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The curious incident of the sick dog and paid leave in the work day

Earlier in October news outlets reported that a woman in Italy had successfully petitioned her employer to allow her to use two days of paid leave to care for her sick dog, rather than use vacation allotment.

 

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New Brunswick’s Human Rights Act: Amendments proposed

On March 15, 2017, Bill 51, An Act to Amend the Human Rights Act, received first reading in the New Brunswick legislature, and second reading the next day. The goal of the changes is to modernize the legislation and increase its efficiency. Indeed, this has been the first extensive review of the legislation in 25 years. These changes come on the 50th anniversary of the Human Rights Act. The ultimate goal of the review was to evolve with society and ensure that values are protected. Bill 51 aims to do just this.

 

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Disability and termination under the Human Rights Code

Under the Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code), an employee cannot be terminated due to a disability. If the Human Rights Tribunal finds that the termination was based in part or in whole on a disability, this may be considered a breach of the Code. The matter was addressed in one of the first Tribunal decisions of 2017, Ben Saad v. 1544982 Ontario Inc.

 

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Medical documentation request after employee illness

Is an employer’s request for medical documentation after an employee’s illness in keeping with the Human Rights Code (“Code”)? The following case examines whether or not it is a breach of the Code for an employer to request medical documentation as a condition of returning an employee to work.

 

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To defer or not to defer a human rights application: What are the relevant questions?

Where the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario finds there is a separate proceeding that may involve similar facts, the Tribunal has discretion to defer consideration of an application until the proceeding has been completed. Such was the question, whether or not to defer the application in the recent interim order in West v.Yogen Fruz Canada Inc.

 

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Drug testing in the workplace -An update

Nobody likes tests. I remember school days when pop quizzes always meant wondering if you remembered everything, or whether what the teacher taught that day you were sick would be on the questions she asked. In today’s workplace, tests are still looked upon as something you wish you could just skip, or avoid altogether. This is especially the case with random drug testing in the workplace.

 

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The duty to accommodate revisited: H.T. v. ES Holdings Inc. o/a Country Herbs

The duty to accommodate presents itself to employers in many forms. While the most common accommodation involves a disability, often there are other grounds for accommodation that an employer must address as illustrated in H.T. v. ES Holdings Inc. o/a Country Herbs.

 

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Negotiating BYOD cell phones at termination

You bring the employee into the boardroom, have an awkward 5 minute discussion about restructuring and the elimination of her role, thank her for her years of service, hand her the termination package with the various settlement package details, request that she returns all company property and offer to help her pack her personal items.

Then, she asks about her cell phone.  Can she keep the phone?  Can she keep the phone number? 

 

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My former employee left behind some personal property. What can I do with it?

Employees occasionally leave behind personal property following termination of employment. Whether it is discovered immediately or long after the employee has departed, many Alberta employers would be surprised to learn that they have certain obligations to that former employee with respect to the treatment of the personal property.

 

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Maciel vs. Fashion Coiffures: pregnancy and employer’s continued obligation under the “Code”

The applicant alleged that she was terminated when on her first day of work she disclosed to her manager, Ms. Cinzia Conforti, that she was pregnant. In contrast, the respondents attributed her termination to the applicant’s alleged request to work part-time, although she had been newly hired for a full-time position.

 

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Warming up for work

A friend recently mentioned that his workplace was implementing a warm-up/stretching requirement at the beginning of shift. It appeared that the program was being met with some raised eyebrows and even some verbal resistance from employees. The workplace was one of physical labour and so, once you get past the novelty of the idea, common sense suggests this may be a good idea.

 

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Sex based discrimination and poisoned work environment

Does an employee have to be “sexually” harassed in order for there to be a breach of the Human Rights Code? This issue was determined in a recent decision from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

 

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Family status under the Code: Recent developments

The seminal cases dealing with discrimination based on family status more often than not address the issue of caregiving. In the recent case, Knox-Heldmann v. 1818224 Ontario Limited o/a Country Style Donut, the Tribunal demonstrates that discrimination based on family status is not restricted to caregiving.

 

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2016 – Looking forward, looking back

As the first blog post of the year, I thought it apt to first wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and second, to take the opportunity to take a quick look back and a long look forward at what might be coming down the road this year in human resources policy.

 

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To IME or not to IME, this is the question

In the recent decision, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (“OHRT”) addressed the issue of when it would be reasonable for an employer to request an Independent Medical Exam (“IME”) from an employee during the accommodation process. The OHRT ruled that an employer request for an IME will be justified when it was “reasonable” in the circumstances of creating an individualized accommodation plan.

 

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