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Top 10 most-read First Reference Talks blog posts for 2019

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. Making the list this year are blog posts on the topic of termination (again), on breaching confidentiality, privacy and the duty to accommodate among others.

 

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Denial of employee benefits to working seniors: a charter violation

On May 18, 2018, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario rendered its decision with respect to the issue of whether s. 25(2.1) of the Human Rights Code, when read alongside s. 44 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000, permitted employers to terminate benefits for employees when they turned 65. In Talos v. Grand Erie District School Board, the Tribunal found that such a termination violated s. 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because it was a form of age discrimination.

 

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A wrongful dismissal time warp – When is two years really six?

Perhaps, when an ex-employee takes six years to “discover” that they were wrongfully dismissed.

 

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Entitlements to public holidays during the holiday season

There are a number of upcoming public (statutory or general) holidays that require employers to provide paid days off to employees. Below, we have summarized some the most important obligations with respect to those holidays.

 

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Work is work: Duration of dependent contractor status to be included in notice calculations

In the recent decision of Cormier v. St. Joseph Communications, the Court of Appeal upheld a motion judge’s finding that when calculating reasonable notice periods, an employee is entitled to include the duration of time they were an dependent contractor. This case highlights the risks posed by evolving employment relationships and the importance of drafting legally defensible termination clauses.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with contracting out of the Ontario ESA, entitlements to public holidays and discrimination against a job applicant.

 

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Top employment law cases of the 2010s

In order of appearance, from newest to oldest, here are the employment law cases that shaped Ontario and to some extent every jurisdiction in Canada in the 2010s:

 

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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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“Failsafe” language fails to save termination provision

If a contractual termination clause provides for “the greater of” ESA entitlements and a set amount, will the guarantee of “the greater of” act as a failsafe if the rest of the provision is contrary to the provisions of the ESA?

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with vacation shaming, OHIP out-of-country coverage and workplace fatigue.

 

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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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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with 2020 payroll rates, compensation and disability accommodation, and a case of sexual harassment.

 

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The holiday party and workplace policies

The holiday season is fast approaching and organizations are planning their annual Christmas or holiday parties. The increased recognition that alcohol consumption at organization-sponsored events creates significant legal liability has had an impact on that traditional institution. And now, with the legalization of cannabis and the #metoo movement, added legal liabilities come into play.

 

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Stock rights are distinct from employment contract rights

It is the terms of an Equity Agreement, Shareholders’ Agreement or Stock Plan that determine employees’ rights with respect to shares. The common law relating to compensation for breaches of a contract of employment (i.e. reasonable notice) does not apply to shares where there is a distinct and separate agreement.

 

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