Fixed-Term Fiasco: Employee Profits off of Termination of Term Contract


Time Published on April 26, 2016

Canadian employees are presumptively entitled to “reasonable notice” of termination.  Although this entitlement can be limited to some extent by contract, an employee will generally be entitled to some advance notice of the end of their employment. If advance notice is not given, then the employer can satisfy this obligation by making a payment equivalent to the earnings the employee would have received over the notice period. However, the law is very different with respect to fixed-term contracts.  The catch is that absent contractual language limiting the employee’s entitlements on early termination, the employee is entitled to pay in lieu of the balance of the fixed term.

Tag employment law,  employment litigation,  wrongful dismissal litigation

Federal Court of Appeal Rules on When Federal Employers Must Appoint a Workplace Violence Investigator


Time Published on March 22, 2016

The Canadian law on workplace violence and harassment continues to develop, particularly in relation to the duty to investigate. Employers should take note of the legislative requirements in the jurisdictions in which they operate. Recently, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled on the issue of when federal employers must appoint an impartial investigator under the Canada Labour Code.

Tag employment law,  occupational health and safety

Probationary Panacea: Divisional Court Affirms Rights of Employers to Dismiss Probationary Employees without Reasonable Notice


Time Published on January 28, 2016

Probationary periods are often essential tools for both employers and employees to determine the viability of a new employment relationship.  In recognition of this, the Employment Standards Act provides for a three-month period in which no minimum notice is required for termination.  However, in some professions this period may not be sufficient for the parties to properly assess a new employee’s suitability for a position.

Tag employment law,  wrongful dismissal litigation

Jumping to Conclusions Proves Costly for Employer


Time Published on January 08, 2016

A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court is a reminder to employers that dismissal for just cause must be based on solid ground. Relying on vague acts of misconduct will not suffice, and policies must be properly implemented and consistently enforced.

Tag employment law,  wrongful dismissal litigation

Reduce, Reconsider, Restore: Court of Appeal Strikes Down Reduction of Notice Period Due to Economic Circumstances of Employer


Time Published on December 15, 2015

Notwithstanding the best wishes of employers, there are times when employees have to be let go for purely financial reasons. In particularly dire circumstances, these dismissals can often be an important part of cost cutting to ensure that a company remains a viable ongoing concern. However, a recent matter heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal clarified that an employer’s financial circumstances do not alter the reasonable notice to which an employee is due.

Tag employment law,  wrongful dismissal litigation

Dial “D” for Dismissal: Employee Fired after “Pocket-Dial”


Time Published on October 15, 2015

Most people have received (or sent) a “pocket-dial”, which is an unintentional cell phone call that is made by a phone when it is in a person’s pocket. In a recent decision from Alberta, an employee’s pocket-dial revealed that he was performing work for his own personal business on company time, leading to his dismissal for cause.

Tag employment law

Court Precludes Terminated Employee from Relying on Employer’s Apology


Time Published on September 17, 2015

A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice demonstrates the little known "Apology Act" may apply in straightforward or perhaps interesting ways in employment law.

Tag employment law,  employment litigation,  labour law

Court finds Abandonment for Failure to Return to Work or Provide Medical


Time Published on September 09, 2015

Disability management is a challenging issue for HR professionals. An employee with a disability may require an extended absence from work due to their medical condition. Where an employer provides disability benefits, the employee will be required to show that they meet the definition of disability under the insurance policy, which will require the disclosure of medical information. A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court addresses the issue of when an employee is considered to have abandoned their employment where they fail to comply with requests for medical information and also refuse to return to work.

Tag employment law

What Employers Need to Know about Opinions from Non-Doctor Health and Medical Professionals


Time Published on August 31, 2015

The recent admission of a large number of new health professions to those recognized in the Ontario Regulated Health Professions Act, which governs who can provide medical services in Ontario, raises fresh questions for employers as to what they should do with medical documentation from health care or medical practitioners who are not traditional doctors

Tag employment law

Ontario Superior Court takes “Trust” Approach to Mitigation at Summary Judgment


Time Published on August 06, 2015

Summary judgment has increasingly become a process used to litigate wrongful dismissal actions. It can be attractive as it allows the parties to avoid going through a more costly and time-consuming trial. However, the efficiency of this process raises other issues. Because parties can bring a summary judgment motion early on in the proceedings, a decision may be rendered prior to the expiry of the reasonable notice period at common law. This raises the question as to how to deal with the issue of mitigation.

Tag employment law,  wrongful dismissal litigation

Supreme Court to Review Definition of “Unjust” Dismissals for Federal Employers


Time Published on July 23, 2015

The Supreme Court of Canada has announced that it granted the employee in Wilson v Automic Energy Limited leave to appeal.  While a final decision is likely more than a year away, that decision has the potential to finally resolve one of the most vexing questions facing employers of non-unionized employees in the federal sector.

Tag employment law,  wrongful dismissal litigation

Workplace Policies Key in BC Court of Appeal Decision Upholding Just Cause Dismissal


Time Published on June 19, 2015

A recent decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal found just cause for dismissal of a long service employee existed for a single incident of misconduct.

Tag employment law,  wrongful dismissal litigation

Ontario Court Awards Dependent Contractors over Two Years of Notice


Time Published on June 10, 2015

A recent decision by the Superior Court of Justice underscores the heavy potential cost for an employer that attempts to retain workers as independent contractors – and finds itself on the wrong side of the line.

Tag employment law,  wrongful dismissal litigation

Court Strikes Down Termination Provision that Provides For Salary During Notice Period


Time Published on May 22, 2015

Increasingly, the courts are striking down termination provisions in employment contracts resulting in lengthy common law notice awards to employees. A recent decision from the Ontario Divisional Court continued this concerning trend.

Tag employment law

Court of Appeal upholds decision granting employee notice period based on employment with predecessors


Time Published on May 15, 2015

Court of Appeal affirms that corporate reorganizations and transactions cannot defeat  employees' statutory entitlements on termination where there is a "sufficiently close relationship amongst the various companies".

Tag employment law,  employment standards,  wrongful dismissal litigation