A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice touches upon a little discussed area of employment law. Specifically, when does the limitation period clock start running for a claim of wrongful dismissal?
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.
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.
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.
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.
In Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan, Family Day is recognized as a public (statutory) holiday and employees get the day off with pay, if eligible. Each year, these provinces celebrate Family Day on the third Monday in February. In 2017, Monday, February 20 is Family Day.
There are few areas of employment law more in flux (and vexing to lawyers) than that surrounding the enforcement of termination clauses. Part of the frustration is when the Courts provide seemingly contradictory messages on whether termination clauses will be upheld. In January 2017 alone, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released two decisions that appear, on their face, to be somewhat at odds.
Once upon a time, employees did not sign employment contracts with termination clauses and employment lawyers fought over the appropriate “reasonable” notice period. In 2017, however, employees now claim in addition to wrongful dismissal damages, human rights damages, moral or Wallace damages, punitive damages, and damages for the intentional infliction of mental stress.
As an employment lawyer, my consistent advice to employers is, whether you have one employee or one hundred employees, every employer needs to have written employment contracts. There are a number of ways that employment contracts can avoid or reduce liability, but the single most valuable term to include is a termination clause. In a written employment contract, employers have the opportunity to limit what can otherwise be a significant liability to their employees for termination pay, also referred to as severance or reasonable notice of termination.
In 2016, the Court of Appeal of Quebec has clarified that reduced employer prestige cannot, in itself, serve as grounds for constructive dismissal in the specific context of business acquisitions.
En 2016, la Cour d’appel du Québec a conclu que, dans le contexte de l’aliénation d’une entreprise, le fait pour un employé de passer à un employeur moins prestigieux ne peut, en soi, constituer un congédiement déguisé.