Facebook Mistake causes Settlement to Evaporate

March 13, 2014
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In virtually every settlement of any complaint, lawsuit or proceeding, the employer always requests a confidentiality provision. The clause generally requires that employee keep the fact of and terms of the settlement confidential. The clause will usually only allow the employees to advise their spouse, immediate family and/or their financial advisors of the settlement on the condition that those individuals keep the terms confidential. While there is a normal desire on the part of employees to advise their family members and friends of any settlement (particularly after a lengthy legal battle), it’s critical that employees understand their obligations as they pertain to confidentiality before speaking to anyone, and ensure those obligations are respected.

Summarily Dismissed: Court Makes Good Use of Summary Judgment in the Employment Context

February 27, 2014
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A recent Court of Appeal for Ontario decision, Bernier v. Nygard International Partnership, which was released in late 2013, was an unsuccessful appeal of a summary judgment on wrongful dismissal claim. This outcome was a positive result for the employee and a good use of a summary judgment under Rule 20 in the employment context. The case is also a reminder that – in the absence of clear contractual language to the contrary – a dismissed employee is entitled to bonuses that would have been earned during his or her reasonable notice period.

Cap or no Cap?

February 19, 2014
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A trial judge must weigh and balance a list of relevant factors in determining a reasonable notice period for a terminated employee. Even though this period will be based on the facts of each particular case, the courts have made it clear there is no absolute upper limit or cap on what constitutes reasonable notice. Where exceptional circumstances exist, or where an employee scores high on the Bardal factors, a court will be inclined to support a base notice period in excess of 24 months.

What Not To Expect When You’re Expecting

February 7, 2014
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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.

Good News for Temporary Employees: Significant Changes Proposed to the Ontario Employment Standards Act

December 19, 2013
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On December 4, 2013, the Ontario government introduced Bill 146, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act. It is omnibus legislation that proposes amendments to several key employment statutes, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ‘ESA’). Bill 146 must still pass second reading prior to receiving Royal Assent. However, the proposed changes to the ESA are, at least in introductory form, positive for employees. For example, Bill 146 introduces a number of new protections for employees under the ESA, particularly for historically vulnerable temporary employees.

Holiday Parties

December 19, 2013
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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.