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News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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Author Archive - Occasional Contributors

In addition to our regular guest bloggers, First Reference Talks blog published by First Reference, provides occasional guest post opportunities from various subject matter experts on the topics of payroll, employment and labour law, payroll, HR analytics, corporate immigration, accessibility related issues in Canada. If you are a subject matter expert and would like to become an occasional blogger, please contact Yosie Saint-Cyr at editor@firstreference.com. If you liked this post, subscribe to First Reference Talks blog to get regular updates.

Cannabis in the workplace

On April 13, Bill C-45 – An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, also known as the Cannabis Act – was introduced and read in the House of Commons.

 

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Le cannabis en milieu de travail

Le 13 avril dernier, le projet de loi C-45 – soit la Loi concernant le cannabis et modifiant la Loi réglementant certaines drogues et autres substances, le Code criminel et d’autres lois ou la Loi sur le cannabis – fut déposé et lu à la Chambre des communes. La Loi sur le cannabis prévoit, entre autres, certaines modalités visant à légaliser et à réglementer la production et distribution du cannabis à des fins médicales et récréatives.

 

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Don’t take a chance on it: The uncertainty of ESA-only termination clauses

In January 2017, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision in Cook v. Hatch upholding a less than perfect termination clause that failed to reference statutory severance pay or provide for continued health benefits during the statutory notice period. A month later, the Court of Appeal responded with its decision in Wood v. Fred Deeley Imports Ltd. where it overturned a motion judge’s ruling upholding a similar termination provision. And so, the age old debate about the enforceability of ESA-only termination provisions rages on.

 

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Will distracted driving kill your employees?

Operating a motor vehicle for work is more than driving a truck, cab or ambulance. Anyone driving from home to a location different from their usual workplace, or travelling for work, is usually “in the course of employment” under workers’ compensation law. Thus distracted driving is very much an employer responsibility and risk.

 

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Federal adjudicator dismisses family status grievance

Federal adjudicator dismisses family status grievance – confirms that employer’s duty to accommodate is only engaged where a work rule interferes with an employee’s legal obligations.

 

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Une arbitre fédérale rejette un grief fondé sur la situation de famille

Une arbitre fédérale rejette un grief fondé sur la situation de famille et confirme que l’obligation d’accommodement de l’employeur ne s’applique que lorsqu’une règle au travail nuit à la réalisation des obligations légales d’un employé.

 

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Have you amended your pension plan?

The Pension Benefits Act (Ontario) was recently amended. In this communiqué, we briefly review those amendments.

 

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Former employee successfully sued for defamation for Facebook posts

In recent years, careless, or let’s say, less than sensible comments on social media have gotten countless employees in trouble with their boss. Employees who have used Facebook as a forum for posting threatening language and vile insults about a supervisor or offensive accusations about the company they work for have quickly been shown the door; and arbitrators and labour boards are often prepared to uphold these dismissals.

 

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Unionized workers hiring their own lawyers: 3 issues

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.

 

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Constructive dismissal and employer prestige

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.

 

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Le congédiement déguisé et employeur prestige

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.

 

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Probationary periods in Canada: Are they legal?

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?

 

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Illness or disability during the notice period

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.

 

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Can NAFTA address your company’s labour shortages

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.

 

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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.

 

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