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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.

Silence proves costly: employment agreements and reasonable notice

Employers who fail to incorporate a binding termination clause into their written employment agreements may face significant, and unexpected, liability for severance. This lesson was learned the hard way by Qualified Metal Fabricators (“QML”) in a recent case out of Toronto.

 

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Recent Ministry of Labour blitz finds $140,000 owing to unpaid interns

In our article last month, we discussed the growing attention being paid to the issue of unpaid internships in Ontario. Since then the Ontario Ministry of Labour has released the results of a second workplace blitz designed to assess whether employers in the province are in compliance with the requirements of the Employment Standards Act, 2000,

 

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The unpaid internship: Exploitation or opportunity?

The use of unpaid interns has come under increased media and political scrutiny. Fuelled by horror stories of young interns collapsing under extreme workplace pressures, the issue reached the political agenda. In the summer of 2014, the Ontario Ministry of Labour carried out a highly publicized workplace inspection blitz to determine if intern rights were being respected. Rules governing the appropriate use of interns in Ontario are not new. They had been in place long before the summer 2014 blitz. The rules are set out in section 1(2) of the Employment Standards Act.

 

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Commission sales employees: Two common errors to avoid

In the course of practice, employers have repeatedly made two fundamental mistakes when it comes to provision of commission pay: 1) not properly providing for vacation pay in the calculation of commission payments; and 2) failing to ensure commission payments comply with minimum wage requirements. While employer errors of this kind may be innocent or unintentional, significant financial liability can accrue as a result.

 

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Reasonable notice of resignation: The sequel

In February 2015 we wrote about a case where a former employee was ordered to pay $56,116.11 as a result of his failure to give reasonable notice of resignation. While these so-called wrongful resignation cases are rare, they should give anyone contemplating a hasty exit from their workplace second thoughts. However, as evidenced by a recent decision out of Sudbury, employers too should think twice prior to going to court on the basis of wrongful resignation.

 

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Federal or provincial? Understanding employment and labour law jurisdiction for First Nations employers

One of the most complicated legal questions for employers is whether their operations are regulated by federal or provincial workplace rules. The answer to this question can have broad implications for employers, as the requirements of provincial workplace laws can differ considerably from their federal counterparts. The confusion over jurisdiction stems from Canada’s division of powers between its varying levels of government. While the Constitution Act, 1867 does provide a helpful list of federal and provincial powers it is far from complete.

 

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Terminated: (Summary) judgment day

When the T-1000 came from the future to destroy John Connor, Arnie made sure he was stopped in his tracks. While employers who have to date relied upon prohibitive time and costs to deter ex-employee claims might not face the wrath that Skynet did, given the recent decision of Cloutier v. Q Residential LP Corp (Cloutier), 2015 ONSC 4431 (CanLII), a rethinking of such approaches may be required.

 

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Protecting human rights in the workplace: Lessons for employers

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and the Courts have broken new ground in recent months, both in terms of the reach of anti-discrimination laws and the consequences for those who are found in breach. While the vast majority of employers provide respectful and inclusive workplaces, there are exceptions to this rule and sometimes, despite all […]

 

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Election 2015: An employment lawyer’s view on workplace party promises

The 2015 federal election is now less than a week away. Notable in the race so far (at least from our perspective) has been the prominence of workplace issues, and the corresponding employment law implications. Indeed, one of the most blistering exchanges in the first half of the campaign was with respect to the federal minimum wage.

 

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Genetic testing in the workplace: The new face of discrimination?

The human rights landscape in Canada is shifting and society’s view of which personal characteristics deserve protection has changed dramatically. This is the result, in part, of technological advance. New technologies can offer great economic benefit but can simultaneously expose individuals to new forms of discrimination.

 

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Is one year paid parental leave the new norm?

On Tuesday, August 4 – the same day that Netflix stock hit a record high, the company announced a decision through its blog to provide paid maternity and paternity leave for its employees, up to one year.

 

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Is there now an implied duty to provide reasons for dismissal?

One of the most common complaints employment lawyers hear from workers who have just lost their jobs is that they don’t know why they were fired. Many become even more aggravated when they ask for a reason and are told ‘we don’t have to give you one.’ Unsurprisingly, this type of response can often result in the now ex-employee imagining all kinds of innovative rationales as to explain their dismissal.

 

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The value of a paper shield: why releases for dismissed employees are worth the effort

When dismissing an employee, many employers will request that the departing individual sign a full and final release. Such releases can serve a number of useful functions. That said, they are primarily designed to limit the employer’s exposure to future liability arising from the employment relationship.

 

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Avoiding liability pitfalls when dismissing short service employees

All too often short service employees are overlooked in terms of an employer’s potential liability. After all, such workers can often be dismissed with minimal severance and without great fear of litigation. However…

 

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Resignation regrets: Employee’s failure to provide reasonable notice of departure costs him $56,116.11

When employers think of reasonable notice, they tend to be concerned with whether sufficient notice of dismissal is provided by the employer to the employee. However, an important subject that garners far less attention is what notice a departing employee must provide to the employer.

 

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