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Notice, Damages and Settlements

Doug’s top 5 employment law stories of 2019

We have started the last month of 2019 and it is time for my annual top employment law stories of the year. 2019 has been a relatively good news year for Ontario employers.

 

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Exclusive or near-exclusive economic dependence determinative of dependent contractor status: Ontario Court of Appeal

Between employees and independent contractors exists a third, lesser known category of employment relationship: the dependent contractor. Unlike independent contractors, and subject to specific contractual termination provisions, dependent contractor relationships cannot generally be terminated without notice, or pay in lieu thereof.

 

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OCA denies $953,000 “commission” over notice period

In this case, as in other recent OCA cases, the Court is giving greater emphasis to the contractual language of the various bonus and commission plans as opposed to the principles of interpretation generally applied to employment contracts as set out in the seminal case of Wood v Fred Deeley.

 

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Is the termination clause in my employment agreement enforceable?

In this article, we consider some of the circumstances that can result in a termination clause being found unenforceable.

 

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Will saving provisions no longer save us?

Saving provisions are widely used in employment agreements to ensure that even if a decision-maker finds that some aspect of some clause is not enforceable due to the fact that it could possibly, maybe, one day, maybe, sorta violate the Employment Standards Act (ESA), the saving provision will communicate to that judge that this was not the employer’s intention to do so.

 

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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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Employee has right to change mind about resignation: ONCA

Can an employee change her mind about resignation, if the impetus for such voluntary resignation ceases to be an issue, and the employee has not yet left employment?

 

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Wrongful dismissal update: Alleging just cause is a legal minefield

A recent case (Headley v. City of Toronto, 2019 ONSC 4496 (CanLII)) shows that alleging just cause for termination for a long-service employee can be a risky and costly strategy.

 

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Restructuring tools to minimize the risk of successful constructive dismissal claims

One of the biggest concerns for employers reorganizing in response to operational requirements is the potential for constructive dismissal claims by employees impacted by the changes.

 

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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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Ontario Court of Appeal: Upon termination, employee’s shareholder rights distinct from common law entitlements

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In Mikelsteins v Morrison Hershfield Limited, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that an employee was not entitled to compensation over his common law notice period in connection with shares he had purchased under a shareholders agreement.

 

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Racialized, foreign-trained lawyer discriminated against during interview

It is no surprise that racism and ageism still exist in the legal profession. An Ontario Human Rights Tribunal decision released earlier this year is a perfect example and warns employers to be careful during the hiring process.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with employer responsibilities to employees when a business closes, the employer’s duty to accommodate alcoholism and the 2019-2020 payroll rates.

 

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Embracing the #MeToo movement

#MeToo has quickly caught wind as a widespread movement that sheds light on the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, particularly in the workplace. As a result of the movement, society’s attitudes towards workplace sexual harassment have started to change; but, has this impacted how courts and tribunals approach sexual harassment cases?

 

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Does an illegal ‘just cause’ clause void a legal ‘without cause’ clause in an employment agreement?

In Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc., 2019 ONSC 5705 (CanLII), the Plaintiff signed an Employment Agreement that had a Termination Section that contained both a Termination Without Cause Clause and a Termination With Cause Clause. However, it is important to note that the Termination Without Cause Clause and the Termination With Cause Clause were in two distinct paragraphs separated from each other in the Termination Section. They were not mixed together in the same paragraph.

 

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