termination of employment
Employees are entitled to reasonable notice upon termination of their employment. However, a termination clause contained in an employment contract may oust the employer’s obligation to provide reasonable notice, so long as the termination clause actually limits the employee’s entitlement to notice, without violating employment standards.
In a recent Ontario Superior Court decision it was held that an employer’s decision to request a criminal background check after employment had commenced was lawful under the applicable 12–month fixed term contract and the employee was not entitled to damages when her employment was terminated after she refused to consent to the background check.
Interestingly, the events following termination of employment do not affect an employee’s entitlement to notice. This includes the situation where an employee is terminated and shortly thereafter becomes ill or disabled. Our courts have dealt with this situation by suggesting a longer notice period may be warranted because the employee may find it more difficult to find alternate employment.
The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: a case where an employer’s appeal to not pay unpaid wages and termination pay was somewhat successful; a matter where an arbitrator issued very different decisions when it came to two employees who grieved their terminations; and two cases that address employee entitlement to damages in lieu of a bonus on termination.
In a recent matter heard before the Human Rights Tribunal of Alberta (the Tribunal), it was decided that an employer discriminated against its employee in the course of her employment, on the ground of gender, in both sexual harassment and pregnancy. Such action is contrary to the Alberta Human Rights Act. In coming to its conclusion, the Tribunal had to address whether the employee had established a prima facie case of discrimination. If so, did the employer have a defence to the discrimination?
The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: a case where an employee who was told to, “Get out!” constituted constructive dismissal; a case that addresses the question of whether an employer can restructure the workplace in good faith without constructively dismissing an employee; and a case that looks at whether federally-regulated employees can be terminated without cause.
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?
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.
When hiring a new employee, employers will often characterize the first several months of employment as a “probationary period”, the purpose of which is generally to give both parties an opportunity to assess whether the employee is a good fit for the workplace.
In Meloche c. Structures Lamerain inc., the Court of Appeal recently upheld the Superior Court’s decision to award moral damages, in addition to an award for pay in lieu of notice of termination of employment, to two employees who were dismissed in an abusive manner.