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employment contracts

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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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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2014 Employment law round up – Top five cases/trends/stories

With 2015 just around the corner, it is useful to reflect on the year that has just past and is coming to a close. 2014 had a number of significant employment law developments and below we have…

 

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Ontario Employment Law Conference wrap-up: We learned the latest!

Last Tuesday, over 100 businesses from across Ontario joined us and the employment law team from Stringer LLP to discuss pressing employment issues like avoiding occupational health and safety penalties, accommodating employees’ family status, getting ready for the new Employment Standard, using employment contracts to protect your business, and the perils of employee benefits.

 

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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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Contracting out of the Ontario Employment Standards Act

The Employment Standards Act in Ontario is legislation designed to protect the rights of all workers in the province. Under section 3, the Act specifies that it applied to any employee in the Province of Ontario, or any employee who is performing work outside of Ontario that is “…continuance of work performed in Ontario.” The Act contains numerous protections for Ontario employees, such as limiting the maximum hours of work in a week, providing an entitlement to overtime pay, and creating entitlements such as parental leave, vacation and personal leave. The Act also provides for the employee’s rights in the event of a termination of employment. Many employers have perceived these entitlements as onerous in some circumstances. In order to attempt to avoid such payments, or other obligations under the Act, employers have sought to have employees sign contracts containing provisions which purport to surrender the employee’s rights under the Act. This is generally referred to as “contracting out”.

 

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Jurisdictional disputes in employment contracts

In this electronic age, many employers will make offers of employment via email. When the offer is being made to an individual in another province or country, an issue may arise as to what jurisdiction will govern when a dispute arises.

 

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