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26 is the new 24 (Reasonable Notice)

The result of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s January 2016 decision of Keenan v. Canac Kitchens Ltd., which established, at this court level, for the first time that 26 months was reasonable notice in exceptional circumstances, thus confirming to the lower courts that there is no 24-month cap on notice.

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Bill C-65 – Amendments to the Canada Labour Code dealing with sexual harassment and violence

Federally-regulated employers, including those covered by the PESRA, should consider whether Bill C-65’s proposed changes require an examination or revision of current policies and practices on workplace violence or harassment.

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Projet de loi C-65 – Modifications au Code canadien du travail portant sur le harcèlement et la violence sexuels

Dans la foulée des allégations d’inconduite sexuelle, les débats devraient commencer sur le projet de loi C‑65 du gouvernement fédéral. S’il est adopté, ce projet de loi renforcerait les protections contre la violence et le harcèlement au travail, y compris le harcèlement et la violence sexuels, dans les milieux de travail de réglementation fédérale.

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Secretly recorded conversations – the collision of “technification” and mistrust in the workplace

While I would never have been able to predict at the time I started practicing employment law that I’d be writing about and advising clients on the risks associated with secret recordings in the workplace, it is a reality that is now a regular part of the modern workplace.

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Occupational Health and Safety: Duty to report and protection against reprisal

Employers should be particularly alert to the provisions of OHS Acts in considering actions taken by workers outside of the usual lines of reporting at the workplace where unsafe work conditions are alleged. The OHS Acts of each province in Atlantic Canada imbue workers with specific rights related to workplace safety.

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Family Day February 19: Which provinces have a day off with pay?

In Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, Family Day is recognized as a public (statutory) holiday and employees get the day off with pay, if eligible. Each year, these provinces celebrate Family Day on the third Monday in February. In 2018, Monday, February 19 is Family Day.

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Commitment to “comply with statute” not enough to displace common law rights on termination

This decision serves as an important reminder to employers to draft clear and enforceable termination provisions in order to avoid unanticipated liability upon termination. In particular, the Movati decision confirms that should an employer want to limit its obligations upon termination to the minimum entitlements required by statute, it is necessary to include clear words of limitation.

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with the interpretation and enforceability of termination clauses, changes and improvements to services, benefits and credits for Canadians for the new tax filing season and improved ways for businesses to meet their reporting obligations.

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Sexual harassment and Valentine’s Day

Employers need to be aware of the sexual tensions at play in an office, or risk being held liable for failing to address a poisoned work environment. For example, if two co-workers had a relationship and then broke up, and one is now showing revealing photos of the other around the office, this likely creates a poisoned work environment for the depicted employee. Though a manager may be tempted to deem the matter personal, the employer has an obligation to protect the employee.

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Wal-Mart employee awarded $250,000 in moral damages and $500,000 in punitive damages

Wal-Mart was found to have breached its duty as it was trying to find a new position for Ms. Galea. I don’t know if this case will turn out to be an outlier, but in the meantime employers should be very careful when dealing with an employee who is between jobs within the organization.

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Employee awarded 12 months’ pay and $24k in legal fees from employer who undermined her efforts to find new employment

In a recent case titled Ste-Croix v. Al-Hashimi and Jawad Dentistry, following a termination without cause the Ontario Superior Court of Justice canvassed what constitutes “reasonable notice” and the factors the court will consider, what comprises reasonable efforts to mitigate damages, and when a motion for summary judgment is preferable to an unnecessary trial.

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BC Supreme Court awards aggravated damages in the absence of medical evidence

The decisions in Ensign and Karmel demonstrate the risk of liability for failing to be honest and forthright in the manner of termination of an employee’s employment. Employers would be well-advised to be conservative in assessing whether they have cause, assessing reasonable notice periods, carrying out the termination and avoiding bad faith and/or misrepresentation.

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Family Day in British Columbia, February 12

Family Day in British Columbia is a statutory (public) holiday that is celebrated the second Monday in February each year. On Monday, February 12, 2018, British Columbians will be celebrating their sixth Family Day.

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with pay equity and equal pay, marijuana in the workplace and possible paternity leave.

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Update regarding the Metron Construction case: Kazenelson’s appeal dismissed, 3.5-year sentence upheld

Over the past couple of years, I have written about the story regarding the project manager involved at the work site where Metron Construction Incorporated (Metron) was repairing 18-story apartment buildings using a swing stage. The charges arose from an incident where five workers employed by Metron fell more than 100 feet to the ground when the swing stage on which they were working suddenly collapsed. Some developments in this matter have occurred.

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