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termination of employment

Termination clause and the importance of the word “minimum”

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.

 

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Requesting background checks after employment starts

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.

 

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Termination provisions in employment contracts

As an employee, by law, you are entitled to reasonable notice of termination of your employment. Employers however, often attempt to limit your legal entitlements by explicitly defining your rights upon termination in the employment contract. In the recent case of Singh v Qualified Metal Fabricators Ltd. an Ontario Court adopted an employee–friendly interpretation of these termination provisions, resolving the potential ambiguities in favour of the employee. While employers are allowed to contractually limit employees’ common–law reasonable notice requirements, they are required to do so with complete precision.

 

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Illness or disability during the notice period

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.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

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.

 

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Pregnant employee awarded damages in discrimination claim

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?

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

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.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: A case where an employee was awarded $25,000 in damages because the employment contract contained a termination clause that could not be enforced; a case that addresses whether an employer, in a safety sensitive workplace, can require an employee to undergo a post-incident breathalyzer alcohol test and a urine drug test after a workplace incident; and a CRA document that addresses, where a payment received for work-related travel expenses exceeds the costs incurred, is the excess amount included in income under the Income Tax Act?

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: a case where an employee was given the ultimatum to take a demotion or go; a case where an employee used the OHSA’s work refusal provisions to avoid work assignments he did not like; and an inquiry of whether an employer confers a benefit to an employee by paying premiums with respect to an employee assistance program.

 

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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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Interpretation and enforcement of probationary periods in employment contracts

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.

 

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Top 3 mistakes of executives upon termination

Whether a frontline employee on an hourly wage or a senior salaried executive with extensive and complicated variable compensation, there is an equally shared truth upon termination of employment:  it hurts, and you are now required to negotiate your termination package in the midst of emotional and financial turmoil.

 

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Good faith: Vital at all contractual stages

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.

 

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Loss of stock options: Abusive or oppressive?

The appeal of stock option plans (SOP) is undeniable. Indeed, by linking employees’ personal gains to the growth of the company’s share value, a SOP offers a flexible form of compensation as well as a long-term incentive program.

 

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