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Author Archive - Employer Advisor, McCarthy Tétrault LLP

McCarthy Tétrault through their Employer Advisor blogs offers their perspectives on the latest legal developments applicable to the workplace. It provides their insights on legislative and regulatory developments, as well as new case law, while providing practical tips for employers and their human resources professionals when managing the workforce. McCarthy Tétrault is a Canadian law firm that delivers integrated business law, litigation services, tax law, real property law, labour and employment law nationally and globally. Several of their blog posts will be republished with permission on First Reference Talks. Read more

The Supreme Court of Canada interprets workplace discrimination broadly

In British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal v. Schrenk, 2017 SCC 62, the Supreme Court of Canada considered the scope of section 13(1) of BC’s Human Rights Code, which concerns discrimination “regarding employment or any term or condition of employment.”

 

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BCHRT considers the duty to inquire as to the presence of a mental disability

Is it the employer’s duty to inquire whether an employee has a mental disability? The BCHRT recently considered a case that addresses this. Generally, before an employer can be required to accommodate an employee’s mental disability, the employer must know, or ought reasonably to know, that the employee has such a disability in the first […]

 

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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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Parliamentary Secretary releases final report and recommendations on re-establishment of B.C. Human Rights Commission

The B.C. government launched a public engagement process on September 20, 2017, led by Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism Ravi Kahlon, to gather stories, feedback, and information from the public to guide the re-establishment of the Commission. The engagement process, which included nearly 100 public meetings and consideration of nearly 70 formal written submissions, ended on November 17, 2017.

 

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Employee’s secret recording of meetings with management contributes to finding of just cause for dismissal

A recent decision from the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench supports that an employee’s use of his work phone to secretly record meetings with management may support an employer’s decision to terminate for just cause.

 

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British Columbia Supreme Court rules on reasonable notice when an employee is terminated before their first day of work

In Buchanan v. Introjunction Ltd., 2017 BCSC 1002, the Court considered a case where the employer terminated the plaintiff’s employment before he commenced work. The Court rejected employer’s argument that the probation period clause applied to limit its liability to provide notice of termination of employment.

 

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Ontario Bill 148 passed: A timeline of implementation

Ontario Bill 148 passed on November 22, 2017, enacting new employment and labour laws for the province. Employers will require assistance on when schedules in Bill 148 are being implemented.

 

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Bill 148 passes (but not before a few last-minute changes were made)

On Wednesday, November 22, 2017, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Introduced on June 1, 2017 as a response to the Final Report of the Changing Workplaces Review, Bill 148 makes significant amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000, Labour Relations Act, 1995 and most recently, the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

 

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“Asking for trouble”: BC Human Rights Tribunal considers whether interview questions crossed the line

The interview process can be a legal minefield for employers. One false step, one inappropriate question can give rise to a human rights complaint alleging that the employer has discriminated against the prospective employee.

 

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SCC upholds dismissal of employee for failing to disclose cocaine use in violation of no free accident rule

The no free accident rule is designed to encourage safety by encouraging employees with substance abuse problems to come forward and obtain treatment before their problems compromise safety. In Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp., 2017 SCC 30, the Supreme Court of Canada recently reaffirmed the two-part test for discrimination in the workplace. Centered on the termination of […]

 

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Dependent contractor receives 12 months pay in lieu of notice

The recent Supreme Court decision of Glimhagen v. GWR Resources Inc., 2017 BCSC 761, illustrates how an independent contractor can become a dependent contractor – an intermediate category on the spectrum between employee and independent contractor.

 

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Ontario’s employment and labour law reform Bill continues to undergo changes

Just as the summer winds down, we have an update on Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Those who tuned-in for the McCarthy Tétrault webinars on Bill 148 will recall that public consultations were to be held across the province in July to elicit feedback on the draft Bill.

 

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The Canadian Human Rights Commission publishes Impaired at Work: A guide to accommodating substance dependence

The national epidemic of opioid abuse and overdoses is almost a daily feature in news media. Meanwhile, recent figures indicate that prescriptions for painkillers continue to increase in Canada. It is in this context that the Canadian Human Rights Commission recently released a new guide: Impaired at Work: A guide to accommodating substance dependence.

 

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Fishing for notice: British Columbia Supreme Court addresses inducement and contingency factors in wrongful dismissal suits

Care is required when recruiting a potential employee, but not all active recruitment activities qualify as inducement. More than giving the employee the impression there is room to grow or job security is required. Actual evidence of promises made by the company and the employee’s reliance upon those promises is necessary to sustain a determination of inducement. Nevertheless, employers can avoid claims of inducement by using written employment agreements that contain “entire agreement” clauses and confirm that the employee has not been induced by any promises.

 

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Can an employment agreement executed after the employee starts work be enforced? The Ontario Court of Appeal says yes.

In Wood v. Fred Deeley Imports Ltd., the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that a “written employment agreement is not unenforceable merely because the employee signs it after starting to work”. The Court found the trial judge’s inference to be reasonable, noting that Deeley did not claim she reviewed the terms of her employment for the first time on April 24, 2007, or that the contract contained any new material terms. The Court acknowledged that the contract was likely signed the day after Deeley started work as “a matter of administrative convenience.” In these circumstances, fresh consideration was not necessary.

 

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