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ontario employment standards act

Ontario Court of Appeal enforces simple probation clause

Employers generally owe their employees common law reasonable notice upon termination without cause. However, as shown in a recent Ontario Court of Appeal case, Nagribianko v. Select Wine Merchants Ltd, if the parties agree to a probation period in an employment contract, the right to common law reasonable notice can be ousted if the employee is terminated within the probationary period.


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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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Illegal? Exploitative? The truth on unpaid internships

With university and college students now finished final exams and looking for summer work, it seems fitting that the latest controversy under the spotlight in the news is that of unpaid internships.


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How can employers make legitimate deductions from an employees pay under the Ontario Employment Standards Act?

A situation that arises all the time is whether an employer can deduct the full amount of a loan, an overpayment, the cost of faulty work, cash shortages or stolen goods or the costs of their uniforms. The issue of employer deductions is governed by section 13 of the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) and a clear understanding of the rules will avoid disputes and potential claims by the employee to the Ministry of Labour, Employment Standards Branch.


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What’s wrong with this picture? Settlement excludes amount of vacation pay owing

In Ontario, employers owe vacation pay on employee wages. Wages are defined in section 1 of the Employment Standards Act to include “any payment required to be made by an employer to an employee.” Here is where it gets tricky. In Ontario, the employment standards may require two separate types of payments to an employee who is terminated without cause.


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Tribunal awards $35,000 to fired pregnant employee

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal recently awarded a woman $35,000 after her employer fired her when she revealed on her first day of work that she was four months pregnant. (The award covered $20,000 in lost wages and benefits, and $15,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.) In addition to the damage award, given the overwhelming number of women working for the employer, the tribunal ordered the company to implement and distribute a written policy on the accommodation of pregnancy to ensure future compliance.


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Jail for lying in a civil action?

Clearly, if a court finds that one party has been dishonest, it will have serious negative repercussions with respect to their chances of success. It can also result in a cost award against them. The question for today, however, is whether it is appropriate to also find parties who lie during the litigation process in contempt, and if so, what the appropriate penalty should be.


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Providing reference letters: should you or shouldn’t you – or does it make a difference? Part II

In the vast majority of cases, there is absolutely no reason for an employer not to provide a positive letter of reference for a dismissed employee. As discussed below, this conclusion is based upon two general points:

1) There is little or no risk in providing an honest, good faith reference;
2) Organizations can benefit financially if a dismissed employee finds new employment quickly.


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Introducing guest blogger Stuart Rudner

It’s a pleasure to welcome Stuart Rudner as a guest blogger. He will be blogging about human resources, employment and labour law issues.


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Upcoming changes to how temporary help agencies will operate in Ontario

On November 6, 2009, amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) will come into force. Temporary help agencies will have new responsibilities, and temporary help assignment employees will have new rights. The new requirements only cover assignment employees working for agencies but not employees who work for the agency and are not sent out on assignments with clients.


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