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vicarious liability

Will distracted driving kill your employees?

Operating a motor vehicle for work is more than driving a truck, cab or ambulance. Anyone driving from home to a location different from their usual workplace, or travelling for work, is usually “in the course of employment” under workers’ compensation law. Thus distracted driving is very much an employer responsibility and risk.


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Using independent contractor not a “get out of jail free” card

Learn the Latest at the Ontario Employment Law Conference

A business’ obligations to its workers will depend on whether the workers are employees or independent contractors. However, a recent decision reminds us that, even where a worker is a true independent contractor, this distinction may not preclude a business being liable to third parties, such as customers, when the worker does something wrong.


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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with employer vicarious liability for employee misconduct; reasonable notice and the failure to mitigate; and, the legal definition of “immediate family” for the purpose of bereavement leave.


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Privacy class action to proceed

Canada will see its first class action lawsuit based on the new tort of invading another’s privacy, after a Bank of Nova Scotia employee leaked customers’ personal information to his girlfriend for personal gain. At least 138 customers were subsequently defrauded. Ontario’s Superior Court accepted that the employer was vicariously liable for the employee’s actions […]


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Ontario Court of Appeal rules on distracted driving and handheld devices

The Ontario Court of Appeal has recently ruled on the issue of distracted driving caused by “holding” handheld devices in two companion decisions: R. v. Kazemi 2013 ONCA 585 and R. v. Pizzurro, 2013 ONCA 584. In both cases, the Court of Appeal has strictly interpreted the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (“HTA”) to mean that holding a handheld device while driving constitutes a breach of the statute because it results in distracted driving that should be avoided at all costs.


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Do you need a cellphone policy for your workplace? And should cellphones be subsidized?

It seems that the majority of respondents to our recent HRinfodesk poll believe that they do need a cellphone policy. Last September we asked you: Does your company have a cellphone policy? 289 (61.75 percent) respondents out of 468 said they do; 163 (34.83 percent) respondents indicated they did not have a cellphone policy; and 16 believed they did not need one. So do you need one or not?


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The intoxicated holiday party employee: Avoiding social host liability

With the Holiday Season in full gear, employers across the country are planning holiday parties and holiday parties often involve alcohol. This article provides a reminder on Social Host liability whereby employers could become liable for the injuries caused by intoxicated employees to themselves or others during the function or after they have left the function if proper safeguards are not put in place.


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Expanded citizen’s arrest law and the Canadian workplace

The Conservative government is poised to enact the first substantive expansion of citizen’s arrest laws in Canada since 1955. The catalyst for the Bill C-26 amendment to the citizen’s arrest section of the Criminal Code of Canada was the 2010 case of Toronto grocer David Chen who faced criminal assault charges after performing a citizen’s arrest of a habitual thief he had seen stealing from his store earlier in the day.


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Slaw: Could cellphone use constitute electronic presence at crime?

The National Post recently presented the interesting case in which a New Jersey judge must decide whether someone can be “electronically present” in a car, even if they physically aren’t there, and, if so, whether the person can be held liable for events that take place, or that are caused by their electronic presence.


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Employer obligations and the holiday party

The holidays are right around the corner and this often translates into lots of company-sponsored events, parties and commitments. While these events bring joy and merriment to employees, they can also bring legal troubles for employers related to alcohol, harassment, violence and discrimination.


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Don’t push the employees – Court of Appeal deals with damages in a wrongful dismissal claim

The scope of damages available in wrongful dismissal claims has been steadily widening over the past decade. However, in a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, released on May 28, 2010, the Court reversed this trend by rejecting tort liability of an employer for intentional infliction of mental suffering arising from a dismissal.


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Multi-tasking: where do you draw the line?

Multi-tasking is so serious that workers are taking their work into the washroom, with disturbing results. According to a recent survey, one-third of Brits admit they’ve made a “stall-call”—that is, a call from the toilet, not just the restroom—whether for business or pleasure. And one in twenty said they’ve taken their laptop with them when nature called. The survey also found a significant—and disgusting—number of people eat, drink and brush their teeth while answering nature’s call.


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Alberta tries again to ban the use of cellphones while driving

The reliance on cellphones has led to an increase in talking on a cellphone while driving. Statistics show that driving while talking or texting on a cellphone is leading to driver distractions that cause car accidents. That’s why, on April 14, 2010, the Alberta government introduced…


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Employer holiday parties: some useful tips

However limited an organization’s party budget is, most of them still use the holiday season to show their employees their appreciation for their year-long efforts by holding a holiday party on or off company premises. In the last several years, however, many organizations have looked carefully at how they approach the annual holiday party, for legal and economical reasons.


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Introducing guest blogger Stuart Rudner

It’s a pleasure to welcome Stuart Rudner as a guest blogger. He will be blogging about human resources, employment and labour law issues.


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