Minding the Gap: Mental Health in The Workplace

Blog Post
September 8, 2014
Read Time: 6 minutes

The recent suicide of comedian Robin Williams has brought increased awareness to the fact that mental health issues can touch anyone at any phase of their life, sometimes with tragic consequences. His legacy is the opportunity to talk about the impact of mental health on a larger and more open stage. The focus of this post is on mental health in the workplace. Employment is one of the most significant determinants of mental health and wellbeing.

Top 10 Things to do if you are Terminated

Blog Post
July 31, 2014
Read Time: 4 minutes

Losing your job is stressful and daunting, whether you’re fired for cause or your employer simply had to make cuts for financial reasons. Many of us identify who we are with what we do, so a termination can feel like a huge blow to our sense of self-identity and self-worth. One of the first thoughts that will come to mind if you’re ever in this position is probably ‘What do I do now?’ This list serves as a guide through the ‘What now?’ question by outlining the top 10 things to do if you’re terminated.

Employee’s Duty to Act Reasonably to Mitigate Damages on Dismissal

Blog Post
July 15, 2014
Read Time: 5 minutes

Employees who have been dismissed from a job are required to make reasonable efforts to mitigate their damages – for example, by performing a job search, or in some circumstances by accepting a comparable job from their employer – but they are not required to take every possible step to find another job. Three recent decisions of the Court of Appeal of Québec outline the importance of taking a contextual approach in analyzing an employee’s duty to mitigate, especially in circumstances where mitigation efforts are unlikely to be successful.

Is a Partner an Employee?

Blog Post
May 29, 2014
Read Time: 3 minutes

The Supreme Court of Canada recently addressed the question of whether a partner can also be an employee of his or her firm. In doing so, the Court examined the individual’s dependency on the firm, and the extent of control that the firm exerted. The Supreme Court, in this case, decided that the partner was not also an employee for the purposes of human rights legislation. While membership in a partnership does not, itself, prevent an employment relationship, there needs to be a sufficient level of control over the individual by the firm before an employment relationship will exist.

Federal Court Broadens Family Status Rights

Blog Post
May 15, 2014
Read Time: 2 minutes

Employers must accommodate employees with family obligations. Last week, in a case called Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnstone, the Federal Court of Appeal gave us a clear set of rules to decide when employees have a right to that accommodation and just how far employers must go.

Violating Human Rights can Increase the Cost of Termination

Blog Post
April 24, 2014
Read Time: 2 minutes

A recent Ontario Superior Court Decision sheds some light on awarding damages for human rights infringement by an employer in the context of a termination. Section 46.1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code is now a little clearer with the decision of Wilson v. Solis Mexican Foods Inc.

What Not To Expect When You’re Expecting

Blog Post
February 7, 2014
Read Time: 2 minutes

In most workplaces, the news of a pregnant employee is often greeted with excitement, support and the occasional baby shower. There are instances, however, when the employer responds in an adverse or unlawful manner. In those cases, human rights tribunals have the authority to enforce a pregnant employee’s right to equal treatment, and are often prepared to send a strong message to employers that this type of discrimination is entirely unacceptable.

Frustrated Contract? A Recent Decision by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal says Yes

Blog Post
February 3, 2014
Read Time: 3 minutes

In its recent decision, Gahagan v. James Campbell Inc., the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (‘HRTO’) seems to have lowered the hurdles faced by employers in Ontario when attempting to establish frustration of contract following an employee’s extended period of absence due to a disability.

Holiday Parties

Blog Post
December 19, 2013
Read Time: 3 minutes

The holiday season is a time of parties, including office parties. While you should always try to enjoy yourself at these functions, there are a few things to remember in order to make Monday morning at the office a little easier! If you are an employer, whether or not to serve alcohol is a tough line to walk. You want people to relax and have fun, but offering alcohol can be a risky endeavor for employers. If you are an employee and your employer is offering alcohol at a party, remember to be smart about your consumption.