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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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Wood vs. Oudin: Clarity in termination provisions

In Wood v Fred Deeley Imports Ltd., the Ontario Court of Appeal seemed to make a definitive statement about the interpretation of termination provisions in employment agreements: a court will invalidate them when they contain actual or technical deficiencies. However, the same Court’s decision last year in Oudin v Centre Francophone de Toronto seemed to reach a different conclusion: the court will apply contractual certainty to give effect to the parties’ intentions. Can the two be reconciled? Closer inspection reveals that each decision is specific to the employment agreements in each.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Employers seeking to change an employee’s terms and conditions of employment; OHRC guidelines on medical information and disability-related accommodation; CRA Income Tax Folio S4-F2-C2, Business Use of Home Expenses.

 

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Managing toxic employees in the workplace

A workplace is a team environment. It functions best when the atmosphere is positive. One of the biggest concerns for employers, in Ontario and elsewhere, is how to address and manage the presence of toxic employees in the workplace. In a recent report from the Harvard Business School, “toxic worker” was defined as someone who “engages in behaviour that is harmful to an organization, including either its property or people.”

 

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Illness or disability during the notice period

Interestingly, the events following termination of employment do not affect an employee’s entitlement to notice. This includes the situation where an employee is terminated and shortly thereafter becomes ill or disabled. Our courts have dealt with this situation by suggesting a longer notice period may be warranted because the employee may find it more difficult to find alternate employment.

 

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Employment standards: Risks of paying employees “under the table”

Before hiring your first employee, an employer needs to educate itself on the various requirements under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (and other legislation such as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (the “WSIA”) and Occupational Health and Safety Act­) and the nuances associated with termination of an employee’s employment. Although there will be some upfront costs associated with record keeping, registering for insurance pursuant to the WSIA and learning about employment legislation, the benefits of such proactivity will pay off in the future when issues inevitably arise, even if you only have one or two employees.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: employment agreements that are signed after employees start work; how employers can prepare for the CPP expansion; Ontario Ministry of Labour’s interim report on the current labour and employment law framework.

 

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More bad news for fixed term contracts

A few months ago we commented on a case where a fixed term contract caused an employer significant liability because it did not allow for early termination prior to the end of the fixed term. The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released a decision, Howard v. Benson Group Inc., which provides a further warning about the use of fixed term contracts.

 

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Ontario Court of Appeal suggest deference to trial judge in interpretation of termination clause

The Ontario Court of Appeal weighed in, to some extent, on the hot issue of enforceability of termination clauses in a recent decision. In this case, the clause at issue was written in French. The Applicant argued that the Motion Judge’s interpretation of the clause only referred to “notice” and not “severance” and therefore the termination clause was an unlawful attempt to contract out of the Employment Standards Act because it did not expressly provide for the payment of severance and there are a number of cases suggesting such clauses are void.

 

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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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Reasonable notice required of both employers and employees – Superior Court of Ontario

In the recent decision of Gagnon & Associates Inc. the Court reminds us that both employers and employees have the obligation to provide reasonable notice of intention to terminate the employment relationship.

 

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Interpretation and enforcement of probationary periods in employment contracts

When hiring a new employee, employers will often characterize the first several months of employment as a “probationary period”, the purpose of which is generally to give both parties an opportunity to assess whether the employee is a good fit for the workplace.

 

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Top 3 mistakes of executives upon termination

Whether a frontline employee on an hourly wage or a senior salaried executive with extensive and complicated variable compensation, there is an equally shared truth upon termination of employment:  it hurts, and you are now required to negotiate your termination package in the midst of emotional and financial turmoil.

 

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Frustration of contract

The concept of frustration of contract continues to frustrate employers as we enter the year 2016. Unfortunately, many employers confuse their own frustration with absent employees with frustration at law.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with human rights due diligence; using employee pictures; and, dismissing an employee even before they start working for you.

 

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