A face for radio? Employment law lessons from the Jian Ghomeshi scandal

December 07, 2014 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

Over the last month, the Canadian news media has devoted significant time to covering the Jian Ghomeshi scandal. Aside from the celebrity gossip factor, the story has had such staying power because it touches on so many controversial issues—BDSM (Bondage & Discipline / Domination & Submission / Sadism & Masochism), sexual consent, victim credibility, privacy concerns, power politics, criminal charges—the list is long. In addition (and more importantly for employers) the Ghomeshi story began as a story about the end of an employee’s employment. read more…

Retaliation against unreasonable discrimination complaint can cost you

November 23, 2014 0 COMMENTS

By Kevin O’Neill, Q.C.

How the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal recently handled a retaliation complaint—where the employee was found to be not credible and unreasonable—should give employers pause. read more…

Will the abolishment of mandatory retirement result in longer notice periods?

May 11, 2014 3 COMMENTS

By Ralph N. Nero and Nicole R. Singh

You’re about to terminate an employee’s employment without cause. He’s been with you for 30 years, earns $100,000, has a middle management position, and is 69 years old. He could retire with a full pension. Surely you don’t have to provide him with a severance package? Absolutely, say Canadian courts. read more…

Objective medical proof not necessary for accommodation duties to arise

November 10, 2013 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…

Mood problem or mental disorder? When can employers discipline?

May 12, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

Employers in Canada can’t discriminate against employees based on mental disabilities. But the broad interpretation that courts and arbitration boards frequently apply to human rights laws often makes it difficult to know where the boundaries of “mental disability” lie.

In a recent arbitration decision in Ontario, Windsor (City) and WPFFA (Elliot), the arbitrator found that an employee’s mood problems and stress issues weren’t classifiable as mental disorders. He didn’t qualify as having a mental health disability requiring accommodation. read more…

Punitive damages awards increasing in Canadian employment cases

March 31, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By David McDonald

In wrongful dismissal cases in Canada, punitive damages awards are available only in exceptional situations. That’s what the Supreme Court of Canada said in 2008 in Honda Canada v. Keays. The employer’s conduct in the course of termination must be proven to be harsh, vindictive, reprehensible, and malicious. Despite this high threshold, a number of recent trial decisions show how Canadian courts are becoming more open to providing employees with punitive damages awards. read more…

Post-Termination Disability Benefits Reduce Severance Pay

October 26, 2011 1 COMMENTS

By Hadiya Roderique

Severance obligations can be costly for Canadian employers since most employees are entitled to notice of termination or substantial pay in lieu of notice. A tricky issue is the impact of post-termination income on the obligations of the terminating employer.

Canadian employees are often under the mistaken impression that they have an unconditional entitlement to a large lump-sum severance payment even if they were to quickly start a new job and even if they receive other income during the notice period.

read more…

Ex-Employee to Pay Employer

October 25, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Lyne Duhaime
When an employee in Canada fails to fulfill his functions as expected, the ultimate consequence is a termination of employment “for cause,” which implies that no notice or other severance is paid to him by the employer. The Superior Court of Quebec recently went further.

In Valeurs mobilières Desjardins inc. v. Beaulne, an investment advisor was also ordered to pay his former employer, Valeurs mobilières Desjardins inc. (VMD), $141,233.96 with costs. Why? To compensate VMD for amounts it had to pay a client who suffered damages because of the advisor’s failure to follow the client’s instructions.

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Notice of Termination: Must Be Clear, No Distinction for Unskilled Workers

October 16, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Ralph Nero and Keri Bennett

Historically, the character of employment or level of position has been an important factor in determining appropriate severance payments in Canada. Unskilled or lower-level employees have typically been entitled to less severance than more highly skilled and higher-level employees.

read more…

Canadian Courts Split on Post-Employment Restrictions

October 09, 2011 0 COMMENTS

by Thora A.Sigurdson

Canadian courts continue to struggle with clauses in employment contracts that contain post-employment noncompetition and nonsolicitation clauses, known as “restrictive covenants.” This is an important issue in Canada, where there is no concept of “at will” employment, and all employees are deemed to have some form of employment contact. But not all terms are equally enforceable.

The recent split decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Globex Foreign Exchange Corporation v. Kelcher, 2011 ABCA 240, provides an interesting reminder of the uncertainty in the law in this area. It also provides good lessons to those who want employees to agree to such restrictions.

read more…

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