There has been no shortage of high-profile workplace investigations and discussions surrounding the outcome of those investigations in the news over the past year. But what happens when you’re no longer reading about the investigation in the news and you’re suddenly at the center of one in your workplace? 

Whether you’re an employer who is

As employment lawyers, we all have times when we wish our employer-side clients had come to us for advice before making certain decisions.  There’s a lot that can be done to protect an employer who seeks assistance early in the process – especially if it involves a termination.  Costs can be reduced, risks can be mitigated, and whole potential areas for future disputes can be eliminated entirely with careful consideration and planning.

The result of failing to get proper employment law advice can be catastrophic.  Not only can it be exceedingly expensive, but the reputational damage for an organization can be profound.  And if you’re an employer who has made some mistakes in the process – do not double down on those errors by adopting unreasonable and ill-supported litigation strategies.  The patience of Canadian courts has worn thin and there appears to be an increased willingness to award moral and punitive damages, as well as substantial cost awards, when finding that employers have behaved badly.  2023 has produced some truly prodigious decisions on this front.  Here are my top three 2023 cases in which employers f***ed around and found out.Continue Reading Bad Employer Conduct – 2023’s Top 3 Most Scathing Canadian Employment Law Decisions

Are employers required to accommodate an employee at Christmas?

If an employee requests December 25 off for “family time” or religious events, are those protected grounds under Canadian human rights law?  This arises in industries that stay open 365 days a year, such as hospitals, public transit, variety stores, movie theatres and some restaurants. 

For

On November 8, 2023, we wrote about the new pay transparency legislation in British Columbia that is now in effect and also noted that the Ontario government announced plans to introduce similar legislation. On November 14, 2023, the Ontario government did just that with Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023

Bill 149, among other things, would require employers who advertise a “publicly advertised job posting” to include “information about the expected compensation for the position or the range of expected compensation for the position.” Continue Reading Ontario Introduces Pay Transparency Bill as It Aims to Keep Pace with British Columbia and Prince Edward Island

The English magician Tony Corinda once said: “Good timing is invisible. Bad timing sticks out a mile”. As employment lawyers, we talk a lot about the “why”, “what” and definitely the “how much” of terminating an employee, but the “when” is a sometimes overlooked aspect.

Some termination timing issues are a question of best practice or common courtesy, while others can attract significant legal liability and can be costly for employers. An employee who is being terminated may not recognize an employer’s considerate timing, but they will certainly recognize inconsiderate timing, and this will make everything go a lot less smoothly. Continue Reading It’s All in the Timing: The Best and Worst Times to Terminate Employees 

On October 26, 2023, the Working for Workers Act, 2023(the “Act”), the Ontario government’s third iteration of this legislation aimed at protecting workers,  received Royal Assent and came into force. The Act introduces amendments to several employment-related statutes, impacting employers across the province. Below are some of the most relevant amendments. 

Mass Terminations Under the ESA:

One of the most notable changes introduced by the Act is the expansion of the definition of an employer’s “establishment” under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). This expansion now includes the private residences of employees who work from home. As a result, employers must take these employees into account when assessing mass terminations. Mass terminations occur when 50 or more employees are terminated within the employer’s “establishment” in a four-week period.Continue Reading Ontario’s Working for Workers Act, 2023: Key Changes Affecting Employers

Receiving notice to bargain can be overwhelming for an employer, especially if it is to negotiate a first collective agreement. It is important to understand key steps in the process in order to be prepared to achieve the best outcome for your business. 

Do not feel rushed 

There is no need to immediately schedule bargaining sessions once you receive notice to bargain. The obligation is to commence bargaining within a reasonable time frame such that the employer is not interfering with the union’s right to collective bargaining. Understandably, it could take up to a few months to align schedules of the bargaining teams on both sides and to ensure adequate time for preparation. Continue Reading “You’ve been served with notice to bargain, now what?” 

At a time when our civil justice system is plagued by extreme delay, I am grateful to practice law in an area that is well known for its focus on creative and practical problem-solving and settling, as opposed to litigating disputes. There are certainly some labour and employment disputes which simply must be litigated, but the majority of disputes will ultimately be settled. There are many reasons why settlement is often an attractive option (the delay and cost of litigation, the peace of mind a settlement can bring, and avoiding the disruption and harm that litigation can cause to a business or its reputation …just to name a few) but in this blog we will provide some tips for considering, understanding and implementing legal settlements.Continue Reading Approaching, Understanding and Implementing Legal Settlements 

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