As an employment lawyer, my consistent advice to employers is, whether you have one employee or one hundred employees, every employer needs to have written employment contracts. There are a number of ways that employment contracts can avoid or reduce liability, but the single most valuable term to include is a termination clause. In a written employment contract, employers have the opportunity to limit what can otherwise be a significant liability to their employees for termination pay, also referred to as severance or reasonable notice of termination.
Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: An FAQ in relation to an employer's obligation to have a casual worker sign off on vacation pay; a case that looks at workplace investigations; and Ontario's proposal of eliminating the "30% Rule" for pension investment.
Sometimes, individuals will be dismissed from their jobs at a time when they are on disability leave. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as the decision to dismiss is entirely unrelated to the employee’s disability. For example, if an organization decides to eliminate a department of ten people, one of which is currently on disability, that individual is not entitled to greater protection than his or her colleagues.
Although it is accepted that an individual can be dismissed while they are on disability leave, some practical issues arise. First, does the period of notice commence while the individual is disabled and unable to work, or does it only start running once their leave ends? Furthermore, how is pay in lieu of notice to be calculated if the individual is unable to work? Do they get their full salary, or the value of disability benefits?