Archives: HR

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Will Saving Provisions No Longer Save Us?

Saving provisions are widely used in employment agreements to ensure that even if a decision-maker finds that some aspect of some clause is not enforceable due to the fact that it could possibly, maybe, one day, maybe, sorta violate the Employment Standards Act (ESA), the saving provision will communicate to that judge that this was … Continue Reading

So, You’re a Respondent in a Workplace Complaint

You’ve been asked to meet with HR or People Ops. You may – or may not – be aware of what the meeting is about, but you’re a little rattled. You’re told the company will be conducting an investigation, meaning a matter is being taken seriously. You wonder whether you should go it alone, or … Continue Reading

Employer Pays for Failing to Investigate Harassment

Readers of our blog will know that employers have a legal obligation to take workplace harassment seriously. These obligations are set out in Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and require that employers with more than five employees have a policy and procedure dealing with workplace violence and harassment. Employers are required to take … Continue Reading

Fired by a robot!

Amazon has been in the news recently for its practice of tracking warehouse workers’ box packing speed and firing them if they do not “make rate.”  According to internal Amazon documents, related to a termination at a Baltimore Maryland warehouse location, Amazon’s automated tracking system automatically generates a series of warnings. After 6 warnings in … Continue Reading

Sexual Harassment in the Fundraising Donor Space – Part Two

Firstly, Happy May Day and Happy International Workers’ Day! This week we will be continuing our series on Sexual Harassment in the Fundraising Donor Space and exploring situations where needed donations or funding come with strings attached. If you haven’t read our Part One from last week, you may want to check it out before … Continue Reading

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Employment Law – Part 1

The practice of law has changed.  The days of the gun-slinging Harvey Specter-esque litigator, sipping single malt scotch whiskey and ready to obliterate his opponent at a moment’s notice, has given way to a new breed of tech-savvy, collaborative and cost-conscious lawyers who are more concerned with serving their clients’ personal and business needs than … Continue Reading

Whose device is it anyway?

Technology continues to blur the lines between our personal and work lives.  How often have you answered a client email on your work laptop, only to receive a follow-up question via text message on your personal phone?   Many workplaces have adapted to the fluid use of technology and encourage their employees to use their … Continue Reading

When employees revolt!

Microsoft employees recently made the news protesting the company’s $479 million contract with the U.S. Military to create mixed reality headsets using the HoloLens platform for use in war. Click on the link if you have no clue what we are talking about, but these are basically headsets that blend reality and virtual reality into … Continue Reading

The price of workplace harassment

Valentine’s Day has us thinking about romance. In the mind of an employment lawyer, the leap from romance to harassment is a short one, and so that is what our post is about today. Harassment is not a new topic for us. You can read our past posts on sexual harassment, employer obligations regarding harassment … Continue Reading

Rise of the machines in the workplace

Here Come the Robots Is your workplace about to be automated? A recent study by McKinsey & Company suggests that about half of the activities (not jobs) carried out by workers could be automated right now with currently available technologies.  The study assessed 2000 work activities across more than 800 occupations, including mortgage brokers and … Continue Reading

References: Is honesty the best policy?

As kids, we learned that telling the truth was the right thing to do, but ask a lawyer and this golden rule is likely to become a little bit tarnished! However, a recent decision about honesty when providing a former employee with a reference might make us all feel a little better about telling the … Continue Reading

The Cost of Forcing an Employee to Retire

The Notice periods are trending upwards. One reason for this is that people are not necessarily retiring at 65 anymore, leading employers to struggle with how to exit the older employee for either declining performance reasons (real or perceived) or to simply make room for new talent. As an example of the high-risk employers face … Continue Reading

Top 5 Employment Law Cases of 2018

By: Hilary Page and Lisa Stam 2018 was a whirlwind of statutory changes in the employment law world, which has perhaps overshadowed the judicial developments that have taken place in courts. In today’s post, we turn to all things case law and give our picks for the top 5 employment law cases of 2018. Amberber … Continue Reading

ESA Holiday Musings

Happy Boxing Day everyone! Holidays and vacations are interesting topics for us employment lawyers. We have blogged about Public Holidays under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and in the past. Check out our posts on this topic here. For workplaces in Ontario, governed by provincial law, there are nine Public Holidays. These are: … Continue Reading

Cannabis at the office holiday party

The season of the office holiday party is upon us! In addition to merriment, this time of year can bring a lot of risk for employers. A new risk this year comes in the form of Prime Minister Trudeau’s legal recreational cannabis and Premier Ford’s relaxed consumption laws. In addition to monitoring intoxication levels from … Continue Reading

Update on the Police Record Check Reform Act

Pre-employment police record checks have become common in our information-obsessed society. This is where the employer requires a job candidate to pass a police record check as a condition of being hired. The Police Record Checks Reform Act  (the “Act”) was designed to standardize why and when these record checks can be obtained, as opposed … Continue Reading

Goodbye Personal Emergency Leave

Bill 47, the Ford government’s Making Ontario Open for Business Act has passed. One big change the bill makes is to the much discussed (and much used) Bill 148 amendment regarding Personal Emergency Leave. This amendment will come into force on January 1, 2019. For historical purposes, you can read all about the Bill 148 … Continue Reading

Can an employee take back their intention to retire?

This was the question asked in English v. Manulife Financial Corporation, 2018 ONSC 5135 (English). In this case, English, a 66-year-old employee decided to retired when her employer, Manulife Financial Corporation, announced in 2015 that they would be converting their technology and employees would be required to learn a new system. She made this decision … Continue Reading

Remembrance Day and Why We Don’t All Get the Same Days Off

Earlier this year the federal government amended the Holidays Act to include Remembrance Day as a legal holiday. You can read more about this in our past post Remembrance Day Enacted as a Legal Holiday. In Ontario, Remembrance Day has not been added to the Employment Standards Act as a public holiday and consequently, workers … Continue Reading

The Ontario Government and Changes to Bill 148 and Cannabis Law

Legislatively speaking, a lot has happened in the Ontario workplace law space over the past year. The biggest shake-ups being the Bill 148 changes to the Employment Standards Act and today’s legalization of recreational cannabis. The state of workplace law continues to evolve as the Doug Ford government takes steps to undo the Liberal legislation. … Continue Reading

To google or not to google? Candidate background checks

In the information age it’s usually relatively easy to find out all about someone by doing a simple Google search. The burning question of online daters, “do I google my date before the date?” applies equally to employers. Can, and should, an employer background check a candidate? If so when? And how deep can and … Continue Reading

Salaried workers, overtime and hours of work

In our connected age, work often creeps beyond the set hours of the workday. See my last post about legislating the right to disconnect for more on this. We often get questions from employers and employees about whether salaried workers should be getting paid for these extra hours and what exactly counts as “overtime.” Let’s … Continue Reading
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