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News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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Recruiting and Hiring

Sexual harassment and Valentine’s Day

Employers need to be aware of the sexual tensions at play in an office, or risk being held liable for failing to address a poisoned work environment. For example, if two co-workers had a relationship and then broke up, and one is now showing revealing photos of the other around the office, this likely creates a poisoned work environment for the depicted employee. Though a manager may be tempted to deem the matter personal, the employer has an obligation to protect the employee.


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Wal-Mart employee awarded $250,000 in moral damages and $500,000 in punitive damages

Wal-Mart was found to have breached its duty as it was trying to find a new position for Ms. Galea. I don’t know if this case will turn out to be an outlier, but in the meantime employers should be very careful when dealing with an employee who is between jobs within the organization.


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Employee awarded 12 months’ pay and $24k in legal fees from employer who undermined her efforts to find new employment

In a recent case titled Ste-Croix v. Al-Hashimi and Jawad Dentistry, following a termination without cause the Ontario Superior Court of Justice canvassed what constitutes “reasonable notice” and the factors the court will consider, what comprises reasonable efforts to mitigate damages, and when a motion for summary judgment is preferable to an unnecessary trial.


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Consideration: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

The facts of this case are extremely unique. We more commonly see the courts using the doctrine of consideration to deny employers the ability to enforce restrictive termination clauses imposed after employees have already commenced working. However, the ruling gives employers hope that, if the circumstances were sufficiently extreme and an employee’s behavior egregious, the courts will apply the doctrine of consideration to an employer’s advantage.


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Discrimination or accommodation?

Accessibility legislation in Ontario requires employers to communicate with employees and the public about the availability of accommodation for job applicants with disabilities in both the recruitment process and when making job offers. There is no duty to pro-actively identify an employee’s or candidate’s disability.


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New Employment Standards in Ontario Poster

As a result of the much blogged about changes made to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), which came into force in the new year, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour drafted a new poster entitled “Employment Standards in Ontario” (the “Poster”) reflecting these changes.


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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recruiting

artificial intelligence

Stories about artificial intelligence (AI) stealing our jobs and robots going rogue have been in our collective consciousness for years. Elon Musk has also sounded the alarm bells’, calling AI the “biggest risk we face as a civilization”. While he may know a few things I don’t, I can’t say that I agree. Always one to embrace technology, I think AI has great potential to be used by businesses in the HR space, such as to make hiring practices more efficient and more fair.


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Ontario Passes Bill 148

On November 22, 2017, the Ontario government passed Bill 148, which includes amendments to the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”), the Labour Relations Act (“LRA”) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). On November 27, 2017, Bill 148 received Royal Assent.


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Workplace organizational behaviour part II: Perception

Behaviour in the workplace is based on people’s perception of it. In this post, let’s examine how one’s perception influences productivity, absenteeism, turnover and job satisfaction.


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Privacy Commissioner of Canada creates draft guidance document outlining inappropriate data practices and no-go zones

On September 28, 2017, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada created a draft guidance document providing clarification on inappropriate data practices, specifically focusing on subsection 5(3) of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). This provision is entitled, “Appropriate purposes”, and states that, “an organization may collect, use or disclose personal information only for purposes that a reasonable person would consider are appropriate in the circumstances”.


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British Columbia Supreme Court rules on reasonable notice when an employee is terminated before their first day of work

In Buchanan v. Introjunction Ltd., 2017 BCSC 1002, the Court considered a case where the employer terminated the plaintiff’s employment before he commenced work. The Court rejected employer’s argument that the probation period clause applied to limit its liability to provide notice of termination of employment.


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Negative employment references

A fear of defamation actions has prompted many employers to shy away from providing references for former employees or if they do provide a reference, it is limited to a “confirmation of employment” letter. Unfortunately, this means that prospective employers don’t get the information they need, which can hamper both employers and employees in their searches.


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Ontario Court of Appeal confirms offer of employment is consideration after an asset sale

This case is a useful reminder that in asset sales, as opposed to share purchases, the purchasing employer is not obligated to hire all the vendor’s employees.


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Best practices for quarterly reporting

Some best practices for quarterly reporting outlined here are focus on the story you want to tell, evolving data and analytics, keep it clean, and tailor the report to the audience.


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“Asking for trouble”: BC Human Rights Tribunal considers whether interview questions crossed the line

The interview process can be a legal minefield for employers. One false step, one inappropriate question can give rise to a human rights complaint alleging that the employer has discriminated against the prospective employee.


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