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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with constructive dismissal, workplace inspection blitzes and employment references.

 

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Ontario court overturns just cause dismissal and awards over $97,000 in damages

It is acknowledged by the courts that a just cause dismissal in employment law is tantamount to “capital punishment in the criminal justice system.” While just cause dismissal does require that a high threshold first be established, it will, in certain circumstances be an appropriate and necessary response.

 

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Startup employment contracts

Canadian startups and any company for that matter should have an employment contract for all new hires. An employment contract helps both parties understand the employment relationship, protects the start up in the event of the termination of employees and it can also serve as a useful mechanism to attract good employees.

 

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Tips on the right way to fire employees in Ontario

Each employee dismissal will come with its own unique circumstances and challenges. However, with sufficient planning, organization and sensitivity to the employee, it is possible to get through the dismissal process in respectful fashion, while avoiding the creation of problems that may later come back to haunt the employer.

 

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26 is the new 24 (Reasonable Notice)

The result of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s January 2016 decision of Keenan v. Canac Kitchens Ltd., which established, at this court level, for the first time that 26 months was reasonable notice in exceptional circumstances, thus confirming to the lower courts that there is no 24-month cap on notice.

 

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Commitment to “comply with statute” not enough to displace common law rights on termination

This decision serves as an important reminder to employers to draft clear and enforceable termination provisions in order to avoid unanticipated liability upon termination. In particular, the Movati decision confirms that should an employer want to limit its obligations upon termination to the minimum entitlements required by statute, it is necessary to include clear words of limitation.

 

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Wal-Mart employee awarded $250,000 in moral damages and $500,000 in punitive damages

Wal-Mart was found to have breached its duty as it was trying to find a new position for Ms. Galea. I don’t know if this case will turn out to be an outlier, but in the meantime employers should be very careful when dealing with an employee who is between jobs within the organization.

 

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Employee awarded 12 months’ pay and $24k in legal fees from employer who undermined her efforts to find new employment

In a recent case titled Ste-Croix v. Al-Hashimi and Jawad Dentistry, following a termination without cause the Ontario Superior Court of Justice canvassed what constitutes “reasonable notice” and the factors the court will consider, what comprises reasonable efforts to mitigate damages, and when a motion for summary judgment is preferable to an unnecessary trial.

 

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BC Supreme Court awards aggravated damages in the absence of medical evidence

The decisions in Ensign and Karmel demonstrate the risk of liability for failing to be honest and forthright in the manner of termination of an employee’s employment. Employers would be well-advised to be conservative in assessing whether they have cause, assessing reasonable notice periods, carrying out the termination and avoiding bad faith and/or misrepresentation.

 

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Entitlement to bonus after dismissal: The debate continues

Employers would be wise to review their current agreements and policies with respect to bonuses and ensure that any eligibility requirements upon termination are clearly set out and have been expressly communicated to employees.

 

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New Employment Standards in Ontario Poster

As a result of the much blogged about changes made to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), which came into force in the new year, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour drafted a new poster entitled “Employment Standards in Ontario” (the “Poster”) reflecting these changes.

 

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Divisional court finds employer demonstrated bad faith and acted as “puppeteer” in wrongful termination case of fixed-term independent contractor

The recent case of Radikov v. Premier Project Consultants Ltd et al. is a cautionary tale of the importance of good faith in consulting contracts after the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed Premier’s appeal, finding Premier had acted as a “puppeteer” by keeping Mr. Radikov at its “beck and call” before terminating his fixed term contract two days before completion and refusing to pay the outstanding fixed-term contract price.

 

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Employee’s secret recording of meetings with management contributes to finding of just cause for dismissal

A recent decision from the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench supports that an employee’s use of his work phone to secretly record meetings with management may support an employer’s decision to terminate for just cause.

 

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Top five cases of importance to Ontario employment law – 2017 edition

2017 has been an incredibly busy year for Ontario employment law practitioners. In addition to the changes to the common law brought about by the decisions considered in this post, one would be foolish to omit any reference to the sweeping changes recently ushered in by the Wynne government as a result of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, S.O. 2017 C.22 (“Bill 148”).

 

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Top 10 most-read First Reference Talks blog posts for 2017

This year on the First Reference Talks blog we’ve been covering some of the hot topics in employment and labour law and employee management. Apart from the issue of cannabis in the workplace, there seems to be varied topics making it on the list this year. Here’s the full top 10 list of the most-read First Reference Talks blog posts from our regular bloggers for 2017:

 

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