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Author Archive - Devry Smith Frank LLP

Devry Smith Frank LLP (DSF) is the largest full service law firm in Toronto outside of the downtown core. They offer a broad range of legal services to individual, business and corporate clients in most areas of corporate and personal law. Their firm’s employment law group covers a broad spectrum of HR law, including employment and labour law, occupational health & safety, human rights, workers’ compensation and much more. Lawyers at Devry Smith Frank LLP lead by Marty Rabinovitch B.A.H., LL.B. will be covering issues surrounding employment and labour law and human rights on First Reference Talks. They also provide training, seminars and conferences on the above topics. Read more .

Employers: A shining example of how not to treat your employees

Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly. A prime example of employer misconduct for failing to accommodate and providing reasonable notice is the case of Strudwick v Applied Consumer & Clinical Evaluations Inc. This case highlights a number of important lessons for employers.

 

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Sending a signal to harassment perpetrators and employers alike

Ontario courts are rightly increasing their protection of employees from harassment and assault in the workplace. This case serves as a strong deterrent to employers and employees who do not comprehend or acknowledge the severe implications of their actions.

 

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Human Rights Tribunal finds miscarriage constitutes disability

A recent interim decision of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal addressed whether a miscarriage could constitute a disability for the purposes of human rights legislation.

 

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Giving your ‘two weeks’: Jesso and what constitutes reasonable notice for resignation

The question of ‘what constitutes reasonable notice’ is one of the most frequently litigated issues in employment law. There are numerous decisions from every level of court in Ontario which discuss the obligations of an employer to provide a reasonable period of notice to dismissed employees. However, it is a relatively rare occurrence that the Court deals with the inverse – the reasonable period of notice due to an employer by an employee who resigns. While most of us are familiar with the old adage of giving your ‘two weeks’ notice, the recent decision in Gagnon may call into question the sufficiency of such short notice.

 

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Court finds that employer telling employee to “get out” constitutes dismissal

Termination of an employment relationship can come in many forms; some apparent and some not so. In the latter case, it often falls to a court to determine whether an employer’s actions constitute dismissal or constructive dismissal. This was the issue faced by Justice Lack in the recent decision of Sweeting v Mok.

 

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Legislative changes in Ontario to protect foreign workers

As of November 20, 2015, changes to Ontario’s employment laws came into effect with the aim of better protecting precarious and foreign workers.

 

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Harsh or “draconian” terms in employment contract not enough for unenforceability

In Kielb v. National Money Mart Company, a dismissed employee sought to have the termination and limitation clauses in his employment agreement found unenforceable. His goal was to recover his bonus for the year during which he was terminated, as well as his contractual pay in lieu of notice, which he waived, in accordance with his employment contract, when he refused to provide Money Mart with a full and final release after his termination.

 

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Ban on blue jeans and shorts in the workplace: Unreasonable in the circumstances

In Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1716 v. British Columbia Assessment Authority, the union filed a policy grievance after a new management policy was put in place in the Kelowna office of the British Columbia Assessment Authority. The new policy banned the wearing of blue jeans or shorts in the office by all employees on days that they were not in the field in settings where jeans were appropriate, for example on farm locations.

 

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Defendants’ apologies found not admissible in civil proceedings or pleadings

The Apology Act is lesser-known piece of Ontario legislation which came into force in 2009. The Act allows defendants in a civil proceeding to communicate sorrow or regret to the other party, without their apology being used against them later in court.

 

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Lawyer receives $1,000 for four minute wait constituting human rights breach

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario recently awarded an Ontario lawyer, $1,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect, as a result of his being stopped from entering the Riocan Empress Walk mall with his service dog.

 

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Dismissal without just cause: not necessarily “unjust dismissal” under the Canada Labour Code

In Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the Federal Court of Appeal has clarified the impact of the Canada Labour Code on an employer’s ability to dismiss employees without cause.

 

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Differentiated discipline in the workplace

In a recent decision in an Ontario labour arbitration, at issue was a fight that broke out amongst a few employees. The employer terminated all of those employees that were involved in the fight citing that they had violated the company policy by participating in such aggressive behaviour.

 

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Breaching confidentiality provisions of a settlement agreement can cost you!

To discourage the disclosure of details of settlements to third parties, confidentiality provisions are often included in settlement agreements between an employer and a former employee.

 

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Doctor’s note not always a ticket to a successful human rights claim

When I was in high school and university, it was not uncommon for a few of my classmates to fall ill during exams or just prior to a major test. When explaining to the teacher the next day why they were not present to write the test, one of the more common responses from the teacher would be, “Bring a doctor’s note.”

 

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