is akin to an online diary or an electronic discussion board that often includes a mix of commentary and opinions from visitors to the website. More and more employers are dealing with employees who may be blogging about their work. Here are some questions you should consider.

Q. Why should I care about blogs?
A. The number of blogs is rapidly increasing. In its April 2007 “State of the Blogosphere” report, Technorati stated that at least 120,000 new blogs are created worldwide each day. And many employers are finding themselves the subject of blogs. read more…

Categories: Q&A

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