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Author Archive - Stringer LLP

Stringer LLP is a leader in Canadian HR law. For over 45 years, they have taken a client-centered approach to responsive service, representing employers with labour relations and employment problems. Their firm’s practice covers a broad spectrum of HR law, including employment law, occupational health & safety, labour relations and arbitration, human rights, workers’ compensation and pay equity, as well as issues under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. They also provide training, seminars and conferences on the above topics. Read more

Short service employee gets four months’ pay in lieu of reasonable notice

Some employers erroneously believe that there is a “rule of thumb” in the common law that employees are entitled to a month of notice per year of service. The Ontario Court of Appeal has held that there is no such rule, and that determinations of reasonable notice must be based on an assessment of all relevant factors.

 

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Preferential treatment for employees with active WSIB claims not discriminatory

Generally, where no suitable work is available for an employee’s restrictions, employers are not required by human rights law to accommodate a disabled employee by generating new positions for them.

 

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Court comments on when employers can ask for an independent medical examination

Ontario’s Divisional Court recently confirmed that employers have a right to ask employees to undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME) in certain circumstances, to facilitate the accommodation process.

 

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Bad facts make bad law (for employers): Court recognizes new tort of harassment #learnthelatest

The Ontario Superior Court recently recognized a new tort that would allow employees to sue their employers for harassment in civil court. To find out more about how the new tort of harassment in the employment law context, register to Learn the Latest® at the Ontario Employment Law Conference on June 20, 2017.

 

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Medical marijuana: A high cost to employers? #learnthelatest

A recent case from Nova Scotia illustrates that as laws and social attitudes concerning marijuana change, employers may be burdened with previously unexpected costs.

 

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Is it work-related? Novel workers’ compensation decisions deal with harassment and assault #learnthelatest

It may seem fairly obvious when a worker breaks her leg “in the course of employment”. However, injuries and illnesses related to bullying and harassment have drawn significant attention in recent years, and decisions from various workers’ compensation tribunals across the country illustrate that determining the work-relatedness of such injuries is no simple task.

 

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The end of accommodation? Frustration of the employment contract as a last resort

One of the goals of legislation such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Human Rights Code is to promote accessibility and accommodation in various forums, including the workplace. However, when it becomes clear that, despite accommodating an employee to the point of undue hardship, a disabled employee will never again be able to return to his or her job or be accommodated in another position, what can an employer do?

 

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Private member’s Bill seeks union-favourable amendments, without waiting for the Changing Workplaces Review #learnthelatest

Although the final report from the Changing Workplaces Review is not expected until later this year, the Ontario New Democratic Party introduced a private member bill on April 4, 2017 aiming, among other things, to make it easier for workers to unionize their workplaces.

 

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Generous termination clauses: Think twice before making promises #learnthelatest

Many employers include termination clauses in employment contracts to limit their liability when dismissing employees. When employers draft generous termination provisions providing for more than statutory minimums, they must follow through on that generosity when terminating employees. Failing to do so could leave employers exposed to full liability under the common law.

 

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The thin legal line: Resignation vs termination #learnthelatest

Has an employee who hands over his keys and company cell phone to his employer and declares “I’m done” resigned their employment? The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal has said that, in at least one case, the answer is no.

 

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Using independent contractor not a “get out of jail free” card

A business’ obligations to its workers will depend on whether the workers are employees or independent contractors. However, a recent decision reminds us that, even where a worker is a true independent contractor, this distinction may not preclude a business being liable to third parties, such as customers, when the worker does something wrong.

 

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Constructive dismissal? A question of interpretation

The employee in this case acted hastily, and the employer prevailed against his constructive dismissal claim. However, the employer may have avoided the time and expense of litigation if the bonus agreement had contained clear, concise language.

 

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Probationary clauses: A double-edged sword for employers

Many employers find it necessary to assess new employees’ performance on the job before making a final determination about whether an individual is suitable for a position. In the absence of an express term in an employment contract, employees in Canada are entitled to reasonable notice of termination at common law when they are dismissed without just cause. Many employers put terms in their employment contracts, such as probationary clauses, which limit this entitlement. However, employers may not always be clear on the implications of such clauses.

 

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When a resignation isn’t really a resignation

How do you know when an employee has quit their job? It may seem like a simple question, but the answer recently eluded an Ontario employer, who improperly took an employee’s apparent resignation at face value.

 

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Medical evidence and employee absences

A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice confirms that employers are within their rights to require medical notes when employees are absent from work. However, this decision stands as a warning to employers that although they can ask, they may not be able to summarily terminate an employee who fails to comply.

 

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