How to Avoid Constructive DismissalsNow, more than ever, businesses are modifying and evolving in order to keep up with changes in social and industry trends, work environments, office locations, and the economy.  Generally, your business evolving is a good thing and means you’re doing well but major changes to the organization of your business can also lead to constructive dismissals. As an employer, you need to be aware of how to make changes at work, without forcing employees out. 

What is Constructive Dismissal? 

It’s no secret that hiring and firing are pretty common and well-known practices while running a business. What is less talked about are constructive dismissals. A constructive dismissal happens when a unilateral change made to an employee’s contract or overall employment relationship is so significant that it basically breaks the contract.  A change leading to a constructive dismissal claim must be fundamental and done without the employee’s agreement, leaving the employee feeling like their only option is to resign and sue for breaking that contract. 
Continue Reading How to Avoid Constructive Dismissals

An Unprecedented Legislative Move

This week, Bill 28 was repealed and the collective bargaining model in Ontario stands. Why was it such a big legal deal?  

The recent strike by education workers in Ontario made headlines for reasons beyond the usual disruption to parents’ and kids’ everyday lives. On October 30, 2022, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario gave notice to the province that the education workers it represents would strike in 5 days. 

On November 3, the province responded by introducing Bill 28, which enacted the Keeping Students in Class Act, 2022, unilaterally imposing a new collective agreement, outlawing the impending strike, and invoking the “notwithstanding clause” in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to do so. This type of legislation is unprecedented. 
Continue Reading The Education Worker Strike: A Primer on Constitutionally-Protected Labour Laws

recording employee termination meetingsAn 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

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.  

What Happened?

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

As of October 1, 2022, minimum wage rates in Ontario have increased. The general minimum wage for provincially regulated employees has increased by 50 cents from $15.00 to $15.50 per hour. This raise represents a 3.33% rise in response to rising costs and inflation. 

Generally, minimum wage requirements apply to all employees, whether they are full-time, part-time, or hourly. There are special minimum wage requirements for specific categories such as students, liquor servers, hunting, fishing and wilderness guides, and home workers. The Employment Standards Act (ESA) Guide nicely outlines all minimum wage requirements here

For employees whose pay is based wholly or partly on commission, their pay must amount to at least the minimum wage for each hour the employee has worked. 
Continue Reading The Ontario Minimum Wage Has Increased as of October 1, 2022

Back by popular demand and ICYMI, we are doing a live repeat of our Watching the Watcher webinar!

While the October 11th deadline has come and gone, it is better late than never to get your Electronic Monitoring Policy in place. SpringLaw, nNovation and The Privacy Pro have partnered up and pulled together the privacy law, employment law and tactical privacy operational components into this one webinar to help organizations get compliant as soon as possible.

On October 11th, Ontario Bill 88 came into effect, requiring employers with more than 25 employees to publish policies outlining their employee monitoring activities. Employee monitoring goes beyond the obvious things like geolocation of fleet vehicles, security cameras installed for safety and security. Companies that have implemented processes and systems for remote work, sales enablement tools, productivity software, and even badge access readers may find that they are in fact carrying out monitoring employees.

Join us on Wednesday, October 19th for our free webinar to map out your game plan. We’ll spend 30 minutes outlining all you need to know and then another 30 minutes for a Q&A!
Continue Reading Free webinar: Watching the Watchers – Bill 88 and Electronic Monitoring Policy Requirements

Common Contracting Mistakes Made by EmployersEnsuring that you have succinct, legally compliant, and up-to-date contracts in place is one of the most important things an employer can do to start off on the right foot with a new employee.  It also helps to avoid legal headaches down the road, should the employment relationship not work out.

Bosses and managers are busy and budgets can be tight, leading businesses to sometimes cut corners when it comes to contract templates. Below are 5 of the most common contracting mistakes employers make that can come back to bite them later.
Continue Reading 5 Common Contracting Mistakes Made by Employers

With only a few business days left before October 11, 2022, when employers must have a written Electronic Monitoring Policy in place, SpringLaw is fielding regular questions from employers about their near-final drafts. The policy requirements and meeting this new transparency obligation are discussed in our prior blog: New Electronic Monitoring Policy: The What, How and Why for Employers. The deadline for providing a written copy to employees is November 10, 2022.

Step One: Review Your Current Electronic Monitoring Practices

Employers with a buttoned-down approach should start with a broad review of their current monitoring practices. This may unearth some overkill monitoring and data collection – passive and unintentional, or otherwise. 
Continue Reading Privacy Compliance: We’re Watching You, Employees, But Not Really

The pandemic has taken its toll on workplaces. Employees are no longer prepared to take it for the collective team at the expense of self-care and family, and employers are stretched on time, budgets and bandwidth as everyone settles into the new post-pandemic era. There is currently a disconnect between what is “the job” and what are the “above and beyond” parts of the role, resulting in a fresh wave of communication gaps and misunderstandings in the workplace.

Perfect Storm – Why Now?

Why are employees only now Quiet Quitting? Workplaces are currently in this perfect storm of disconnects and job evolution:
Continue Reading Managing Quiet Quitting Employees

Navigating Employee Accommodations in the Post-Pandemic WorkplaceBack to Sweaters, School, and the Office – Oh My! 

For many, September marks the start of a new year. Yes, yes, we know January is the real first month of the year but September marks the end of summer holidays, kids going back to school, and many workforces who had modified summer schedules tend to resume their regular working hours in the Fall. While these used to be pretty standard and expected changes pre-pandemic, employees are now finding these organizational shifts to be more challenging than ever. In turn, employers are facing new accommodation issues and are trying to keep up. From employees wanting to work from home to family obligations to mental health and stress, here is everything you need to know about accommodating your employees. 
Continue Reading Navigating Employee Accommodations in the Post-Pandemic Workplace