Ah, reference letters, those elusive pieces of paper that can make or break a job seeker’s dreams. But here’s the deal: employers are not an employee’s personal fan club. They don’t have an obligation to shower employees with praise in the form of reference letters. Before employers start feeling like kings on a throne, let’s explore the legal and strategic considerations surrounding reference letters and how they can impact an employer’s business.Continue Reading Do Employers Have to Provide Reference Letters? The Legal Lowdown
Emily is in her fourth year of lawyering and comes from a litigation background to help grow and support our employment litigation practice.
Ensure a witness is present when signing releases with former employees to protect your business from future legal challenges.
Continue Reading Cover Your Assets: Why Having a Witnessed Release is Your Best Defense Against Future Legal Woes
While there’s info that can help employers navigate employment issues DIY, there are still situations where you need an employment lawyer. …
Continue Reading Time to Call in the Pros: When Do You Need an Employment Lawyer?
So you’ve decided that you’d like to hire an employment/labour law firm. What about legal fees? You’ve seen the ads on TV and online where lawyers promise not to take a cut of anything until you win. Other lawyers’ services seem to cost an arm and a leg. How do you navigate the world of legal fees? This can be tricky, so below we’ve outlined some of the most common fee structures for employment lawyers.
This is one of the most popular fee structures used by employment lawyers. The lawyer charges an hourly rate for their time, and the client pays for the actual time spent working on the case. Basically, the lawyer will track every minute (or even every six minutes, to be exact) they spend on your case, and they’ll charge you for that time. That means if they spend 18 minutes on the phone with you, they’re gonna bill you for 0.3 hours.Continue Reading Show Me the Money: Legal Fees Explained
This past Monday marked the three-year anniversary of the date the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since that fateful day in 2020, a lot has changed. Though there remain areas where transmission rates are still high, increased vaccination rates, higher immunity, and public health measures have helped curtail the spread of the virus and significantly decreased the rate of new infections in Canada.
As a result, many provinces and territories are revoking laws that were amended or implemented as a result of the virus. For example, about a month ago, Alberta repealed the COVID-19 layoff provisions in its Employment Standards Code (the “ESC”). This followed a trend we saw with the federal government as well as many other provinces such as Ontario. Continue Reading Update on COVID-19 Layoff Provisions
Post #MeToo we have more and more dialogue about sexual harassment and sexual assault. There has been significant discussion in the areas of what constitutes consent and the power imbalances that exist in the workplace. For those reasons, some employers prohibit intimate contact between employees. Employers take this stance, because they know they could be liable for the sexual misconduct of an employee, whether the misconduct was perpetrated against another employee, a client, or otherwise.
Sexual assault is often discussed as a criminal offence however, frequently we see these allegations arise in the workplace as sexual harassment. Employees can report the conduct in the workplace and/or to the police and pursue a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator and their employer. This can lead to investigations, police involvement, and defending a civil lawsuit. It is best to speak to counsel early in the process, involve your insurer if you have employer insurance or litigation insurance, and educate yourself about the process. Burying your head in the sand will not be effective when dealing with these types of serious allegations.
Continue Reading Employer Liability Post #MeToo
Employers may want to reassess how they terminate their employees and the timeframe and manner through which they provide their employees with their termination-related entitlements. Pohl v Hudson’s Bay Company, 2022 ONSC 5230, a recent Ontario decision, demonstrates, amongst other things, what a court may award an employee whose dismissal was conducted by an employer in an unfair manner.
A 28-year full-time Hudson’s Bay Company Sales Manager in his 50s was terminated on a without-cause basis and immediately walked out the door. He earned an annual salary of $61,254 plus pension contributions and other benefits.
Continue Reading The Importance of Being Honest and Sensitive: The $50k+ Moral and Punitive Damage Award
COVID-19 rules continue to change quickly. In a previous blog, we indicated that the paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) would come to an end on July 31, 2022, the deemed IDEL would end on July 30, 2022, and the voluntary IDEL would continue so long as the circumstances leading to an employee’s leave continue and COVID-19 is designated as an infectious disease. Though the end date of the deemed IDEL remains the same and the voluntary IDEL continues to have no set end date, the Ontario government has once again extended the paid IDEL to March 31, 2023. Specifically, on July 21, 2022, the Ontario government filed O. Reg. 464/22: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, which amends O. Reg. 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, by extending Ontario’s paid IDEL days until March 31, 2023.
Continue Reading Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL): Another Update
It takes a lot to hire and onboard new employees. As much as you intend to keep each and every one of your new hires, there may be a new employee you hired not too long ago that just isn’t working out. What do you need to know before you let them go?
What is a Probationary Period?
At common law, a clear meaning has generally been attached to the term “probationary employee”. Unbeknownst to many employers, however, the terms “probation” or “probationary period” do not actually appear in the minimum standards legislation of many Canadian jurisdictions. Nonetheless, many of these pieces of legislation do exclude employers from having to give employees a specified amount of notice of termination if the employee has not accumulated a specified amount of service with the employer (typically around 3 to 6 months). For convenience, we will be referring to this amount of service as probation or the probationary period.
Continue Reading All About Probationary Periods
With the welcome easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario – from masking requirements to vaccine mandates – it’s been a while since many employers have had to turn their minds to the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL). When the IDEL was first introduced, we were faced with an array of questions from employers. Since then, the IDEL has been through several updates and expansions. This blog discusses the most recent update to the IDEL.
Paid IDEL has now been extended to July 31, 2022. The Ontario COVID‑19 Worker Income Benefit (“Benefit”), which came into effect April 29, 2021, amended the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and required employers to provide paid IDEL to eligible employees. It was previously set to end on December 31, 2021.
Continue Reading Update: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL)