Employers will often seek to respond to downturns in their business by temporarily reducing head count, with the hope of having those employees return to work when the business improves. This is often referred to as a temporary lay off. Many employers inquire as to their right to temporarily lay off employees, generally in response to financial constraints of the business.
New Liberal Government plans to keep best and brightest and support persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia
The newly elected Liberal government platform states that businesses need workers, and recent graduates and skilled workers need experience. The Liberal government states that it will support young graduates to develop the necessary skills and gain experience in their fields and develop an Accessibility for Nova Scotians with Disabilities Act.
Just like pre-nuptial agreements, employers should contemplate termination when their employment contracts are drafted. A recent case illustrates why it is important to include a legally enforceable termination clause in an employment contract for all employees.
One of the questions at the forefront of many employers’ minds when they are considering terminating an employee without cause is how much it is going to cost. Unless there is a written employment contract with an express termination clause, an employer’s obligation is to provide reasonable notice of termination. Since there is no set formula for determining the appropriate length of the reasonable notice period, employers (or their legal counsel) must estimate what they think the notice period could be, having regard to the employee’s age, length of service, character of employment, the availability of similar employment, and the employee’s skills and training. Often, employers and their legal counsel will use a rough rule of thumb of one month notice per year of service (although the courts have denied that such a rule of thumb exists).
Recently, a Mr. Lube employee tweeted a request for some marijuana to help him get through his shift. This may have gone unnoticed by the media, but it came to the attention of the York Regional Police, who used their Twitter account to respond by asking, “Can we come too?” Presumably, his employers were asking a different question: “Can we fire him?”
I am fortunate in my practice to work with clients in different industries, ranging from healthcare and social services to traditional manufacturing. Although employment laws generally apply to all industries in much the same way, there are usually certain issues that some industries face more than others. This is true of many clients I assist in the retail industry.
Assessing how much notice of termination a particular employee is entitled to is a challenge most employers would like to avoid. As those of you who deal with the issue on a regular basis know, employment standards legislation sets out the minimum amount of notice, but it will almost never be sufficient unless the employee has an enforceable contract that limits them to the statutory amounts. In most cases, the common law will require that an employer provide “reasonable notice”, and though there are many myths, there are no easy ways to determine what is reasonable.
The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with a company that was the author of its own misfortune when insisting on treating an employee as independent contractor; claims of working notice and constructive dismissal; and the reform of the temporary foreign worker program.
Balancing one-year contracts with pregnancy leave – Outcome of Human Rights Board of Inquiry hearing
On June 13, 2013, a Nova Scotia Human Rights Board of Inquiry rendered its decision on the pregnancy related case I discussed last month. Essentially, the case was about a difference of opinion and a clash of wills between two strong-minded individuals. The fact that the employee was pregnant at the time was simply ruled to be a “temporal coincidence”.
The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with the essential elements of an offer of employment letter; the changes regarding health and safety committees, representatives and training for federally regulated workplaces and changes to the online payroll deductions calculator for July 1, 2013.
What happens when an employee subject to one-year contracts requests pregancy leave? The employee in this case had been working for the Community Justice Society in Nova Scotia on a one-year contract basis for two years. She asked for a meeting with the executive director because her contract was ending in a month’s [...]
Those of us that practice employment law understand that our Courts will not hesitate to deem a termination clause in an employment agreement unenforceable if they are provided with a reasonable basis upon which to do so. In recent times, we have seen two noteworthy cases that have dealt with termination clauses and been decided in favour of the employee. Employers and their counsel should be mindful of these cases as they implement employment agreements, if they hope to be able to rely upon them.