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Author Archive - Lisa Stam, Spring Law

Lisa Stam is founder of Spring Law, a virtual law firm advising exclusively on workplace legal issues for employers and executives. She practices all aspects of employment, labour, privacy, and human rights law, with a particular interest in legal issues arising from technology in the workplace. Lisa’s practice includes a wide range of entrepreneurs in the tech space, as well as global companies with smaller operations in Canada. In addition to the day to day workplace issues from hiring to firing, Lisa frequently blogs and speaks on both the impact, risks and opportunities of social media and technology issues in (and out of) the workplace, as well as the novel ways in which changing expectations of privacy continues to evolve employment law. Read more here.

Employee benefits: Government health insurance and employer benefit plans

Health and Dental Benefits are valuable to employees, even in the land of free health care. This is especially true for those employees who have dependants, as benefit plans will typically insure the employee’s family.


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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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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recruiting

artificial intelligence

Stories about artificial intelligence (AI) stealing our jobs and robots going rogue have been in our collective consciousness for years. Elon Musk has also sounded the alarm bells’, calling AI the “biggest risk we face as a civilization”. While he may know a few things I don’t, I can’t say that I agree. Always one to embrace technology, I think AI has great potential to be used by businesses in the HR space, such as to make hiring practices more efficient and more fair.


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Choosing a new Supreme Court judge

Last week a new judge was put forward as the recommended candidate to replace our current Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who will be retiring this month. The candidate, Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Sheilah Martin, would fill a seat that some had expected to go to an Indigenous judge, or a judge for British Columbia.


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Post-termination bonus entitlement

Bonus entitlement is always a juicy topic. In September the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a decision that shed some light on the issue of how entitlement to a bonus will be treated where an employer has no formal bonus policy, but a consistent past practice.


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Tips for recruiting online

While it may be tempting to view the web as a wild west free-for-all, it is important to remember that the law still very much applies.


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Parental obligations in the workplace

For many of us who are parents, September feels like the real New Year. Workplace issues can arise with respect to shifting childcare obligations, as kids transition from summer schedules to school schedules. Employers may be met with requests to accommodate worker childcare obligations or requests for time off and should be prepared with respect to how to handle these issues both practically and legally.


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PHIPA fines in the workplace

This spring the largest penalty to date was issued under Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). A social work student was convicted of accessing personal health information without authorization, and ordered pay a $20,000 fine and a $5,000 victim fine surcharge.


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AODA update and compliance in the digital space

Accessibility on the web isn’t something that necessarily comes to mind when we think about providing accessible services, but as our lives migrate more and more into the virtual space, making digital content accessible is a crucial part of building an inclusive society. The AODA drafters did not overlook this, and AODA does apply to digital content.


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Employee engagement in the modern workplace

The modern workplace requires innovation, agility and creativity when it comes to employee engagement, learning and development, how to accept and embrace the high turnover, gig economy, and how to stop generalizing generations. Few would disagree that an organization will only grow and thrive when it can figure out how to engage all individuals, not just certain demographics or generations.


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Dealing with a Claim: Getting sued by an ex-employee

What is an employer to do when served with a Statement of Claim? Here are the most common questions we get: 1. Is a response mandatory or can we ignore the claim? 2. How do we get rid of this ridiculous claim? 3. How much is this going to cost?


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Workplace instant messaging: Information overload

We all know that social media, electronic communications and the online world has changed how we interact socially. Who has the patience to leave a voice message for a friend about a restaurant meeting place, let alone listen to one? That’s what instant messaging is for. Short, efficient and no small talk. But, does this efficient communication work in the workplace?


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Contract enforceability: Signing the employment contract prior to the start date

When an employee is terminated without cause and offered a package that is very modest, but otherwise compliant with the employment contract, a common first step for his or her lawyer will be to see if the contract can be set aside. If the contract can be declared void, the employee can try to pursue the typically much greater common law damages. There are several grounds upon which courts have set aside either the full contract or at the least, the termination provision. This blog post will focus on the issue of signing the contract prior to the start date.


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2017 workplace resolutions and fresh starts

January is a month of resolutions, fresh starts, and goals. It’s also a good time to run away from 2016 and the upsets and surprises the year rolled out. Here are 3 lessons that 2016 taught us as we all dig in to a new year in the workplace.


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Accommodation and when employees don’t engage in the process

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) released a very important development on family status discrimination, in a case that intersects with disability accommodation law. In Misetich v Value Village Stores, the tribunal reviewed the caselaw, including the Federal Court of Appeal’s Johnstone case, and clarified its test for accommodating family status requests in the workplace.


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