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Author Archive - Vey Willetts LLP

Vey Willetts LLP is an Ottawa-based workplace law firm, serving individuals and employers across Eastern Ontario. They recognize that operating a business is complex and maintaining an efficient and legally-compliant workplace is a continuous challenge. The firm helps simplify legal workplace obligations so that employers can focus on what matters: their business. Learn more about Vey Willetts LLP by contacting Andrew Vey, or Paul Willetts or by visiting the firm’s website. Read more.

Tips on the right way to fire employees in Ontario

Each employee dismissal will come with its own unique circumstances and challenges. However, with sufficient planning, organization and sensitivity to the employee, it is possible to get through the dismissal process in respectful fashion, while avoiding the creation of problems that may later come back to haunt the employer.


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Commitment to “comply with statute” not enough to displace common law rights on termination

This decision serves as an important reminder to employers to draft clear and enforceable termination provisions in order to avoid unanticipated liability upon termination. In particular, the Movati decision confirms that should an employer want to limit its obligations upon termination to the minimum entitlements required by statute, it is necessary to include clear words of limitation.


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Limitation periods and statutory severance pay: an update

An interesting decision from the Ontario Superior Court came out last recently concerning when the limitations period begins to run for claims of wrongful dismissal and statutory severance pay. In the case in question, the Court held that the limitation period to claim unpaid statutory severance pay commences as soon as working notice of dismissal is issued to an employee.


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$750,000 in moral and punitive damages awarded to employee left to “twist in the wind”

At almost 100 pages, Galea is a hefty case with many facets not touched upon in the above summary. That said, it marks the latest in a trend of Ontario courts issuing ever higher awards for bad employer conduct in both dismissal and subsequent litigation.


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Amberber v. IBM Canada Limited: Termination clause fails to rebut employee’s entitlement to reasonable notice

A recent summary judgment motion before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Amberber v. IBM Canada Limited, serves as an important reminder to employers of the need to draft contractual termination clauses with a high degree of clarity, or risk unanticipated liability in the event of a without cause dismissal.


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Bad faith dismissals: is medical evidence required to prove damages?

The question of whether medical evidence is required to prove damages in bad faith dismissals is one that courts across Canada have struggled with for some time.  Welcome guidance was provided by the Supreme Court of Canada this past summer.


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“Too pretty to drive a forklift”: Employee awarded considerable damages for workplace harassment and discrimination

This article details the outcome of the case of a woman who suffered repeated workplace harassment and discrimination and her employer’s failure to accommodate her reasonable requests for accommodation of both her pregnancy and disability, as defined under the Human Rights Code.


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Protecting employees from third-party harassment

Even if an employer is not fully successful at the end of the day, the moral boost to workers of knowing that their employer is willing to go to bat to stop harassment in its tracks cannot be overstated.


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Secret recordings in the workplace: A review of legal and practical consequences

While it may be legal to surreptitiously record your own workplace conversations, it is another question altogether as to whether it is a good idea. Canadian courts have acknowledged time and again that trust is at the heart of the employment relationship.


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Ontario court: “Total payroll” must be considered when assessing employer severance pay obligation

The Wissing case is an important decision for Ontario employees and employers alike. It confirms that in assessing an employee’s entitlement to statutory severance pay, the Courts will look at the employer’s total payroll, not just that of its Ontario operations.


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Employer unsuccessful in voiding unfavourable termination clause

A recent decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal dealt with the unusual situation of a defendant employer arguing that its own contractual termination provision was unenforceable and thus the plaintiff employee was entitled to common law reasonable notice. Employees frequently challenge the enforceability of a termination provision to seek common law notice, however, it is rare that an employer would do the same.


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Wrongful dismissal: When does the limitation period clock start running?

A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice touches upon a little discussed area of employment law. Specifically, when does the limitation period clock start running for a claim of wrongful dismissal?


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Business and booze: Dealing with alcohol in the workplace

The relationship between employee alcohol use and work is complex. In Ontario, there are specific legal obligations which apply, and employers must exercise caution. Without a proper understanding of their legal obligations, employers face a minefield which may unwittingly result in unwanted liability.


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Uncertainty with termination clauses continues

There are few areas of employment law more in flux (and vexing to lawyers) than that surrounding the enforcement of termination clauses. Part of the frustration is when the Courts provide seemingly contradictory messages on whether termination clauses will be upheld. In January 2017 alone, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released two decisions that appear, on their face, to be somewhat at odds.


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Email etiquette: What Ontario can learn from France

The capacity to send and receive email on smart phone devices and laptops has fundamentally altered the working lives of many. The notion of the ‘9 to 5’ job has, in many industries, become a thing of the past. Our use of email has profoundly altered how and when we work: it has blurred the distinction between work and home lives; it has altered our view of what is appropriate communication and our expectation of how quickly people should respond. In many ways, it has simultaneously increased the volume of workplace communications and dramatically accelerated the pace at which it occurs.


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