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Author Archive - Stuart Rudner, Rudner Law

Stuart Rudner is a leading HR Lawyer, mediator and a founding partner of Rudner Law, a firm specializing in Canadian Employment Law. At Rudner Law, their approach is simple. They want to understand your circumstances, your concerns, and your goals. They will then ensure that you understand the legal regime along with your rights and obligations. Once that is done, they work with you to design a cost-effective strategy that meets your needs. They want to be your trusted advisor. Read more

Duty to accommodate may be triggered even when employee does not request accommodation

As we all know, employers are required to accommodate individuals to the point of “undue hardship” where the need for accommodation relates to a ground protected by human rights legislation, such as disability.

 

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If the punishment fits: The Court of Appeal upholds Ruston v. Keddco Mfg. (2001) Ltd.

Our legal system is designed to implement a stringent appeals process. When an unsuccessful party truly believes that the Court ‘got it wrong,’ either because they wrongly assessed the facts or wrongly applied the law (or in some cases both), they have the power to appeal to a higher court who can review the ruling and issue their own determination, as was the case with Ruston v. Keddco Mfg.

 

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Is 36 months the new 24?

For a long time, the common law notice period had an “unofficial” cap of 24 months, which was generally reserved for very long-service, senior level management. In recent years, things have changed and longer notice periods are becoming the norm.

 

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Not a litigation tactic: The dangers of unfounded allegations of just cause for dismissal

The vast majority of employment relationships can be terminated at any time so long as the employer provides appropriate notice or pay in lieu of notice.

 

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No skirting around the issue: Gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination appear to be on the rise

Employers who fail to take action when there are complaints of unlawful discrimination in the workplace are exposing themselves to serious potential liability, both from a financial and a reputational perspective.

 

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Court awards six months’ pay in lieu of notice to employee terminated after six months

In this case, the BC Supreme Court awarded an employee six months’ pay in lieu of notice after he was induced to leave his job for a new position, only to be dismissed six months later.

 

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“It ain’t over ’til it’s over”: When does illness frustrate a contract?

When an employee is out for a long stretch due to illness, it is always best to keep in periodic but regular communication with them, both to see how they are doing and to see if they know when they may be able to return to work.

 

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Can an employer sue an employee for compensation?

The case detailed here does not mean that employers can sue employees for any losses that arise out of their employment. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain compensation for negligent work, or mistakes. However, where there is deliberate misconduct like in this case, remedies are available to the employer beyond dismissal for cause.

 

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Employee vs independent contractor: The dangers of misclassification

It is essential that employers understand and consider the risks of misclassifying employees as contractors, even when the individual themselves is the one requesting or proposing the contractor relationship.

 

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Right to terminate BUT in good faith

The decision in this case confirms that termination clauses will not be voided where there is no good reason to do so.

 

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Accommodation of medical marijuana

The right to accommodation, and the widespread acceptance of medical marijuana, does not mean that employees have a right to use marijuana at work. Safety considerations will be taken into account and although zero tolerance policies will not be automatically enforced, they will be enforced when appropriate.

 

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$200,000 awarded by the HRTO for sexual harassment and assault of vulnerable employee

Employers would be well-advised to implement strong anti-discrimination, harassment and workplace violence policies which include provisions regarding processes, investigations and training.

 

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What happens to employment contracts when an employer sells the assets of its business?

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has confirmed that in an asset sale, a purchaser’s offer of employment to a seller’s employee can constitute consideration for changes in an employment contract — including a new termination clause.

 

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Non-competition clauses – Language should be clear and unambiguous

Employers should avoid using language that may introduce ambiguity and is broader than necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate interest. Courts will not fix a clause that they find to be ambiguous or overreaching

 

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Entitlement to bonus after dismissal: The debate continues

Employers would be wise to review their current agreements and policies with respect to bonuses and ensure that any eligibility requirements upon termination are clearly set out and have been expressly communicated to employees.

 

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