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Category Archives: Employee Obligations

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Doing Business in Canada 2016: Read the latest updates to our popular guide

Posted in Employee Obligations, Employment, Employment Agreements, Employment Standards

McT_DBiC_Cover_3D_SEPT2016

McCarthy Tétrault’s Doing Business in Canada provides a user-friendly overview of central aspects of the Canadian political and legal systems that are most likely to affect new and established business in Canada. The newest edition reflects legislative changes including:

  • Changes to the Competition Act and Investment Act Canada;
  • and an updated Mergers and Acquisitions chapter including new rules on takeover bids in Canada.

General guidance is included throughout the publication on a broad range of discussions. We also recommend that you seek the advice of one of our lawyers for any specific legal aspects of your proposed investment or activity.… Continue Reading

A Brave New World? – Probably Not But Employers Sometimes Have To Deal With 26 Months’ Notice and “Dependant Contractors”

Posted in Contractors, Employee Obligations, Employment, Employment Standards, Pay, Termination

The Ontario Court of Appeal has further shattered the “24 month maximum” myth.  In Keenan v. Canac Kitchens Ltd., the Court of Appeal upheld a Trial Judge’s finding that two long service workers were “dependent contractors” and therefore entitled to 26 months’ reasonable notice on termination.

We do not think that this appeal decision is particularly ground-breaking. While unusual, it is not the first time that a Court has awarded more than 24 months’ notice (we are aware of at least one case where a court awarded 30 months).  Also, dependant contractors have long been a recognized category of … Continue Reading

Festive Celebrations and the Workplace

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Obligations

With the holiday season in full swing, employers are in the midst of the annual balancing act between festive celebration and appropriate workplace conduct. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Here are some tips for planning and hosting a successful and (hopefully) incident free workplace holiday party.

1.  Alcohol Consumption

Many holiday parties involve the provision of alcohol to employees.  In an effort to prevent over-consumption, consider (i) setting a fixed period of time where alcoholic beverages will be served; (ii) providing a controlled number of drink tickets per guest; (iii) hiring … Continue Reading

Employers Must “Trust” Employees to Account for Mitigation Earnings During Notice Period

Posted in Damages, Employee Obligations, Litigation, Termination, Wrongful Dismissal

A typical wrongful dismissal case (where cause is not an issue) generally involves two legal issues.  First, how much reasonable notice of termination (or pay in lieu) should the employee have received based on the employee’s age, length of service, position, compensation and the availability of comparable employment.  Second, did the employee mitigate his/her damages by finding alternative employment or failing to make reasonable efforts to do so during the notice period?  Notably, a judge can decrease the notice period based on the employee’s unreasonable mitigation efforts.

Often times by the time the trial rolls around, the notice period has … Continue Reading

When Your Business Becomes My Business – Dealing with Off-Duty Conduct

Posted in Employee Obligations, Employment Standards, Social Media

In the past few days, the issue of an employee’s off-duty conduct and its impact on the employee’s fit for continued employment has been a hot button topic in the news and on social media.

Many have questioned whether employers can or should consider conduct by an employee that occurs in the course of the employee’s personal (i.e. non-working) time. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, as it depends entirely on the circumstances of the particular case, there is an increasing movement by employers to consider such conduct and to take steps, including disciplinary steps, to address … Continue Reading

SCC Constitutionalizes the right to strike for unionized employees

Posted in Employee Obligations, Employment Standards, Labour Relations

On the heels of its labour friendly decision in Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada (“MPAO”) which granted RCMP officers the right to unionize (and which our colleagues in Vancouver wrote about here), the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) released its highly anticipated decision in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, 2015 SCC 4 (“SFL”). In SFL, the SCC was tasked with determining whether the prohibition on the right to strike for public sector employees the Government deemed “essential service employees” was a violation of section 2(d) of Charter of Rights and Continue Reading

From the Desk of the HR Manager, December 2014

Setting Performance Objectives

Posted in Employee Obligations, Policies

Melissa Kennedy is a labour relations, employment and human resources specialist who assists clients with proactively managing compliance, risk and ensuring best practices are in place.

As we set to embark upon the year’s end, now is an appropriate time to begin goal setting and implementing employee performance objectives for the new year. Establishing clear expectations which are tied to the overall mission and vision of the organization, and which are aligned with and cascaded from senior leadership, will ensure that employees understand their role and value within the organization, and will work to continually motivate them throughout the year.Continue Reading

Family Status and Childcare Obligations – The Federal Court of Appeal Weighs In

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Obligations, Family Status, Human Rights, Litigation

On May 2, 2014, the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) rendered its decision in Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnstone (Johnstone), along with its decision of an appeal in a similar case called Canadian National Railway v. Seeley (Seeley). A full e-alert with our discussion of these cases and the implications for employers can be found here.

Both Johnstone and Seeley involved mothers of young children who requested relief from a workplace schedule or assignment which would have left them without adequate childcare. In Johnstone, the employee worked a rotating shift and requested a … Continue Reading

Be Prepared to Justify Employee Dress Code Policies

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Obligations, Human Rights, Policies

Most people have experience with an employee uniform or dress code policy (mine is “business casual”). There are often very good reasons to have employees look or dress a certain way. It can assist with productivity, promote professionalism and branding, and ensure uniformity. As such, employees’ attire/appearance can be a legitimate concern for employers. However, to the extent that a policy has no rational connection to a business need or unduly infringes on an employee’s self expression, it may be successfully challenged by unions.… Continue Reading

Customer Contacts on LinkedIn = Property of the Employer

Posted in Employee Obligations, Litigation, Policies, Social Media

Ever since the days that employment law was referred to as “master and servant” law, employees have owed various common-law duties and, for some employees, fiduciary obligations to their employer. These obligations take many forms, but key is that an employee cannot misappropriate an employer’s confidential or proprietary information. In the days before social media, this was fairly easy to describe. Generally speaking, an employee could not print or email to himself a copy of the employer’s customer list, and then use that list to compete against the employer. But what if that customer list is not a document, but … Continue Reading

Your Organization Needs a Social Media Policy

Posted in Employee Obligations, Human Rights, Policies, Privacy, Social Media

More than 19 million Canadians check Facebook at least once per month and 14 million check every day. There are more than 200 million active users of Twitter, and around 400 million tweets sent daily. LinkedIn boasts 8 million Canadian users. These stats confirm what you probably already know: your employees are on social media. They are likely on social media multiple times a day, which means that they are likely using social media at work.… Continue Reading