In a new decision in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed that non union, non management, employees of federal undertakings may under the complaint process under the Canada Labour Code be reinstated.
Jian Ghomeshi is just one example of an employee who regrets taking action against his employer.
A recent case in BC involved a project manager who was terminated without just cause. He sued his employer wanting more severance pay
Pushor Mitchell is pleased to present “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: 5 Employment Law Lessons from 2014”, the final installment in our fall employment law series, Navigating the Seas of Change. Employment law is constantly evolving. To help navigate this changing environment, Pushor Mitchell is pleased to host a “year in review” to […]
Program name change from Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) to Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”); Caps on percentages of foreign workers starting at 30% and reducing to 10% in 2016; Prohibition of TFW in low wage and skill groups in areas in certain sectors (food services, accommodation and retail trade) where there is high unemployment (6% […]
On February 17th, last year I wrote about a case (Johnstone v. Canada (A.G.)) in which a mother was awarded substantial damages because her employer did not accommodate her requests for flexible hours she said she required to care for her children. My article can be found at: www.pushormitchell.com/law-library/article/new-developments-employee-leave-family-obligations
In a recent case involving Blackberry and one of its executive employees a court made a declaration that a relatively long notice period by an employee (six months) is valid and enforceable. Most often employment agreements only require notice periods in the range of two weeks to a month. In the case the employee had, in an employment contract, agreed to provide six months’ notice of his resignation.
A landlord's reaction to a default under a commercial lease is usually determinative as to its ability to collect arrears and to recover future rent under the lease. This first installment of this five-part series will set out some of the important questions that landlords will be asked in assessing an appropriate course of action. The questions are as follows: 1. What is the default alleged? 2. Is there a written lease? 3. Have you [...]
The internet is a valuable tool in most workplaces. It is a vast, quick and free source of information. While the information gleaned from a search is likely not to yield a definitive answer, it almost always provides a direction to the answer.
At this time there are no municipal bylaws or workers’ compensation regulations preventing the use of electronic cigarettes in the workplace. Does this mean that employers need to allow their employees to use these devices?
Emotions can run high in any civil dispute. The parties in their anger will speak poorly of the other, they may treat each other with disdain or disrespect in the process. Feelings will inevitably be hurt and often psychological injury -- temporary or permanent - may result.
Employers encourage key employees, particularly sales employees, to use a wide variety of social media sites including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to connect with customers and prospective customers.Professional firms encourage their members to publish articles on blogs (and websites like this) to promote knowledge and skill to their customers and prospective customers. All is well until there is a break in the relationship.
With the decline in general economic activity and increasing competition from low wage countries, what can employers do to lower their labour costs?A human resources professional could help with issues concerning motivation and productivity. An engineer or technician could help with respect to technology and modernization of processes and procedures. This article will discuss the legal issues surrounding reduction of workforces [...]
One of the issues plaguing lawyers in giving advice to employees whose terms and conditions of employment have been altered is whether the employee should withdraw services and claim constructive dismissal or keep working while looking for new employment.
An employer tried to reduce its severance pay obligation by ceasing payments to a terminated employee when he found new employment. In the case (Allen v. Ainsworth in BC Supreme Court), the employer unilaterally gave working notice and removed the employee’s duties. In essence, the employee was being paid to stay away. When the employee found other employment during the notice period, the employer stopped paying his salary. The [...]
It is undeniable that employers must not discriminate against employees because of pregnancy parental leave. That being said, sometimes legitimate business reasons require an employer to reorganize their work force. In such circumstances, must an employer protect an employee who is pregnant or on parental leave when making decisions about how to downsize?According to a recent Canada Labour Arbitration decision, the answer is a resounding [...]
In a recent decision in the Ontario Court of Appeal (Royal Bank of Canada v. Samson Management), the Court upheld guarantee language that was clearly designed to take away common-law protection for guarantors. Under the common law, the guarantor might avoid his obligations where changes are made between the lender and borrower which affect the risk and exposure of the guarantor.
A recent case in the Federal Court of Canada has nudged the door open a little further to more liberal rights for workers needing work accommodations to care for family members.In the case a Border Services employee wanted to work a set shift that was complementary to her daycare arrangements. The employer did not offer such a shift. The employer argued that accommodating the employee would be a real hardship given that it services [...]
The legal profession uses all kinds of words and phrases that are quite mysterious to most people who have not been involved in the process. I will attempt to demystify some of these words and concepts:Legal action or proceeding:These are the words used to describe a dispute that is referred to the courts for resolution. Every action or proceeding is assigned a number when it is filed with a court. Once an action or proceeding is filed [...]
Australia’s Federal Court of Appeal has allowed a claim for injuries suffered by a female worker caused during what must have been adventurous sex while on a business trip. The woman met up with a friend and after dinner and drinks returned to her motel room (paid for by her employer) where one thing apparently […]
A recent case in Alberta (Globex- 2011) suggests that an employer who terminates an employee without just cause and without sufficient notice repudiates the contract of the employment and thus releases the employee from all obligations including any clause preventing the employee from competition and solicitation of the employer’s customers and employees.The case is controversial and must be read with some caution because:
In most cases employees are not overly concerned about the precise legal identity of their employer. It does become an important issue when the employment relationship breaks down and the employee is seeking a remedy.
