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Author Archive - Piccolo Heath LLP

Prominent Canadian lawyers Patrizia Piccolo and Jennifer Heath have come together as Piccolo Heath LLP, Canada’s newest employment law firm. With more than 30 years combined expertise, the firm was founded with the purpose of delivering outstanding legal counsel and dynamic, client-focused service. Piccolo Heath LLP is focused on guiding clients through the legal landscape to determine the best solutions to their unique issues. The firm is well-versed in current employment-related case law and statutes, but is also highly sensitive to the practical impact of the law on both employers and employees. Read more.

Sick with worry: An employer’s guide to managing coronavirus concerns in the workplace

Coronavirus – by now, that’s a term we’ve all heard. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is a new and contagious respiratory virus characterized by fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Coronavirus symptoms are common to a lot of viral illnesses, and in many respects, a mild coronavirus infection can look a lot like a bad cold or flu. However, in some cases, coronavirus can lead to significant and life-threatening complications.

 

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Let’s “talk” – Sweet employee engagement

It’s important to remember that employee engagement is more than employees feeling good about the work they do or liking the people with whom they work. It’s about an employee feeling that they have a role in the company or on the team, that they make a difference, and that they aren’t just a cog in the corporate wheel.

 

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When #TimesUp goes on trial: Key Takeaways from a judge’s decision following a sexual harassment investigation

Although stories of workplace sexual harassment were pervasive as we closed the last decade, it was uncommon to see any of these cases make it all the way to trial. Early (and confidential) settlements with the accused are the norm, and trials are rare.

 

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Informal work should still be governed by “formal” employment contracts

There is certainly no “one size fits all” model when it comes to a written employment contract. The agreement doesn’t need to be long or complicated… or “formal”, but it is perhaps naïve in today’s work environment, including in the “gig economy”, to believe that the good natured feelings present at the beginning of the work relationship will always be there, or that you’ll part ways with a temporary or short-term employee on good terms in every instance; or to believe that everyone is in agreement as to just how “independent” the employee is.

 

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Post-#MeToo: Confidentiality restrictions may go the way of the dodo

An NDA is a non-disclosure agreement. It is a restriction on a person’s ability to share, post or use certain information or documents. The subject matter of an NDA is usually set out in writing, but there are some implicit, common law restrictions on disclosing another individual’s or entity’s confidential or proprietary information and documents.

 

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The chalk dust has not settled on strike action at Ontario schools: What’s an employer to do?

By now you have all heard, whether from news reports or from your school board, that the thousands of CUPE members employed as custodial staff, early childhood educators, special education assistants and/or office administration staff of various School Boards reached an 11th hour agreement with the Province of Ontario which prevented wide-spread school closures across the Province.

 

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Maternity and parental leave policies: To top up, or to tap out? That is the question…

New York-based bank JP Morgan Chase has recently been getting a lot of attention in the media after paying a hefty 5 million dollars to settle charges that their parental leave policy was discriminatory towards their male employees. It is believed that the settlement will impact up to 5,000 fathers who were denied parental leave benefits.

 

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Mind the (gender wage) gap: What lies ahead for Ontario employers

This past month, the US Women’s National Soccer Team made headlines amid their World Cup run by pushing for pay equality with their counterparts on the men’s team, leading to support from sponsors and the US Senate. So what is the big deal about gender/sex discrimination in compensation and should Ontario employers be concerned?

 

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You’ve wined them, you’ve dined them…and they’ve stood you up: What employers can do when jobseekers fail to commit

Although the interview process is generally quite stressful for employees, it’s no walk in the park for employers either. A lot of time, energy and resources go into courting a candidate. So, it’s fair to say that when a winner finally is selected and they’ve signed their shiny new employment contract, it hurts when they’re a no-show on their first day.

 

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Equality when you are born this way … Not the same way

When it comes to employers navigating human resource issues and relationships with their employees, the concept of equal versus identical is even more obvious. For employers, “equal” does not mean the individual employees are all the same, but that they be given the same opportunities.

 

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A reasonable expectation of privacy: The application of R v. Jarvis to the employment context

The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in R v. Jarvis addressed the circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy. While the case directly considered whether certain recordings violated the Criminal Code, the Court’s broad analysis of when a reasonable expectation of privacy exists applies outside the criminal context, with relevance to employers.

 

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Refuse, snooze & lose

For workplaces that operate on shift work, dealing with employee refusals to change shifts (especially to night shift) happens all too often.

 

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Harassers, empty your pockets and pay up! Including personal financial accountability for harassment in employment contracts – key considerations

In January, Variety reported about the new position of John Lasseter, the former Pixar head of animation who was the subject of a workplace harassment complaints from Pixar staffers.

 

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What’s love got to do with it? Managing office romances

Happy stories of office relationships are not the ones that give Human Resource managers pause or make employment lawyers nervous. Instead, it’s the remaining portion of office romances that pose potential issues and liability for the employer, and the employees.

 

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Expanding the obligations of federal employers – Anti-harassment and violence provisions to be added to the Canada Labour Code

On October 25, 2018, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), and the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 (the “Act”) received Royal Assent.

 

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