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Leave to Appeal Waksdale Decision
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The highest Canadian court has just confirmed that an invalid “just cause” termination section in an employment contract will also knock out the entire termination section, including the “without cause” section. 

In our earlier blog discussing employment termination packages –Termination Entitlements: Benefits, Bonuses, and Commissions – we promised to keep you updated on 2020’s employment law decision of the year, Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc. So here we go. 

Leave to Appeal Denied

To recap, Waksdale was a decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal that immediately put termination provisions in jeopardy. In the case, the Court of Appeal found that the employer, Swegon North America, could not rely on their properly drafted “without cause” termination provision, in a without cause termination of their employee, Benjamin Waksdale. The reason is that the  “with cause” provision in the same termination section of his contract was missing certain criteria and did not comply with Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000. We wrote about the decision last summer here
Continue Reading Waksdale: Now the Final Word on Termination Provisions – Leave to Appeal Waksdale Decision to the Supreme Court of Canada is Denied

A Guide for Employers during COVID-19A Guide for Employers during COVID-19

This Guide sets out the key employment law issues to consider, as well as the government’s financial relief options to explore to get through this deep economic crisis.  (Last Updated January 22, 2021)

Further free resources can be found here.

Should you need legal advice on how to manage

State of Emergency measures for employers
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Inclined to believe better days are ahead of us, most of us couldn’t wait to see the end of 2020. While we’re still getting used to writing the new year, 2021 is already off to a rough start with the best news ahead not expected until September 2021 by which time we’re told we can expect that most Canadians will have been vaccinated. 

On January 12, 2021, with public health and financial recovery still in jeopardy, the Ontario government, under the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced its latest emergency response measures. Here are the key developments for Ontario employers.
Continue Reading Ontario’s Latest Emergency Response: Key Developments for Employers

workplace mandate for vaccination
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Now that Canada has started to administer its first COVID-19 vaccine shots, many employers are wondering if they can require their workers to get vaccinated? A workplace mandate for vaccination seems like sensible risk management after a year of devastating costs for employers due to the pandemic. 

What if My Employee Refuses to be Vaccinated?

But what can an employer do if an employee refuses to be vaccinated? As long as your employees are not unionized, employers have the right to terminate employment without cause for any reason unless it’s discriminatory. As long as the requirement or any policy related to vaccination doesn’t infringe on any human rights protection owed to the employee, the requirement is not discriminatory. Requiring an employee to be vaccinated when they have a good reason not to be – for example, they are immunocompromised and it is not recommended by their doctor – would likely be a human rights violation.  An employee terminated for refusing or delaying in being vaccinated will be owed any contractual, statutory or perhaps common law termination pay to which they are entitled. This is because the refusal to be vaccinated likely won’t be just grounds for a termination with cause. 
Continue Reading Vaccination and the Workplace

New COVID-19 health and safety compliance obligations
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The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has resulted in the Ontario government amending regulation  O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3, under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (“the Regulation”). The new amendment took effect on Saturday, September 26, 2020, and imposes on employers new health and safety compliance obligations related to COVID-19, specifically employee screening, or as the Regulation puts it:

“The person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall operate the business or organization in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals.”
Continue Reading New Mandatory Employer Obligation – Ongoing COVID-19 Workplace Screening

internal vs external workplace investigations
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So you’ve received a harassment complaint from one employee about another employee. What do you do? Do you have to investigate?  Can you use your common sense and just discipline? Is the complaint clearly BS in the first place? What if the complaint is about a break-the-company level fraud by your CFO?

Workplace investigations are usually an unwelcome but necessary business diversion. Many employers would rather avoid them and will attempt, or seek counsel’s validation for, a quick and dirty alternative such as a quick-release termination of the alleged wrongdoer or relocation of the complainant. But these are not alternatives to investigating, are never the upfront solution and often fail to satisfy the legal obligation to properly investigate. These responses are more likely to expose an employer to greater liability.

A complaint of workplace misconduct needs to move quickly, and yet is no time for fast thinking. Employers should instead think carefully about the substance of the complaint, the impact on the involved parties and the business fallout if their response is the wrong one. 
Continue Reading Do I have to hire a super expensive external investigator? Maybe. Maybe not.

Outraged protesters demonstrate against the loss of George Floyd's lifeOutraged protesters took to the streets across the US to demonstrate against the unnecessary loss of life and the complete lack of empathy shown by police officers for a Black man pleading to hold on to his life. George Floyd’s death could have been prevented if there were stricter policies limiting police use of force in Minneapolis. In Minneapolis police are allowed to use chokeholds and that’s how George Floyd was killed. A  30-year study examining police use of force shows that a ban on chokeholds and strangleholds results in 22% fewer police killings. 

Continue Reading The Deaths of George Floyd & Regis Korchinski-Paquet

What’s an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook is a document where an employer can keep all their policies, procedures and other information an employee needs to have. Often, it forms a part of the employee’s contract, and employees are required to review the handbook and sign their copy to acknowledge their understanding. 

Why Do You