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Startup employment contracts

Canadian startups and any company for that matter should have an employment contract for all new hires. An employment contract helps both parties understand the employment relationship, protects the start up in the event of the termination of employees and it can also serve as a useful mechanism to attract good employees.

 

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Non-competition clauses – Language should be clear and unambiguous

Employers should avoid using language that may introduce ambiguity and is broader than necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate interest. Courts will not fix a clause that they find to be ambiguous or overreaching

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with the interpretation and enforceability of termination clauses, changes and improvements to services, benefits and credits for Canadians for the new tax filing season and improved ways for businesses to meet their reporting obligations.

 

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Consideration: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

The facts of this case are extremely unique. We more commonly see the courts using the doctrine of consideration to deny employers the ability to enforce restrictive termination clauses imposed after employees have already commenced working. However, the ruling gives employers hope that, if the circumstances were sufficiently extreme and an employee’s behavior egregious, the courts will apply the doctrine of consideration to an employer’s advantage.

 

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Top five cases of importance to Ontario employment law – 2017 edition

2017 has been an incredibly busy year for Ontario employment law practitioners. In addition to the changes to the common law brought about by the decisions considered in this post, one would be foolish to omit any reference to the sweeping changes recently ushered in by the Wynne government as a result of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, S.O. 2017 C.22 (“Bill 148”).

 

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Top 5 mistakes employers make in their contracts

Employment contracts are a useful tool for employers. But often, employers make mistakes when creating their contracts. Here are five of the main mistakes to watch out for.

 

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Online HR resources: Tips for more effective use

Why reinvent the wheel? Drafting employment contracts, policies, termination letters and releases based on a past precedent is often a good place to start. It is usually both time and cost efficient, and for someone unfamiliar with the document, it’s a great learning opportunity. When using a precedent or online resource, here are the top 3 tips to ensure the document is legally enforceable in your workplace.

 

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Why bother with employment contracts?

I had a client recently ask why he would bother going through the cost and efforts of doing up an employment contract, if he was going to have to fight with ex–employees’ lawyers and pay out a package in a without cause situation anyway. Good question.

 

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Employment contracts may need to be amended because of a recent Court of Appeal decision

Bonus plans in employment contracts are a great way to motivate, reward and retain employees. Many of these bonus plans have built–in conditions that must be met before these bonuses are paid out. For example, an employee must be actively employed at the time the bonus is paid. Increasingly, the courts are being asked to determine whether these conditions have to be met and whether a bonus is owing. A recent decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal will come as a surprise to many of you.

 

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Arbitrator upholds just cause termination in part on negative Facebook post

Social media has become entrenched in our society and millions of employees use it on a daily basis. However, employees are warned that making negative comments about their employers on social media can have significant repercussions. Arbitrator Norm Jesin recently upheld a just cause termination, in part, because the Grievor had made negative comments about the employer on Facebook after his employment had been terminated.

 

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Top four tech tips for terminations

As technology continues to overhaul the workplace and drive change, what remains the same is the emotional uncertainty of termination. Neither the employee, nor the person tasked with conducting the termination, enjoy that awkward meeting.

 

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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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Reasonable notice of resignation: The sequel

In February 2015 we wrote about a case where a former employee was ordered to pay $56,116.11 as a result of his failure to give reasonable notice of resignation. While these so-called wrongful resignation cases are rare, they should give anyone contemplating a hasty exit from their workplace second thoughts. However, as evidenced by a recent decision out of Sudbury, employers too should think twice prior to going to court on the basis of wrongful resignation.

 

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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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Top 10 employment law stories of 2015

Seasons change; employment laws change and the last four seasons saw many changes to Ontario’s employment laws. In fact, 2015 will be known as the year the Kathleen Wynne government started implementing its rather ambitious employment law agenda… changes were made to a number of laws including the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the Employment Standards Act, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

 

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