Author Archive - Occasional Contributors
I often receive requests for consultations from unionized workers dissatisfied with their employer, their union or both. Frequently, this dissatisfaction arises out of the worker having a grievance with the company, but he or she feels that they are not receiving proper representation from their union. Before going ahead and hiring a lawyer outside of their union for advocacy, there are 3 challenges that people in this position should know.
In 2016, the Court of Appeal of Quebec has clarified that reduced employer prestige cannot, in itself, serve as grounds for constructive dismissal in the specific context of business acquisitions.
En 2016, la Cour d’appel du Québec a conclu que, dans le contexte de l’aliénation d’une entreprise, le fait pour un employé de passer à un employeur moins prestigieux ne peut, en soi, constituer un congédiement déguisé.
Probationary periods in employment… for something seeming so simple, they still cause a lot of confusion, and employees and employers alike are frequently mistaken about the legality of probationary periods and how they apply to the non-unionized worker. Employees who are terminated during probationary periods often accept their lot without ever receiving legal advice, while employers often terminate ‘probationary’ employees without providing any compensation, only to be surprised by a demand letter or civil action claiming wrongful dismissal. So where do these challenges come from? And how can they be remedied?
Interestingly, the events following termination of employment do not affect an employee’s entitlement to notice. This includes the situation where an employee is terminated and shortly thereafter becomes ill or disabled. Our courts have dealt with this situation by suggesting a longer notice period may be warranted because the employee may find it more difficult to find alternate employment.
Many Canadian companies face ongoing labour shortages in a variety of positions. The frustration of their recruiters and HR professionals is palpable, for despite offering above average wages, group benefits and other perquisites of employment, finding quality personnel to fill vacancies is harder than ever for some professions. One possible solution is often overlooked.
Defending a lawsuit is not the new black, or: If you stick your head in the sand for six years, the most likely outcome is suffocation
You have probably heard about the recent allegations of sexual assault against a WestJet pilot, and how WestJet failed to properly handle the allegation. Here is a quick summary: a former WestJet flight attendant, Mandalena Lewis, has filed a claim in the B.C. Supreme Court alleging that, after she reported that she was sexually assaulted on a layover in Hawaii in 2010, WestJet did not properly investigate the allegation. In fact, they chose to protect the pilot and eventually fired her for pursuing the matter.
The high costs of litigation and the long delays to have a matter heard in court have raised serious concerns with respect to access to justice in Canada. This challenge can be felt particularly acutely with somebody who has recently been wrongfully dismissed from their employment. While the common law may tell us that a terminated employee may be entitled to receive several more months compensation for their termination than what their employer is offering, often the high cost of litigation require the worker to accept less than they deserve. The high costs of litigation and the long delays to have a matter heard in court have raised serious concerns with respect to access to justice in Canada. This challenge can be felt particularly acutely with somebody who has recently been wrongfully dismissed from their employment. While the common law may tell us that a terminated employee may be entitled to receive several more months compensation for their termination than what their employer is offering, often the high cost of litigation require the worker to accept less than they deserve. But what if someone can have their day in court without the time and expense of trial and discoveries? In many wrongful dismissal cases, a summary judgment application may provide just that.
With the advancement of technology, employers looking to cut overhead costs, and family and lifestyle accommodations growing, working from home is becoming more and more common. However, there are some considerations that must be explored before such practices are approved.
If you sustained a workplace injury and are in receipt of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board benefits for the first time, there are essential pieces of information that you should be familiar with…
The recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia highlights the duality of employee exits. For exits like Justice Scalia’s, it is unlikely that within hours of death, friends and family ponder the vacuum and replacement challenges the employer will face. Exits like Justice Scalia’s may precipitate introspection by remaining employees – resolutions to focus on family and work-life balance; or a realization that regardless of the power or indispensability of a role, in the end it really is “just a job”, because, as far as we know, we leave it all behind.
In 2016, employees may be faced with requests from employers or from others whom the employees serve to participate in activities that are prohibited by the Criminal Code. There are two areas, in particular, of potential legal conflict in the workplace:
In Meloche c. Structures Lamerain inc., the Court of Appeal recently upheld the Superior Court’s decision to award moral damages, in addition to an award for pay in lieu of notice of termination of employment, to two employees who were dismissed in an abusive manner.