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Ontario Employer Advisor Keeping Employers Advised on Developments in Labour and Employment Law

Tag Archives: termination

Hiring Seasonal Workers for the Holidays? 10 Things Employers Need to Know

Posted in Employment, Employment Agreements, Employment Standards, Hours of Work, Occupational Health and Safety, Overtime, Pay, Recruiting, Retail, Seasonal/Temporary Employees, Termination, training, Wage and Hours

As retailers and other seasonal employers gear up for the holiday rush, many hire additional temporary staff to ensure they are ready for crowds of shoppers and extended holiday hours.

In preparation for this time of year, we made a list (and checked it twice!) of issues that Ontario seasonal employers should keep in mind in relation to these employees:

Recruitment & Hiring

  • Avoid Human Rights Concerns in Interviews. When hiring employees to work during the holiday season, it may be tempting to ask questions which directly or indirectly result in the disclosure of information relating to the prohibited
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Dismissing an Employee in the Federal Sector? You Will Need More Than a Severance Package

Posted in Damages, Federally Regulated Employers, Just Cause, Termination, Wrongful Dismissal

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal in Wilson v Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, and ruled that federally regulated employers must provide justification for dismissing a non-unionized employee or risk facing the “galaxy of discretionary remedies, including, most notably, reinstatement” provided for under the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”).  Unfortunately for federally regulated employers, this decision overturns the Federal Court of Appeal ruling we wrote about early last year and confirms the notion that federally regulated, non-unionized employees cannot be dismissed without cause or reasons.  In other words, a federal sector employer cannot simply … Continue Reading

Are the Tides Finally Turning? Ontario Court of Appeal Upholds Termination Provision Providing Only for “Notice” Under the ESA

Posted in Contractual Termination Provisions, Employment Agreements, Employment Standards, Termination

In a recent case, Oudin v Centre Francophone de Toronto (“Oudin”), the Ontario Court of Appeal has offered potential relief to employers whose contractual termination provisions provide an employee with only his or her minimum “notice” entitlement under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”).

The State of the Law Prior to Oudin

As a general principle, if an employer wants to limit an employee’s entitlements upon a without cause termination to the minimums established by the ESA, the contractual provision must ensure that the employee will be provided with at least their ESA minimum entitlements to notice, … 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

Terminated for Tweeting: A Tale of Two Toronto Firefighters

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Social Media, Termination

When used properly, social media can be a powerful tool for connecting individuals, marketing businesses and mobilizing the masses behind a cause.   However, many organizations have learned the hard way that inappropriate social media use by employees  can have a detrimental effect on an organization’s reputation.… Continue Reading

New Rule of Thumb: 6 Months’ Pay Per Year of Service?

Posted in Termination, Wrongful Dismissal

So much for the rule of thumb that an employee should receive one month of notice for every year of service. The Toronto Star has reported on a recent wrongful dismissal decision that Ontario employers should consider, especially when hiring senior managers or executives. Except for the 12 month notice period that was awarded, the facts of the case seem unremarkable. The company terminated, without cause, the employment of a 52 year old executive, who had 19 months of service.

The interesting part of the decision is that the executive, who had still not found work after 14 months, was … Continue Reading

Ontario Court of Appeal puts the “Reasonable” back into “Reasonable Notice”

Posted in Employment Standards, Termination

Determining the actual notice period an employee is entitled to upon termination is often a frustrating exercise for employers. This is especially true of the more recent case-law which has tended to place more emphasis on certain factors (age and tenure) at the expense of other factors (nature of position and compensation). There have been widely divergent awards in recent years. This undermines the ability of employers to plan, with some certainty, for large scale restructurings and the required notice/severance to provide staff.

The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision of Kotecha v. Affinia Canada Ltd, 2014 ONCA 411 (… Continue Reading

“Men’s Day” Customer Appreciation Event Discriminatory

Posted in Discrimination, Human Rights, Termination

In McConaghie v. Systemgroup Consulting Inc., 2014 HRTO 295, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (HRTO) found that an employer discriminated against a female employee on the basis of sex by sponsoring a customer appreciation event that was for men only. The HRTO also found that the employer retaliated against the employee after she complained about the event to her supervisor.

The case is an important reminder to employers to be cautious with respect to the type of events that they sponsor and the importance of record keeping when performance managing employees.… Continue Reading

From the Desk of the HR Manager: Spring Cleaning – Performing an HR Audit

Posted in Discipline, Policies

As spring is upon us, it is an appropriate time of the year for an organization to perform an audit of its human resources process. HR audits ensure regulatory and organizational policy compliance, while proactively pursuing internal efficiencies and excellence. Regular and systematic audits demonstrate due-diligence to regulatory bodies (e.g. Ministry of Labour) and promote a proactive, preventative approach to HR issues, subsequently reducing risk and liabilities.

An efficient human resources process generates effective practices, cost reduction, increased productivity, employee engagement and continual improvement. Areas of focus for a human resources audit include:

Personnel Files

Ensure that the following items … Continue Reading

Employer’s Random Alcohol Testing Policy Constitutes Unreasonable Invasion of Employees’ Rights to Privacy

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Occupational Health and Safety, Termination

An employee’s right to ensure workplace safety versus an employee’s right to privacy – these competing rights have been present in the workplace for many years. On one hand, employers must be able to adopt policies to protect their workforce and abide by statutory health and safety obligations. On the other hand, employees expect that they will not be subject to intrusive policies that unreasonably infringe on their privacy expectations.

In Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper, Limited, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) recently weighed in on how to balance … Continue Reading

Employee Notice Period Greater than Length of Service!

Posted in Damages, Employment Standards, Just Cause, Litigation, Termination, Wrongful Dismissal

Like many management side labour lawyers, I often advise employers and their human resources professionals on the appropriate amount of notice or termination/severance pay an employee should receive upon dismissal without cause. I often remark that there is no “rule of thumb” or formulaic approach. Instead, in determining an employee’s notice period at common-law, the Courts have listed a number of factors to consider, including an employee’s age, length of service, position, compensation and the availability of comparable employment. While the application of these factors provides some guidance (e.g. junior/younger employees are generally entitled to less notice than more tenured/older … Continue Reading

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal Awards Reinstatement and Substantial Back Pay for Failure to Accommodate

Posted in Benefits, Compensation, Pensions, Human Rights, Termination, Wage and Hours, Wrongful Dismissal

A recent decision of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (HRTO) in Fair v. Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, 2013 HRTO 440 illustrates the potentially serious consequences for employers who fail to accommodate employees.

In its initial and long-delayed decision on liability, the HRTO found the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board liable for discriminating against former employee Sharon Fair by failing to accommodate her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminating her employment.… Continue Reading