Complaint or Civil Claim?

July 4, 2014
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If you are wrongfully terminated from your employment, you generally have two options for recovering the money you are owed from your employer: (1) filing a complaint or (2) starting a civil claim. This post highlights some of the main differences between the two options.

Making your Vacation a Relaxing One – 5 Things to do Before you Leave

June 12, 2014
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Whether you think you might go the beach, camping, or even just enjoy some relaxing time in your own backyard, you want to double check that you are following any workplace policies or clauses in your employment contract. These may place restrictions on when you can take your vacation, and what can be done with it if you don’t take it.

Dismissed: A Unilateral Increase to Duties can be a Termination

June 9, 2014
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It has long been known that a demotion or significant reduction to an employee’s duties or remuneration can amount to a constructive dismissal. However, a recent decision, Damaso v. PSI Peripheral Solutions Inc., shows that an Employer unilaterally increasing an employee’s responsibilities and duties may lead to a finding of constructive dismissal.

Is a Partner an Employee?

May 29, 2014
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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.

An Offer to Refuse: Are Pay to Quit Programs Effective?

May 23, 2014
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Would you accept a cash payment to voluntarily resign from your job? A small number of American employees are given the opportunity to do just that. Recent attention has been given to these ‘Pay to Quit’ offers that have been provided, most notably, by online retailers Zappos and Amazon. While these programs are not adaptable to all workplaces (and have not yet appeared in Canada), their success will depend largely on purpose and implementation.

Federal Court Broadens Family Status Rights

May 15, 2014
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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.

Time to Take Another Look at your Employment Agreements?

May 8, 2014
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Think that ESA termination clause in your contract is valid because a lawyer prepared it a few years ago? As the law develops, doing what you always did will likely no longer be good enough. Standard employment agreements that have been in use for some time should be reviewed and considered in light of legal developments.

Summary Judgment Strikes Again!

May 1, 2014
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On April 17, 2014, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released another interesting summary judgment in the employment context, Gregory Smith v. Diversity Technologies Corporation. This time, the case involved an employee dismissed for insubordination. It provides another example of the courts’ willingness to grant summary judgments in the employment context, even in cases where the documentary evidence is arguably incomplete and credibility issues are involved.

Violating Human Rights can Increase the Cost of Termination

April 24, 2014
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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.

To Sign or Not to Sign – That is the Question!

April 17, 2014
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Whether you are asked to sign your first employment agreement with a new employer, or an amended or new agreement with the same employer, sufficient consideration, which can be anything of value, is required.