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Author Archive - Rubin Thomlinson LLP

Rubin Thomlinson LLP is a Toronto-based employment law firm dedicated to finding optimal legal solutions to challenging workplace issues. Rubin Thomlinson provides expert counsel to employees and employers on all legal issues pertaining to the workplace such as hiring, retaining and terminating employees; executive compensation and contracts; accommodation issues; and workplace human rights. Rubin Thomlinson is also considered a leading authority in the area of workplace harassment, and workplace investigations and reviews. Read more.

Health care and harassment: Now is the time to address unhealthy habits

When bullying, harassment, and discrimination are prevalent in the workplace, the tendency is for employee productivity to diminish and absences to increase.

 

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How an external investigation actually saved money for an employer

A recent Human Rights Tribunal decision demonstrates that the short-term financial costs of an external investigation might also be balanced out by long-term financial savings.

 

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8 tips on keeping an investigation confidential

Investigations contain sensitive material that must always be kept confidential, a standard which has been adopted in the Ministry of Labour’s Code of Practice.

 

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Believing women while remaining neutral: Conducting sexual harassment and sexual violence investigations in a post-#metoo world

As in all investigations, the only way to sort out information that does not seem to make sense is to ask. In the case of complainants who may have experienced a traumatic event, asking such questions in a calm, non-judgmental way is more important than ever.

 

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Workplace investigation alert – Injunctions in investigations: Do they ever work?

There is no question that workplace investigations are disruptive and difficult for the parties involved. Sometimes parties are removed from the workplace or their duties are modified. Complainants and respondents are often concerned about damage to their reputations and their careers once it is known that a complaint has been made, and that an investigation is being conducted. Can an investigation ever be shut down in anticipation of this disruption?

 

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Looking in the mirror: Harassment in legal workplaces

Whether advocating for a client before the Human Rights Tribunal, drafting a Respect at Work Policy or assisting a client with engaging a workplace investigator, many lawyers are familiar with providing advice about harassment at work, but how many of us have thought about harassment in our own workplaces?

 

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Workplace investigation alert: BC case shows how employers should NOT handle workplace harassment

A recent case from British Columbia, Wells v. Langley Senior Resources Society, is a useful example of how an employer should not handle workplace harassment.

 

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Wal-Mart’s “deplorable” pre and post termination conduct results in a sizeable $750,000.00 moral and punitive damages award

Recently, in Galea v. Wal-Mart (2017 ONSC 245) the Ontario Superior Court released a decision in a wrongful termination matter involving a Wal-Mart Executive Gail Galea (“Galea”) and the “reprehensible” termination conduct of Wal-Mart. In addition to the usual wrongful termination damages such as salary, benefits, bonuses, etc., the Court awarded a whopping $750,000.00 in moral and punitive damages combined.

 

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Municipal Integrity Commissioners and Workplace Investigators: Who does what when council members are accused of harassment?

Bill 68, the Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, 2017, received Royal Assent on May 30, 2017. One of the biggest changes introduced by the Bill is the requirement that all municipalities in Ontario have a Code of Conduct and either appoint an Integrity Commissioner, or make arrangements for the Commissioner of another municipality to fulfill the relevant duties.

 

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Ontario Passes Bill 148

On November 22, 2017, the Ontario government passed Bill 148, which includes amendments to the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”), the Labour Relations Act (“LRA”) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). On November 27, 2017, Bill 148 received Royal Assent.

 

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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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The Wall: Tearing down a poisoned work environment

Although a similar CSI-style wall is unlikely to be recreated in a typical workplace, other examples of pervasive, non-specific harassment may arise. It is incumbent upon leaders at all levels in an organization not just to recognize harassment and potentially, a poisoned work environment, but to take steps to remedy the issues.

 

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Pink jobs vs. blue jobs: Sexism in the skilled trades

In August 2017, the federal government launched a $73 million work-placement program for students through paid co-op opportunities in industries such as science, engineering and skilled trades. This is one of many examples of recent initiatives attempting to attract more people into the skilled trades. Both federal and provincial governments have acknowledged a shortage of workers in the trades and are working on ways to incentivize people – especially women – to enter fields like electrical work, construction and carpentry.

 

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What you don’t know can hurt you: A new wave of WSIB claims for chronic mental stress

On May 17, 2017, Bill 127 (Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act) received Royal Assent. The Bill modified the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to allow WSIB benefits for workers who suffer from chronic mental stress in the course of their employment.

 

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Departing employees gone rogue

The business consequences of departing employees gone rogue were recently highlighted in Prim8 Group Inc. v Tisi. In that case, an officer and director of Prim8 Group Inc. (Tisi) resigned from his employment to set up a competing business. Two days before his resignation, Tisi removed electronic equipment from Prim8’s premises, some of which contained proprietary information, and refused to return it. Shortly thereafter, another employee resigned from Prim8 without notice to join Tisi’s competing business.

 

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