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HR law and payroll 2017, what is in store?

At the beginning of a new year, it’s good to wonder what is in store in 2017 for HR law and payroll? Let’s discuss and provide practical steps HR and payroll can take to prepare for these trends and changes.

 

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Termination clauses – The legal debate

It appears that the saga of judicial interpretation and consideration of termination clauses will continue, with predictably unpredictable results. Courts will enforce termination clauses that limit an individual’s entitlement to notice of dismissal, but the onus will be on the employer to show that the clause should be enforced.

 

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Using summary trials in a wrongful dismissal action

The high costs of litigation and the long delays to have a matter heard in court have raised serious concerns with respect to access to justice in Canada. This challenge can be felt particularly acutely with somebody who has recently been wrongfully dismissed from their employment. While the common law may tell us that a terminated employee may be entitled to receive several more months compensation for their termination than what their employer is offering, often the high cost of litigation require the worker to accept less than they deserve. The high costs of litigation and the long delays to have a matter heard in court have raised serious concerns with respect to access to justice in Canada. This challenge can be felt particularly acutely with somebody who has recently been wrongfully dismissed from their employment. While the common law may tell us that a terminated employee may be entitled to receive several more months compensation for their termination than what their employer is offering, often the high cost of litigation require the worker to accept less than they deserve. But what if someone can have their day in court without the time and expense of trial and discoveries? In many wrongful dismissal cases, a summary judgment application may provide just that.

 

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Supreme Court of Canada rules that employees of federally-regulated employers cannot be dismissed without cause

The impact of this decision will likely be very substantial for a number of reasons. By requiring federally-regulated employers to always provide just cause when terminating non-unionized employees, the Court significantly expanded on the common law and statutory protections available to a large part of the working population. As a consequence of this decision, employees of federally-regulated employers will now be awarded a significantly higher degree of employment protection than their colleagues in the private sector, whose rights are largely governed by less protective provincial laws.

 

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Top 4 mistakes US employers make when expanding into Canada

With the hot Toronto tech skills market and the favourable dollar exchange, US employers are increasingly looking north of the border to expand for new business and for new talent.  Here are four common mistakes US employers will want to avoid:

 

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Contracts and employment agreements

All employment relationships in Ontario are deemed to be contractual, whether or not a written contract is in place between the parties. When there is no written contract, the common law (judge-made law) imports a number of obligations into the contract that will bind the employer and the employee.

 

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Fixed-term fiasco: Employee profits off of termination of term contract #learnthelatest

Canadian employees are presumptively entitled to “reasonable notice” of termination. Although this entitlement can be limited to some extent by contract, an employee will generally be entitled to some advance notice of the end of their employment. If advance notice is not given, then the employer can satisfy this obligation by making a payment equivalent to the earnings the employee would have received over the notice period.

 

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Small claims court rules termination clause that violates ESA in future is unenforceable

This decision is another reminder to employers to ensure that termination clauses provide for all entitlements prescribed by the Employment Standards Act in order for them to be considered valid and enforceable. The company in this case should never have carved out its obligation to provide statutory Severance Pay.

 

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Working through the notice period

Let’s begin with a point that comes as a surprise to many employees and employers: there is nothing legally wrong with providing an employee with working notice of their dismissal and requiring that they continue to attend at work and perform their duties throughout the notice period.

 

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Dismissal without just cause: not necessarily “unjust dismissal” under the Canada Labour Code

In Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the Federal Court of Appeal has clarified the impact of the Canada Labour Code on an employer’s ability to dismiss employees without cause.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with changes to employment agreements; consequences of employee comments; and, opinions from non-doctor health and medical professionals.

 

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Common traps that many Ontario employers fall into in the course of termination

This post is focused on common traps that many employers fall into in the course of termination. While it is written from the perspective of employers, each of these points applies equally to employees, since an individual that misunderstands these issues will fail to enforce their legal rights and end up leaving substantial amounts of money on the table when they lose their job.

 

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How much notice of resignation must an employee provide?

It is a commonly held belief that employees must provide two weeks’ notice when they resign from their employment. However, this blanket statement does not necessarily reflect the applicable legal requirements. While two weeks’ notice is appropriate in many cases, some employees may be required to provide less notice, and other employees may be required […]

 

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Avoiding common employment law misconceptions

Small to midsize employers, many HR professionals, and many lawyers proceed based upon completely inaccurate understandings of how employment law works. While there are many examples of this, there are three that I see regularly in my practice: the myth that the severance entitlement in Canada is one month per year, regardless of other factors […]

 

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Employee v. contractor

The distinction between employees and contractors is an issue that will not go away. As I have written about in the past, there seems to be a trend toward giving workers the option of being treated as an employee or a contractor, though the reality is that this impacts nothing other than how they are paid.

 

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