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Union Relations

Father fired for seeking parental leave awarded $62,000 in damages

In Ontario, as a new parent, you are entitled to take unpaid time off work for up to 37 weeks to take care of your newborn child (i.e., parental leave). This right applies to both parents, and the employer is legally required to provide you with your old job at the end of the leave. The employer is also not permitted to retaliate, or punish you in any way, for taking the time off to spend with your family. Unfortunately employers often consciously violate these rights and returning employees frequently find that either they no longer have a job, or that the job responsibilities or pay have changed.

 

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Unionized workers hiring their own lawyers: 3 issues

I often receive requests for consultations from unionized workers dissatisfied with their employer, their union or both. Frequently, this dissatisfaction arises out of the worker having a grievance with the company, but he or she feels that they are not receiving proper representation from their union. Before going ahead and hiring a lawyer outside of their union for advocacy, there are 3 challenges that people in this position should know.

 

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Family Day February 20: Which provinces have a day off with pay?

In Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan, Family Day is recognized as a public (statutory) holiday and employees get the day off with pay, if eligible. Each year, these provinces celebrate Family Day on the third Monday in February. In 2017, Monday, February 20 is Family Day.

 

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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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Wrongful dismissal update: More kinds of damages being ordered

Once upon a time, employees did not sign employment contracts with termination clauses and employment lawyers fought over the appropriate “reasonable” notice period. In 2017, however, employees now claim in addition to wrongful dismissal damages, human rights damages, moral or Wallace damages, punitive damages, and damages for the intentional infliction of mental stress.

 

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Family Day in British Columbia, February 13

In British Columbia, Family Day is a statutory (public) holiday that is celebrated the second Monday in February each year. On Monday, February 13, 2017, British Columbians will be celebrating their fifth Family Day.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Whether an employee may deduct the cost of a basic cellular service plan; just cause to fire an employee for forging signatures on sick notes; and employer violation of health and safety legislation after failing to take precautions after employee complaint.

 

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Guide to recent noise regulation released

Noise is a serious health hazard, and if worker exposure is not eliminated or controlled, it can cause permanent hearing loss, physical and psychological stress, reduced productivity, and significant interference with communication causing further accidents and injuries. The Ontario Ministry of Labour has released a revised noise guideline in December 2016 to accompany Ontario Regulation 381/15. Regulation 381/15, effective July 1, 2016, sets out requirements for noise protection in all workplaces in the province.

 

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Despite settlement breach, an award of compensation not warranted

Although the Tribunal found there to be a contravention of settlement, it deemed that the delay in receiving the monies was relatively minor, and therefore an award of compensation was not warranted.

 

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Dealing with marijuana in the workplace

I am increasingly being asked to speak about this subject at HR conferences, as employers are concerned about the practical implications of medical marijuana and how employees using it should be treated. The issue of marijuana in the workplace has generated a lot of attention, but what have our courts, arbitrators and tribunals said about it? A review of decisions addressing dismissal for workplace usage or possession of marijuana shows an inconsistent treatment which is consistent with the early stages that we are in.

 

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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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Protecting employees from social media harassment

It is well known that employees have certain legal obligations to their employer with respect to the content of their social media profiles. An arbitrator recently confirmed that employers also need to be careful about the content of their social media pages as it relates to their employees.

 

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Additional employer obligations? Domestic and sexual violence

As of the writing of this blog, Bill 26 has passed second reading and is before the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly for consultation and, so it remains to be seen if the above changes will come into force. That said, with the recent legislative attention on protecting employees with respect to sexual harassment and violence, it is likely that employers may soon need to revisit their policies and programs to account for domestic and sexual violence.

 

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Why is domestic violence more often becoming a workplace responsibility?

domestic-violence

It is understood that domestic violence has been known to effect employees at work in a number of ways; a recent study shows that the problem is widespread.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: A case that addresses the validity of a termination of employment provision; Consumer Price Index (December 2016); and the release of revised noise guideline “A Guide to the Noise Regulation (O. Reg. 381/15) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act”.

 

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