It has been another very busy year in the world of Employment Law with many significant changes to the workplace/workforce both legally and culturally.

Join SpringLaw’s Lisa Stam and Evaleen Hellinga for our December webinar as they walk you through a review of the year so that your business and HR team/person are well-prepared for 2023!

Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Time: 10:30-11:00 am EST
Register today: Click here!
Continue Reading Free webinar: Rewind & Review – 2022 Employment Law Recap

As we start to wrap up 2022, workplace law continues to move at an unpredictable, quick and sometimes wacky pace.

Both managers and employees alike are burnt out and struggling to find their feet in the new post-pandemic norm. Employers and managers are having to adjust to a different style of management as employees are demanding new standards in the workplace. The ability to work remotely, the right to disconnect completely (hello Bill 27!) and having a clear line in the sand about what their job is (#quietquitting) are becoming the rules and not the expectations.
Continue Reading 2022 HR Law Trends

Employer Liability Post #MeTooPost #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

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

Human rights legislation across Canada protects employees from discrimination on the basis of disability and requires employers to accommodate employees with disabilities to the point of undue hardship. Long-term leaves of absence often leave employers wondering how to fulfil their duty to accommodate and at what point are they able to terminate an employee after an extended absence.

How Does an Employer Accommodate an Employee Who Can’t Work Due to Disability? 

When an employee requests a leave from work due to illness or injury with supporting documentation, employers generally start by providing the requested leave. Permitting the leave constitutes an accommodation. Generally, the initial leave is for a period of a few weeks or months depending on the medical professional’s recommendation. Following this initial accommodation, human rights adjudicators require an employer to actively engage with the employee to explore other potential accommodations. To do so, an employer should maintain reasonable contact with the employee to monitor their intention and ability to return to work and seek up-to-date information about the nature of the employee’s medical condition, restrictions and limitations, prognosis for recovery, and ability to perform alternative work. This process is ongoing and may last for several years. Employees must have the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the accommodation process. 
Continue Reading Accommodating Long-Term Absences: Considerations for Employers

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