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What the Coronavirus means for Canadian employers

Over the past several weeks, news of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV or Coronavirus) has dominated our newsfeeds, which at the time of writing has three confirmed cases in Ontario, two of which are in Toronto. The virus has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) and in order to control the outbreak, China has responded with an aggressive strategy and taken the extraordinary step of confining residents in the city of Wuhan (the epicentre of the outbreak) to their homes.

 

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The enforceability of arbitration clauses in BC employment contracts

The BC Supreme Court recently considered the enforceability of arbitration clauses in employment contracts, as was addressed in Heller v. Uber Technologies Inc. et al, 2019 ONCA 1 (“Uber”).

 

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Doing zilch re mitigation reduces notice period from 14 to 12 months

In Seykors v Rural Municipality of Lake Lenore (2019 SKQB 225) Richmond J. reduced the notice period by 2 months where the Plaintiff’s mitigation efforts were minimal and he had not applied for even one job.

 

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Negligent misrepresentation claims against employers: A matter for labour arbitrators or civil courts?

Does a unionized employee’s claim of negligent misrepresentation against an employer fall outside of the jurisdiction of a labour arbitrator and within the jurisdiction of the civil courts?

 

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Pandemic planning in the workplace

It is important to ensure that your organization is prepared for potential threats through pandemic planning. In doing so, the protection of your employees is ensured when a potential threat arises. Pandemics are the spreading of a new disease; without proper planning a pandemic can affect multiple employees and increase safety risks.

 

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When can LTD benefits frustrate an employment contract?

The decision of Roskaft v. RONA Inc., 2018 ONSC 2934, sheds some light on when an employer can successfully claim frustration of contract when an employee is in receipt of long-term disability benefits.

 

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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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Non-consensual sharing of intimate images grounds for summary dismissal

Can sharing intimate photos of one your coworkers with your friends result in the summary dismissal of your employment for cause?

 

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Family Day February 2020: Which jurisdictions have a day off with pay?

Family Day, Monday, February 17, 2020, is celebrated in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Family Day (may have a different name depending on the jurisdiction) is recognized as a public (statutory) holiday in these provinces and employees get the day off with pay, if eligible.

 

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Smokers need not apply: can Ontario employers refuse to hire nicotine users?

As of February 1, 2020, U-Haul no longer hires nicotine users in 21 of the US states in which it operates. The company, which employs over 30,000 people across the US and Canada, announced this new policy late last year. While it may be easy to understand U-Haul’s stated rationale for introducing this anti-tobacco policy, to adopt the same in Ontario would likely expose the company to liability.

 

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DHS commences pilot project to collect DNA from certain travellers

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced a pilot project to collect DNA samples from certain travellers, which commenced on January 6, 2020. This announcement has prompted questions from Canadians (and other foreign nationals), who are concerned that they may be required to provide a sample of their DNA when travelling to the United States.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with the Coronavirus, a 2020 employment and labour summary and workplace absenteeism policies.

 

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Are changes to Canada’s Privacy Law landscape on the horizon?

It looks like 2020 might be the year where Canada catches up in the realm of privacy and data protection laws. These will likely have a ripple effect throughout the workplace.

 

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Wrongful dismissal update: Judge upholds just cause termination for a 30 year employee who touched a co-workers buttock

After a 10 day trial, an Ontario judge recently concluded that touching a female’s buttock in the presence of four witnesses, who had conflicting versions of what happened, was just cause for termination for an employee with 30 years’ service who had a clean disciplinary record.

 

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Full and final release upheld by the HRTO

For employers, one of the primary purposes of a full and final release is to prevent the former employee from pursuing legal action against the employer.

 

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