Canadian government enhances maternity leave benefits, proposes to strengthen harassment and violence prevention

November 26, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Clayton Jones

On November 9, the federal government announced that changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program relating to parental, maternity, and caregiving benefits will come into effect on December 3. The EI program provides temporary income support to partially replace lost employment income to individuals who are off work for various reasons.

On November 7, the federal government announced legislation to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017. Bill C-65 would strengthen existing laws on the prevention of harassment and violence in federally regulated workplaces.

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Broader workplace harassment claims: Is Canada becoming more litigious?

June 18, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Shane Todd

Can a Canadian employee sue an employer for harassment that is not related to a discrimination claim? The answer used to be “no.” But that’s changing.

In most jurisdictions across Canada, an employee could sue or file a human rights application for harassment related to unlawful discrimination. An employee could file a complaint with the appropriate government agency about workplace harassment that violates health and safety or harassment laws. An employee could even sue for constructive dismissal based on harassing conduct. But, until recently, an employee could not usually sue an employer for harassment that was unrelated to some other legal right or protection.

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Union blog’s sexist comments about manager constitutionally protected, not discriminatory, says court

September 25, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Nicole Singh

Canadian tribunals have consistently ruled that communications by employees on social media can be viewed as an extension of the workplace. Improper communication on such platforms can therefore be considered a form of workplace discrimination under Canadian human rights laws. Discipline or termination can sometimes be appropriate.

However, in the decision Taylor-Baptiste v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, a union official’s sexist and offensive blog posts about his manager were found to not constitute discrimination under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. Instead, the comments in the blog posts were protected by his constitutional free speech and associational rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Toronto employer liable because of inadequate investigation of human rights complaint

June 22, 2014 0 COMMENTS

By Alix Herber

Inadequate investigation of employees’ discrimination complaints can expose employers to human rights damages. This is so even when employers do most things right. read more…

Human rights complaint can hurt your reputation AND your bottom line

March 23, 2014 0 COMMENTS

By David G. Wong

Until recently, the damages awarded by Canadian human rights tribunals, courts, and arbitrators across the country for human rights violations were relatively modest. In the past few years, we have seen those awards increase, although not to an outrageous level. But that might all be changing, as two recent decisions out of Western Canada—one out of British Columbia and the other out of Alberta—suggest. read more…

Workers’ comp for injuries from systemic workplace harassment

February 23, 2014 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

A recent Alberta court decision indicates that health problems arising from systemic harassment in the workplace can be covered by workers’ compensation (WCB) insurance. This decision may have ramifications across Canada. read more…

Expansion of workplace harassment and violence reprisal complaints?

June 02, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By Rosalind H. Cooper

Most occupational health and safety statutes across Canada contain provisions that prohibit employer reprisals for workplace health and safety matters. While the outcome of complaints made by workers regarding employer reprisals is always fact specific, employers had been taking comfort from several recent decisions.

Those decisions suggested that complaints regarding employer reprisals in relation to allegations of workplace harassment couldn’t be sustained under health and safety legislation. However, a recent decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board in Ashworth v. Boston Pizza, where an employee was terminated after her manager allegedly confronted her in an angry manner, has changed this view. read more…

Adding Insult to Injury: Canada’s ‘Vexatious’ Harassment Laws

September 11, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Julia Kennedy and Sean McGurran

Bullying isn’t just a problem on the playground anymore. Eventually the bullies grow up and get jobs. Now Canadian employers are seeing more laws dealing with harassment in the workplace.

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Workplace Harassment: Preventive Measures May Limit Liability

December 13, 2010 1 COMMENTS

By Dominique Launay

No doubt, workplace harassment remains a hot topic in Canada. Another Canadian province, Manitoba, has recently announced that it will join Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and the federal sector in requiring employers to provide protection from workplace harassment.

Quebec employers have been required to deal with protections from psychological harassment since 2004. Their experience has helped determine when behavior crosses the line from a work conflict to harassment. A recent Quebec case, Gougeon v. Cheminées Sécurité International ltée, illustrates this fine line and demonstrates the importance of preventive measures and a prompt response to a complaint.

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Don’t Get Tangled Up in Duct Tape: Lessons for Employers

June 14, 2010 1 COMMENTS

By Ida Martin and Brian Smeenk

The City of Mississauga was recently embarrassed by a video of two of its employees duct-taped together. They were squirming around on a table, taped by their hands, torsos, and feet. This was apparently a routine employee hazing. It was leaked to the media by an employee who had had enough. The case provides a good lesson in how employers should not handle such situations.

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