The Supreme Court of Canada, in a just-released decision (R. v. Cole), has indicated that an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to personal information stored on employer's computer where personal use is permitted or reasonably expected.
The BC provincial government recently passed into law Bill 14 (the Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act, 2011), which amends the mental stress provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”) to address bullying and harassment in the workplace. As of July 1, 2012, an employee in British Columbia may have a worker’s compensation claim for a […]
I was alarmed to learn that WorksafeBC is of the view that that a homeowner who hires a person to do a project that will take more than 24 man (person) hours must register with the WCB and pay premiums with respect to the work. If the homeowner fails to do so he or she […]
Did you know that a FRE is restricted from terminating non-management employees having a year or more of service other than for cause or valid business reasons such as reduction of work?Under the Canada Labour Code an unjustly dismissed employee can file a complaint and can be awarded damages and/or reinstated if an employer terminates without just cause or economic reason.This right is not strong as that enjoyed by unionized employees but [...]
I am leaving my long-term employer to work for a competitor. I have not signed any agreements restricting my ability to compete. I have nothing to worry about right?Believe it or not, a departing employee may have obligations which arise outside of a written contract.Contractual provisions which restrict the ability of employees to compete with an employer are called non-competition and non-solicitation clauses.
Our Court of Appeal has in a recent decision involving a Sechelt bus driver caused me to rethink obligations on the giving and receiving of working notice of termination.In the case the employer and employee disagreed on the employee’s hours. In frustration the employer gave five weeks’ notice of termination. The employee had five years’ service and was entitled to more notice than that although it is unclear [...]
An all too typical typical Friday afternoon call to an employment (or tax) lawyer goes something like this: "Oh my God… I have just been reassessed for my independent contractors. I've been told I must pay the government the CPP and EI deductions I didn't make over the last three years.” To make matters worse, one of the contractors injured himself horribly in an accident and WCB says am not covered because I didn't [...]
This is one of the most frequent phrases heard by Employment lawyers. The phrase is uttered by employers who have terminated employees without cause have given only the notice (or pay) required under the Employment Standards Act (the “Act”). That should be the end of the matter. Right?Wrong. The notice provisions in the Act are the minimum standard. There are two very important other issues:
These are the words most dreaded by an employment lawyer. Quite frequently these calls come on a Friday afternoon moments before you are scheduled to meet friends for a cold one.Over the next few months I will attempt to debunk the myths of the “simple question” with common examples as follows:1. Joe has been away from work for six months on a medical leave - can I let him go?
Certainty – At the conclusion of employment (all employment concludes at some time) the precise consequences including severance pay is spelled out. There should be no need to involve lawyers in most cases.Protection – The contract will eliminate any doubt about what information is confidential and will be protected. The contract can also protect against unfair competition after conclusion of employment.Flexibility [...]
Our Supreme Court in a recent wrongful dismissal claim, Pritchard v. The Stuffed Animal House Ltd., determined that an employee suing for wrongful dismissal could recover for unused vacation days going back some 12 years. The court reasoned that the limitation period for the commencement of an action to collect vacation pay would not start to run until the termination of employment. This case has serious consequences for those employers who [...]
One of the most common questions faced by employment lawyers concerns how bad news about their employment status should be delivered to employees on leave. Leaves may occur for many reasons including maternity, illness, vacation, or leave of absence.This has been a controversial area but our Court of Appeal has provided a little guidance in a recent case - Lewis v. Terrace Tourism Society. Ms. Lewis was on maternity leave when her [...]
One of the most common questions faced by employment lawyers concerns how bad news about their employment status should be delivered to employees on leave. Leaves may occur for many reasons including maternity, illness, vacation, or leave of absence. This has been a controversial area but our Court of Appeal has provided a little guidance […]
The Ontario Court of Appeal in a 2010 decision (Piresferreira v. Ayotte) has purported to limit recovery by employees for damages caused by an employer for negligent and/or deliberate infliction of mental suffering. The Employee had at the trial level been awarded damages for future loss of income to the date of retirement since the court accepted that she was permanently scarred by the bullying conduct of her supervisor (which was condoned [...]
A British Columbia employer has recently been ordered to pay an employee $10,000 in damages for bad-faith [Beggs v. Westport foods Ltd.]. The employer, in a small community, was advised by the employee that her house had burned down and that she wasn't sure when she would be able to return to work.The employee then went about the onerous tasks of setting up a new household, dealing with insurers, and other such issues. Likely the [...]
The Ontario Court of Appeal has, at least for now, closed the door to damages for negligent infliction of mental distress by an employer to an employee. The case (Piresferreira v. Ayotte –  O.J. No. 2224) reduced an award at trial of close to $500,000 to just below $150,000.