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Top 10 employment law developments in 2017

In 2017, the provincial legislature and Ontario judges continued to change Ontario’s employment laws. These changes resulted in higher payroll costs and a more regulated workplace. This blog briefly identifies 10 employment law developments from the past year.

 

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Employers beware: Punitive damages for improper just cause allegations

Two recent Small Claims Court cases demonstrate the courts’ willingness to sanction employers for improper just cause allegations. These cases highlight the fact that employers need to be cautious in asserting just cause.

 

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Reinstatement of employment at the Human Rights Tribunal

Reinstatement is the practice of re-installing an employee to his/her position as it existed prior to termination, or to the fullest extent possible, which may include the preservation of their pre-existing seniority, pension and other benefits.

 

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Short service employee gets four months’ pay in lieu of reasonable notice

Some employers erroneously believe that there is a “rule of thumb” in the common law that employees are entitled to a month of notice per year of service. The Ontario Court of Appeal has held that there is no such rule, and that determinations of reasonable notice must be based on an assessment of all relevant factors.

 

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The official word on unofficial bonus policies

On September 25, 2017, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision Fulmer v. Nordstrong Equipment Limited, 2017 ONSC 5529 (“Nordstrong”), where the Court dealt with a wrongful termination case, and issued a noteworthy determination on an employee’s bonus entitlements.

 

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Post-termination bonus entitlement

Bonus entitlement is always a juicy topic. In September the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a decision that shed some light on the issue of how entitlement to a bonus will be treated where an employer has no formal bonus policy, but a consistent past practice.

 

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Bad faith dismissals: is medical evidence required to prove damages?

The question of whether medical evidence is required to prove damages in bad faith dismissals is one that courts across Canada have struggled with for some time.  Welcome guidance was provided by the Supreme Court of Canada this past summer.

 

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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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SCC upholds dismissal of employee for failing to disclose cocaine use in violation of no free accident rule

The no free accident rule is designed to encourage safety by encouraging employees with substance abuse problems to come forward and obtain treatment before their problems compromise safety. In Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp., 2017 SCC 30, the Supreme Court of Canada recently reaffirmed the two-part test for discrimination in the workplace. Centered on the termination of […]

 

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What happens if an employer fails to provide a timely Record of Employment (“ROE”) for departing employees?

Employers must issue the ROE within five days after the employee’s last day of work, regardless of the reason why the employee left (i.e. termination, resignation, etc.).

 

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Pregnant temporary worker files human rights complaint after termination

Many employers in Canada use temporary workers supplied by employment agencies so that they don’t have to have full time employees and the obligations associated with full time staff such as severance, benefit and other monetary entitlements.

 

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Is working notice appropriate while an employee is medically incapable of working?

In the recent decision of McLeod v. 127448 Ontario Inc. the Court (once again) answered whether or not a Plaintiff, who was incapable of working when he received notice of termination, was entitled to damages representing a salary which he would have earned had he worked during his notice period.

 

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Clock on limitation period for wrongful dismissal claim starts on day of notice – not last day worked

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice confirms that the limitation period in respect of a wrongful dismissal claim commences on the day that the employee is provided notice of the termination, not on the last day the employee works.

 

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Le délai de prescription d’une action pour congédiement injustifié court à compter du jour du préavis – et non à compter du dernier jour de travail

Dans une récente décision, la Cour supérieure de justice de l’Ontario confirme que le délai de prescription d’une action pour congédiement injustifié court à compter du jour où l’employé reçoit le préavis de congédiement, et non à compter de son dernier jour de travail.

 

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Dependent contractor receives 12 months pay in lieu of notice

The recent Supreme Court decision of Glimhagen v. GWR Resources Inc., 2017 BCSC 761, illustrates how an independent contractor can become a dependent contractor – an intermediate category on the spectrum between employee and independent contractor.

 

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