Employers often state that promoting DEIB initiatives is a top priority, and they ask us how best to improve on the start they’ve made (or how to get on board in a meaningful way for the first time). For those less versed in this space, DEIB stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. The ‘belonging’ component is a more recent addition to the acronym. According to Gallup, in a ‘culture of belonging’ employees are appreciated for what they bring to the group, there is a genuine desire for meaningful relationships, and there is an appreciation for the differences between people. In addition to leading to a happier workplace, it’s no surprise that fostering a culture of belonging makes good business sense. Gallup found that if more employees believed that their opinions counted, “organizations could reduce turnover by as much as 27%, safety incidents by 40%, and increase productivity by 12%.”Continue Reading Respect in the Workplace Policies: An Employer’s Starting Point for DEIB Initiatives
Marnie Baizley's practice includes employment, labour and human rights law, as well as workplace investigations. She advises employers, human resources professionals and employees on a wide range of issues arising at all stages of workplace relationships.
Common Law Notice
Upon termination of employment, if an employee’s contractual entitlements are not nailed down in an up-to-date and enforceable employment contract, the employee is likely entitled to common law reasonable notice (or pay in lieu of notice) of termination. Even if an employee’s entitlements are set out in an employment contract, it is common these days for employees, on the advice of employment law counsel, to claim that some of the contract’s termination-related provisions are not Waksdale-proof, and are therefore unenforceable. (We discuss how employers can make their contracts Waksdale-proof in this blog, and best practices for rolling out updated contracts in this blog). Under both scenarios, any path to resolution will start with an assessment of the common law notice period.
Explore the benefits of the ‘clawback clause’ in severance packages. Learn how it can create a win-win situation during group terminations.
Continue Reading The Power of An “If You Get Another Job Clause”
Mapping out the termination process and employee entitlements in advance will reduce the sting of terminations for both sides.
Continue Reading Softer Landings Save Time, Effort and Legal Fees for Employers and Employees
A new year often means some level of house-cleaning by employers, including the updating of core workplace documents. SpringLaw has seen a spike in this work because many employers understand, now more than ever, the need to have their employment contracts reviewed, with a particular focus on termination provisions. This review should include any ancillary policies, Codes of Conduct, or plan documents referencing when and under what circumstances an immediate termination for cause can occur. We refer to this as a ‘Waksdale review’ because it is driven by the court’s reasoning in Waksdale v. Swegon North America. For legal nerds, our prior blog details why a Waksdale review is necessary. Continue Reading Waksdale Reviews Spark Joy
An employer recently asked whether it would be helpful for them to record a sensitive employee termination meeting and, more broadly, whether this is a recommended practice for routine terminations. In this particular case, the logistics of having a second person attend as a witness were tricky, and the employer was also looking to be more efficient by having only one person conduct the meeting.
In remote work environments, it’s easy to secretly record meetings. In most cases, however, there is more to lose than gain by recording a meeting without the other person’s consent. Obtaining consent is of course always an option, but that usually changes the tone and content of any meeting, making the recording a less useful exercise.
Continue Reading Employers: There’s no need to record employee termination meetings
Ontario has taken the lead in terms of enhancing employer transparency in the workplace and ensuring that workers are able to disconnect from their work. Now that employers with 25 or more employees (as of January 1, 2022) must have a Disconnect From Work Policy, it’s time for employers to calendar more Covid-driven workplace requirements. This same employer group must have an Electronic Monitoring Policy prepared by October 11, 2022, and rolled out within 30 days, by November 10, 2022. These are both policies that employees are actually reading, so it’s worth the advance planning by employers.
Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act 2022 became law in April and requires employers to be transparent about how they monitor their employees’ use of devices such as computers, cell phones and GPSs.
Continue Reading New Electronic Monitoring Policy: The What, How and Why for Employers
In our recent blog, we talked about Ontario’s Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021, which proposed new changes to several pieces of legislation, most notably the Employment Standards Act, 2000. On November 30, 2021, Bill 27 passed third reading and on December 2, 2021, it received royal assent, making it now law. In this post, we will highlight some of the key changes.
Non-Compete Agreements are Prohibited
Under Bill 27, employers are prohibited from entering into employment contracts or other agreements with employees that is or includes a non-compete agreement. Employers will be pleased to know that there is an exception for executives; these employees may still enter into non-compete agreements with employers.
Executives are defined as “any person who holds the office of chief executive officer, president, chief administrative officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief information officer, chief legal officer, chief human resources officer or chief corporate development officer, or holds any other chief executive position”.
Continue Reading An Update on Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021
Since 2019, there have been five proposed class actions against insurance companies and banks for failure to pay proper vacation pay to employees, both past and present. The total amount claimed in the aggregate of these five actions is around $1.2 billion. Royal Bank of Canada is a named party in three of the five actions; in one, it is facing a proposed $800-million class-action lawsuit involving thousands of advisors. Bank of Montreal and Allstate Insurance are also named in these class actions. A significant aspect of the allegations against these employers revolves around the calculation of their employees’ vacation pay. The issue is that for many of these employees, the majority of their compensation is and was made up of commissions and bonuses. Their vacation pay, however, was and continues to be based solely on their much lower base salaries.
Continue Reading Vacation pay class actions a heads up for employers
With the new Ontario Covid-19 response framework in place and Covid-19 still on the rise, employers need guidance on how to navigate workplace law issues.
Question 7: If an employee chooses to work from home because of childcare, kids’ online learning/homeschooling, but their role is impossible to do at home, are we required to provide alternative work OR do they just go on leave?
Continue Reading Covid-19 2nd Wave Workplace Law Issues: Part 2