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Notice, Damages and Settlements

Tort of harassment: Employer ordered to pay employee $100,000

This blog discusses a case where a trial judge awarded an employee $100,000 general damages because the employer committed, among other things, the tort of harassment.

 

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Don’t accept a resignation too quickly

Imagine that you find yourself in a heated argument with one of your employees and, having apparently had enough, the employee announced that he is fed up and is done with the company. He then handed you his pass card and stormed out of the office. Can you proceed on the basis that he has resigned?

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: an employment agreement not signed before the first day of work; a volunteer in a coma who willingly assumed risks of the task that caused his injury; and the electronic distribution of T4 information slips.

 

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Constructive dismissal? A question of interpretation

The employee in this case acted hastily, and the employer prevailed against his constructive dismissal claim. However, the employer may have avoided the time and expense of litigation if the bonus agreement had contained clear, concise language.

 

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Former employee successfully sued for defamation for Facebook posts

In recent years, careless, or let’s say, less than sensible comments on social media have gotten countless employees in trouble with their boss. Employees who have used Facebook as a forum for posting threatening language and vile insults about a supervisor or offensive accusations about the company they work for have quickly been shown the door; and arbitrators and labour boards are often prepared to uphold these dismissals.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Ontario’s current and upcoming minimum wage; whether the terms of an employee’s employment contract could be implied because of industry practice; and Ontario Human Rights Commission’s new report, Not on the menu: OHRC inquiry report on sexualized and gender-based dress codes in restaurants.

 

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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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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: An employee who was dismissed for not submitting a doctor’s note in a timely fashion; a firefighter who was reinstated after being dismissed for sexually harassing a co–worker; and human rights claims, made by a former employee, that were barred by terms of a final release received on termination.

 

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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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Fast food firing leads to aggravated damages

A recent BC Supreme Court decision finding a fast food employee was wrongfully dismissed and entitled to aggravated damages has been making newspaper headlines across the country. Ms. Ram had worked as a cook in various Burger King locations for 24 years, and was terminated for just cause after taking home a fish sandwich, fries and a drink at the end of her shift without paying for them. Ms. Ram’s claim was heard over a seven day trial, resulting in a lengthy decision.

 

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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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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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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Canada Revenue Agency form T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment; clarification on the definition of “critical injury” in Regulation 834 under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act; and the issue of corporate structure and employment standards obligations.

 

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Employee’s age justifies wrongful dismissal damages of 24 months

Given the elimination of mandatory retirement years ago, employees are working for longer periods of time and well into their 60s and some into their 70s. Age has always been one of the key Bardal factors, in addition to title, length of service and compensation, that courts use to determine an appropriate common law notice period. In the recent case of Ozorio v. Canadian Hearing Society, 2016 ONSC 5440, Justice O’Marra confirmed that an employee’s age remains a significant factor in determining a common law notice period.

 

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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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