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employment agreements

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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Silence proves costly: employment agreements and reasonable notice

Employers who fail to incorporate a binding termination clause into their written employment agreements may face significant, and unexpected, liability for severance. This lesson was learned the hard way by Qualified Metal Fabricators (“QML”) in a recent case out of Toronto.

 

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Sacking your co-founder

For true entrepreneurs, there is nothing more exhilarating and satisfying than launching your own baby into the economy, nurturing it, and watching it flourish with co-founders, friends, employees and supporters along the way.

Satisfying, that is, until your co-founder starts to slack, develop a different vision, or simply become an energy suck that is destroying the business.  Once the honeymoon start-up phase is over, founders either thrive in the get-down-to-business phase, or get itchy for the next creative start up adventure.  Here are some big-picture tips for handling the post-honeymoon phase.

 

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Severance limiting clauses CAN work especially in employment agreements

A recent Ontario Superior Court decision reinforces some basic principles previously discussed on this Blog (and unfortunately often missed or forgotten by employers). In Asgari v 975866 Ontario Ltd, a motion for summary judgment was decided in the Plaintiff’s favour. One issue was whether a clause, purporting to limit the Plaintiff’s pay in lieu of notice entitlements to the statutory minimum, was enforceable.

 

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Employment contract law changed in 2015. Have you reviewed yours?

Recent court decisions changed how the law applies to employment contracts, most importantly terminations, but also off-duty conduct, consideration and restrictive covenants. Important lessons from the changes are that employers need to review their employment contracts, you can update them or change their terms while complying with the law, and failing to do so can damage your organization’s finances and reputation.

 

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Agreement to sign an agreement

The issue of whether termination clauses contained within employment agreements will be enforceable is one that routinely arises. As I have discussed on many occasions, many employers weaken their legal position by entering into a verbal agreement, or presenting an “offer letter”, and then subsequently asking their new employee to sign a far more detailed employment agreement that is designed solely for the benefit of the employer.

 

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Danger ahead: Beware of changes to employment agreements

To appreciate the dangers of varying employment terms, we must start with the foundations of contract law. First, a contract requires that each party receive a benefit (consideration). Second, if the parties agree to a variation of contract, but consideration is not received by both parties, Courts will consider the new contract an “unenforceable unilateral variation”. Third…

 

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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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Are your employment contracts enforceable?

2014 Ontario Employment Law Conference

Many employers prepare written employment agreements that limit employee entitlements on termination of employment. In the absence of an enforceable termination provision, employees are entitled to notice of termination at common law, or pay in lieu thereof.

 

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Appeal court finds compensation for loss during notice period trumps shareholders’ agreement

A recent decision by the British Columbia Court of Appeal highlights the importance of carefully crafting written employment agreements whenever shares are issued as part of employee compensation.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with extended health care plan payments, the review of existing employment contracts and the possible taxable benefit of employer-provided cars.

 

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The enforceability of termination provisions within contracts of employment

contract

The employment relationship is a contractual one whether or not a contract of employment was signed. Contracts can be express or implied contracts, i.e., you agree to work and I agree to pay you. Verbal bargains are nearly always upheld as long as those implied contracts are governed by particular employment standards and obligations established by the common law.

 

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Failure to use employment agreements properly

A topic that I address often in presentations and with clients is the failure, on the part of the vast majority of employers in Canada, to use employment agreements properly (if at all). As I have said many times, policies and agreements are the easiest ways for employers to establish the rights and obligations of the parties and avoid having them imposed by common law or other principles.

 

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Top ten employment law myths and mistakes in employment contracts

I recently attended the Law Society’s annual Employment Law Summit, which is always filled with top-notch employment lawyers providing valuable insight and practical advice on issues relating to employment law and human resources. Many of the discussions touched upon issues relating to the use of employment agreements, including termination clauses. The comments caused me to consider my own experiences in dealing with…

 

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