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The fork in the road: after-acquired cause for dismissal

In Canada, employers can dismiss employees in one of two ways: with cause or without cause. If an employer dismisses an employee without cause, and then later discovers that they had been stealing from the company for years, can they now allege just cause for dismissal?

 

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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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The value of a paper shield: why releases for dismissed employees are worth the effort

When dismissing an employee, many employers will request that the departing individual sign a full and final release. Such releases can serve a number of useful functions. That said, they are primarily designed to limit the employer’s exposure to future liability arising from the employment relationship.

 

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Lessons from the mistakes of others: Reliance on an unenforceable termination clause is costly

A recent judgment of the New Brunswick Court of Appeal has once again affirmed the importance of carefully drafting termination clauses in employment contracts. In this case, the Court upheld a trial judgment that a termination clause which purported to limit the employee’s notice entitlement to 20 days was not enforceable. The Court of Appeal’s […]

 

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Old employment contracts can come back to bite you – or help you

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court considered the termination of an employee of Open Text Corporation who had been working for Open Text and its predecessor corporations for 17 years. There was no agreement governing his employment with the first company and it received little updating through two more acquisitions. When he was terminated, he complained that the original contract was void due to the transitions and sued for common law notice…

 

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How much termination notice do you give a 70 year old?

Assessing how much notice of termination a particular employee is entitled to is a challenge most employers would like to avoid. As those of you who deal with the issue on a regular basis know, employment standards legislation sets out the minimum amount of notice, but it will almost never be sufficient unless the employee has an enforceable contract that limits them to the statutory amounts. In most cases, the common law will require that an employer provide “reasonable notice”, and though there are many myths, there are no easy ways to determine what is reasonable.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with breach of confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements; how an employer was held liable despite the employee having suffered no discrimination; and how individuals can now delay receiving their Old Age Security pension plan.

 

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Employee’s unsuccessful action for constructive dismissal constitutes a resignation

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal recently upheld a trial decision that by commencing an action for constructive dismissal, an employee had elected to terminate his employment relationship. In Potter v New Brunswick (Legal Aid Services Commission), 2013 NBCA 27, the appellant, Potter, appealed his dismissal of an action for constructive dismissal. The Court of Appeal found no reversible error and dismissed the appeal.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

Connecting to co-workers and employer on social media Our last HRinfodesk poll asked readers if they connect with their boss or any of their co-workers on any social media platform. According to poll results, the majority said they don’t or never will. New mandatory health and safety workplace poster Under the Ontario Occupational Health and […]

 

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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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Tense union negotiations the new norm?

It’s easy to see that that role of workers’ unions is changing, and unions no longer have the respect or power they once had. A couple of recent events in Ontario make that increasingly clear. Is this just how union relations work in the globalized and unsettled economy? Are unionized workers’ demands too great for these austere times?

 

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Written agreements in the employment relationship are valuable

I have written in this blog and elsewhere, of the value in written employment contracts, written offers of employment, and written employment policies. Much like the break up of a marriage, the parties to the dissolution of the employment relationship often have widely divergent recollections of the understanding of the terms of the relationship when they were entered into. In particular,…

 

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