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Author Archive - Jeff Dutton, Dutton Employment Law

Jeff is a leading employment lawyer in Toronto. He represents both individual employees and management in all matters. Prior to founding Dutton Employment Law, Jeff was a prosecutor for the Ministry of Labour. He has been successful at the Ontario Labour Relations Board, Ontario Court of Justice and the Ontario Superior Court. Jeff is a frequent lecturer on employment law matters and has been widely published in newspapers and trade journals. Read more.

30 tips for a reasonable workplace investigation

In Canada, a requirement to conduct a workplace investigation is triggered in case of harassment, sexual harassment or violence. What then is required of such a workplace investigation? In short, a “reasonable” investigation is required.

 

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What is undue hardship?

The right to accommodation at work in Canada is not absolute. Employers only have an obligation to accommodate disabled employees up to undue hardship and can therefore terminate or suspend disabled employees if the employee cannot be accommodated.

 

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When should an employer conduct a workplace investigation?

Under the common law, and specifically under Sections 25(2)(h) and 32.0.5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Ontario), every employer has a duty to conduct a workplace investigation after an incident of workplace violence has allegedly occurred. In other words, if an employer gets a complaint about violence at work, or if the employer witnesses violence at work, it must conduct an investigation.

 

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Severance for sales people

This article examines whether employers must include commissions, in addition to base salary, when calculating severance pay for sales people.

 

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A discussion on performance improvement plans

If an employee has performance issues, and the employer is committed to providing the employee with the opportunity to correct poor performance before terminating their employment, the employer should use a performance improvement plan or PIP to identify in writing such performance issues and make a plan to fix them.

 

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The non-competition clause – Drafting and cautionary notes

A non-competition clause (or non-compete clause) is a passage in an employment contract which purports to prohibit employees from working for another employer or starting their own business which competes with their employer during and after employment.

 

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Why employers shouldn’t use severance calculators

Determining the period of reasonable notice is an art not a science. In each case trial judges must weigh and balance a catalogue of relevant factors.

 

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Is drinking at work just cause for termination?

Just cause is the death penalty in employment law. Accordingly, in case of drinking at work, just cause can only be justified where the drinking at work causes grave concern.

 

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Startup employment contracts

Canadian startups and any company for that matter should have an employment contract for all new hires. An employment contract helps both parties understand the employment relationship, protects the start up in the event of the termination of employees and it can also serve as a useful mechanism to attract good employees.

 

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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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New Employment Standards in Ontario Poster

As a result of the much blogged about changes made to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), which came into force in the new year, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour drafted a new poster entitled “Employment Standards in Ontario” (the “Poster”) reflecting these changes.

 

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Top 10 employment law cases of 2017

Here is a list of the cases which changed employment law in Canada in 2017 (in no particular order). Note that some of these cases are not yet published on CanLII and therefore, there is no link available.

 

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Employers beware: Punitive damages for improper just cause allegations

Two recent Small Claims Court cases demonstrate the courts’ willingness to sanction employers for improper just cause allegations. These cases highlight the fact that employers need to be cautious in asserting just cause.

 

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Top 5 mistakes employers make in their contracts

Employment contracts are a useful tool for employers. But often, employers make mistakes when creating their contracts. Here are five of the main mistakes to watch out for.

 

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What happens if an employer fails to provide a timely Record of Employment (“ROE”) for departing employees?

Employers must issue the ROE within five days after the employee’s last day of work, regardless of the reason why the employee left (i.e. termination, resignation, etc.).

 

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