Supreme Court of Canada
Recently, a Mr. Lube employee tweeted a request for some marijuana to help him get through his shift. This may have gone unnoticed by the media, but it came to the attention of the York Regional Police, who used their Twitter account to respond by asking, “Can we come too?” Presumably, his employers were asking a different question: “Can we fire him?”
Special damages in wrongful dismissal cases: The Appeal and Trial Courts are like two ships passing in the night
Wrongful dismissal occurs when an employer does not provide an employee with adequate notice of termination. Wrongful dismissal cases result in two main types of damages:
The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with the legality of random alcohol testing, the termination of a sexual harasser and the importance of having an effective disability management program.
Drug and alcohol testing in the workplace, particularly randomized testing, has always been a grey area for employers. When is such testing permissible? When is it deemed reasonable in light of safety concerns? The Supreme Court of Canada has answered some of these questions after their long-awaited decision regarding randomized drug and alcohol testing in the case of Irving Pulp and Paper.
Last year, the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench concluded that amendments to the Essential Services Act impeded workers from exercising their fundamental freedom of association, which includes the right to associate and organize, the right to bargain collectively, and the right to strike. Relying on a decision of the International Labour Organization, the Court found that the Act completely and utterly violated section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court gave the government one year to amend the legislation, but instead, it appealed the ruling. On April 26, 2013, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal upheld amendments to the Essential Services Act and ruled that whether or not the Charter protects a right to strike is a matter that should be left to the Supreme Court of Canada to decide.
As predicted, there was an application for leave to appeal Air Canada’s mandatory retirement case to the Supreme Court of Canada; however, without providing any reasons, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the application and refused to hear the matter.
Since the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Honda v. Keays, dismissed employees have increasingly sought bad faith damages in severance negotiations and wrongful dismissal actions. A key issue in these claims is whether the employer’s conduct was sufficiently egregious to justify these damages. The courts are clear that not every perceived offence or instance of misconduct will give rise to a finding of bad faith.
In AMEC Americas Limited v. MacWilliams, 2012 NBCA 46, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal held that an employer’s defence that an employee failed to mitigate his damages by refusing to accept its settlement offers had no merit. As leave to appeal the decision was recently refused by the Supreme Court of Canada, the current answer to our question (at least in New Brunswick) is “no”.
It has been a year since the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v. Figliola (“Figliola”). In Figliola, the Supreme Court stated that human rights complaints should not be relitigated before a human rights tribunal when they have already been litigated before another tribunal, such as the workers’ compensation board (“WSIB”), or a labour arbitration tribunal.
Last week, Alison J. Bird wrote for the First Reference Talks blog about the R. v. Cole case, involving a high school teacher who had kept photos of a naked, underage student on his work computer. In the several days, there have been a flurry of news stories calling attention to privacy boundaries employees can expect regarding work-licensed technology.
The Supreme Court of Canada released its much-awaited decision in R. v. Cole, 2012 SCC 53, on October 19. This criminal law case is notable for employers because it provides commentary on an employee’s right to privacy when using an employer-supplied laptop.
Expect application for leave to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada in Air Canada mandatory retirement case
Since the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the mandatory retirement practice for Air Canada pilots, some developments have taken place. First, in the primary Vilven and Kelly case, there will likely be an application filed to obtain leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the constitutionality of section 15(1)(c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
On April 25, 2012, the Federal government announced that it will appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal decision that struck down Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional, specifically the Criminal Code provisions prohibiting “keeping or using a common bawdy house” and the “living off the avails of prostitution” provision…