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Home renos and employment agreements: How employers can avoid the money pit

With home repairs, there is risk in DIY. Similarly, employment agreements require the input of an expert. If you’re not an employment lawyer, don’t try this (i.e. drafting or revising an employment agreement) at home.

 

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Federal Budget 2017-18

On March 22, 2017, Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled the Liberal Government’s Federal Budget 2017, Building a Strong Middle Class, which includes various measures affecting payroll, and an abundant amount of measures that would be of interest to employers, including the extension of maternity leave to 18 months, the electronic distribution of T4 information slips, and the elimination of various tax credits.

 

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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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Contract enforceability: Signing the employment contract prior to the start date

When an employee is terminated without cause and offered a package that is very modest, but otherwise compliant with the employment contract, a common first step for his or her lawyer will be to see if the contract can be set aside. If the contract can be declared void, the employee can try to pursue the typically much greater common law damages. There are several grounds upon which courts have set aside either the full contract or at the least, the termination provision. This blog post will focus on the issue of signing the contract prior to the start date.

 

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President Trump’s new travel ban: What you need to know

On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed a new executive order (the “New Order”), implementing a new travel ban. However, unlike the original travel ban (which became effective immediately), the New Order will become effective at 12:01 am EDT, on March 16, 2017. This 10–day delay is intended to provide sufficient time for affected parties (including international airlines and government agencies) to prepare for the ban, in an attempt to avoid the same confusion caused by the original travel ban.

 

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Probationary period clause gets employer into hot water

Including a probationary period clause in an employment contract is not a good idea unless your organization is prepared to assess the suitability of the employee during the probationary period. Failure to do so can result in your organization being ordered to provide a probationary employee with common law reasonable notice of termination. This blog discusses one such case.

 

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The agenda for the 2017 Ontario Employment Law Conference is now available

Join Stringer LLP and First Reference at the Centre for Health & Safety Innovation in Mississauga on June 20, 2017 at the Ontario Employment Law Conference to Learn the Latest® on the following topics from top Ontario employment law experts: Jeremy Schwartz will discuss the increasingly important topic of structuring your work relationships with independent […]

 

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Genetic discrimination provisions in human rights legislation: Will Ontario be the first Canadian jurisdiction?

Canada is on its way to including provisions in human rights legislation that prevents discrimination based on a person’s genetic characteristics. The issue is that a person can experience discrimination and harassment simply because of something that may be—something that has the potential of happening. Employers must be aware that human rights legislation is in the process of evolving to include provisions to prevent this type of discrimination, and this will apply in the workplace as well.

 

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HR practitioners: The new HR mandate

The trend toward chaos and fear not only exists within the context of politics and social issues, it is also a business or an organizational issue. Albeit for entirely different reasons, businesses are nervous and looking for solutions. A survey of Canadian CEOs revealed that they are concerned about many things; herein the top worries are listed.

 

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Fostering a culture of gender diversity through human capital practices

Is your organization using the best human capital practices to harness the value of gender diversity at senior leadership levels, including on boards and executive committees? If you are an HR professional or a senior leader in your organization, use this information to #BeBoldForChange on International Women’s Day 2017! Put gender on your agenda!

 

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Update on Express Entry

As of January 25, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada had issued a total of 53 rounds of Invitations to Apply under Express Entry.

 

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Requesting background checks after employment starts

In a recent Ontario Superior Court decision it was held that an employer’s decision to request a criminal background check after employment had commenced was lawful under the applicable 12–month fixed term contract and the employee was not entitled to damages when her employment was terminated after she refused to consent to the background check.

 

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Employment contract oversight proves costly

As an employment lawyer, my consistent advice to employers is, whether you have one employee or one hundred employees, every employer needs to have written employment contracts. There are a number of ways that employment contracts can avoid or reduce liability, but the single most valuable term to include is a termination clause. In a written employment contract, employers have the opportunity to limit what can otherwise be a significant liability to their employees for termination pay, also referred to as severance or reasonable notice of termination.

 

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Employee awarded $50,000 in punitive damages in wrongful dismissal claim

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently awarded an employee $50,000 in punitive damages in a wrongful dismissal claim because it was “rationally required” to punish the employer for its behaviour toward the employee and to meet “the objectives of retribution, deterrence, and denunciation”.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Employee background checks; employee resignations; and current and upcoming minimum wage.

 

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