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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

Supreme Court decision may protect defendants charged with OHSA offences from unreasonable delay

A recent decision from the Supreme Court of Canada could have the effect of allowing corporations charged under the OHSA to seek remedies when a trial is unreasonably delayed in a considerably broader swath of cases.

 

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Putting on the brakes: The limits of the common employer doctrine

One of the more deceptively complex questions in some cases can be: Who is the employer?

 

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After the accident: Pitfalls to avoid for employers after workplace accidents #learnthelatest

The obligations on employers, constructors and other workplace stakeholders once a workplace accident occurs are heavy. The Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “Act”) requires that these parties take positive actions immediately from the time that an accident occurs. These actions can have important implications for later legal proceedings. Failing to comply with these obligations is itself a breach of the Act and can lead to legal liability distinct from and in addition to any liability flowing from the accident.

 

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It takes two to tango: Superior Court rules on employees’ duty to facilitate in the accommodation process

Employers have a duty to accommodate employees with disabilities to the point of undue hardship, including facilitating the return to work of employees who require disability-related accommodation. An important aspect of this duty is procedural, i.e. the steps taken to search for a reasonable accommodation. Even if an employer ultimately cannot accommodate without undue hardship, failure to engage in the procedural aspect of the duty to accommodate is a violation of the Human Rights Code.

 

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More time, more money: New, unique Employment Standards Act leaves proposed by legislature #learnthelatest

There are currently two Bills before the Ontario legislature which would designate new leaves under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). Outside of introducing the new leaves and obligations on employers, these Bills could be the canary in the coalmine for further extensive increases to leave entitlements under the ESA.

 

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Fixed-term fiasco: Employee profits off of termination of term contract #learnthelatest

Canadian employees are presumptively entitled to “reasonable notice” of termination. Although this entitlement can be limited to some extent by contract, an employee will generally be entitled to some advance notice of the end of their employment. If advance notice is not given, then the employer can satisfy this obligation by making a payment equivalent to the earnings the employee would have received over the notice period.

 

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Family status protection for infrequent and unexpected childcare obligations #learnthelatest

A recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decision confirms that family status protection may require employers to accommodate employees’ sporadic or unexpected absences to fulfill childcare obligations.

 

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Employer liable for disclosure of employee confidential medical and employment information #learnthelatest

The law has become increasingly sensitive to the need for the protection of personal information from public disclosure. This is of particular concern for employers, who often possess a wealth of personal information about their employees. With this possession comes responsibilities that can trigger legal liability if not fulfilled.

 

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No room left for doubt: Ontario introduces new workplace harassment obligations #learnthelatest

Workplace harassment has been at the forefront of labour and employment law over the past several years, particularly in relation to the employer’s duty to investigate.  The trend continues with the Ontario Government’s recent introduction of Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2016. Bill […]

 

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New protections for children in the entertainment industry

Recently, the Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015 came into force. The Act outlines protections for child performers in both the live entertainment and recorded entertainment industries.

 

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New limits on criminal records checks

The Ontario Government has passed legislation which imposes new restrictions on criminal record checks. All employers that rely on such checks should take note.

 

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Jumping to conclusions proves costly for employer

A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court is a reminder to employers that dismissal for just cause must be based on solid ground. Relying on vague acts of misconduct will not suffice, and policies must be properly implemented and consistently enforced.

 

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Ontario government ramps up AODA enforcement – Is your organization compliant?

The Ontario Government announced an audit blitz this fall pertaining to compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”). The blitz, which runs from October through to the end of December, is targeting large retailers with 500 or more employees.

 

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Ontario court continues trend of large punitive damages awards

Since 2008, Courts have wrestled with wrongful dismissal claims in which employees make claims of entitlements to damages beyond reasonable notice.  One of these categories is punitive damages.  Punitive damage claims are usually found where there are allegations of bad faith or vindictive treatment.  Traditionally, such awards were handed out rarely, in cases viewed by the Courts as among the worst.  However, recently Courts have been more inclined to hand out these damages, and in increasing numbers.  A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice is a prime example of this trend.

 

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Dial “D” for dismissal: Employee fired after “pocket-dial”

Most people have received (or sent) a “pocket-dial”, which is an unintentional cell phone call that is made by a phone when it is in a person’s pocket. In a recent decision from Alberta, an employee’s pocket-dial revealed that he was performing work for his own personal business on company time, leading to his dismissal for cause.

 

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