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Author Archive - Lisa Stam

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.

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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Online HR resources: Tips for more effective use

Why reinvent the wheel? Drafting employment contracts, policies, termination letters and releases based on a past precedent is often a good place to start. It is usually both time and cost efficient, and for someone unfamiliar with the document, it’s a great learning opportunity. When using a precedent or online resource, here are the top 3 tips to ensure the document is legally enforceable in your workplace.

 

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Why bother with employment contracts?

I had a client recently ask why he would bother going through the cost and efforts of doing up an employment contract, if he was going to have to fight with ex–employees’ lawyers and pay out a package in a without cause situation anyway. Good question.

 

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Employer risk 101 – Ministry enforcement of the ESA

If you are reading an employment law blog you already know that employers have legal obligations under the Ontario Employment Standards Act. The top five violations for the fiscal year 2014/2015, as compiled by the Ministry of Labour, were with respect to…

 

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Top 4 mistakes US employers make when expanding into Canada

With the hot Toronto tech skills market and the favourable dollar exchange, US employers are increasingly looking north of the border to expand for new business and for new talent.  Here are four common mistakes US employers will want to avoid:

 

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Top four tech tips for terminations

As technology continues to overhaul the workplace and drive change, what remains the same is the emotional uncertainty of termination. Neither the employee, nor the person tasked with conducting the termination, enjoy that awkward meeting.

 

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Employees, corporate transactions and the entrepreneur

An entrepreneur’s workforce grows either through fresh hires or through the acquisition of companies that bring along new employees.  Whether your organization is a large multi-national in a complex mergers and acquisitions (M;&A) transaction or a start-up looking to acquire a 2-person corporation with a new development line or skill set, the employment law implications are complex, yet largely the same.

 

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Negotiating BYOD cell phones at termination

You bring the employee into the boardroom, have an awkward 5 minute discussion about restructuring and the elimination of her role, thank her for her years of service, hand her the termination package with the various settlement package details, request that she returns all company property and offer to help her pack her personal items.

Then, she asks about her cell phone.  Can she keep the phone?  Can she keep the phone number? 

 

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Top 3 mistakes of executives upon termination

Whether a frontline employee on an hourly wage or a senior salaried executive with extensive and complicated variable compensation, there is an equally shared truth upon termination of employment:  it hurts, and you are now required to negotiate your termination package in the midst of emotional and financial turmoil.

 

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Sacking your co-founder

For true entrepreneurs, there is nothing more exhilarating and satisfying than launching your own baby into the economy, nurturing it, and watching it flourish with co-founders, friends, employees and supporters along the way.

Satisfying, that is, until your co-founder starts to slack, develop a different vision, or simply become an energy suck that is destroying the business.  Once the honeymoon start-up phase is over, founders either thrive in the get-down-to-business phase, or get itchy for the next creative start up adventure.  Here are some big-picture tips for handling the post-honeymoon phase.

 

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Public disclosure of private facts: New class action certification

I have a particular interest in technology and its impact on the workplace. A key consequence of the impact of technology is our evolving relationship with privacy rights. As our lives become more digital, our privacy is more difficult to control. Deactivating my Facebook account is not the same as drawing the shades on my front window. Who knows where all that data continues to hang out online and who has access to it?

 

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