favourite posts to revisit
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What a wild ride 2020 has been. Our offices are closed this week and our team is (hopefully) enjoying a well-deserved vacation. While most of our 2020 blogging has been Covid-19 related, and while much of our blogging does tend to revolve around legal updates, occasionally a “fun” employment topic makes its way onto the blog. For today’s post, I thought I’d pick out a few of my all-time (definitely non-Covid-19) favourite posts to revisit.

Dress Code Rules: What’s wrong with saying “no hot pants”?


This blog attracted a lot of eyeballs – thank you Google Analytics! Dress codes are one of the sneaky ways that employers often still discriminate. I know it’s been awhile since we’ve all been to a Jack Astors or a Hooters,  but you should know that legally the female waitresses should be allowed to dress exactly like the men and vice versa.


Continue Reading Special Bonus Holiday Blog! Hilary’s 2020 Favourites

IDEL extension July 3, 2021
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We had a feeling this might happen! And it has. The Ontario government has extended the length of the Deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) AGAIN! Enacting O. Reg 765/20, amending O. Reg 228/20 both under the Employment Standards Act (ESA). 

We have been warning our clients – and webinar attendees – about the upcoming January 2, 2021 end to the Deemed IDEL – it has now been extended to July 3, 2021. 

What is a Deemed IDEL? 

Employees who were laid off or had their hours reduced from March 1, 2020, until July 3, 2021, are on a deemed IDEL. During normal times, we would consider these employees to just be laid off but these regulations convert any reduction in hours – including all the way to ZERO hours and ZERO pay – to be deemed IDELs and not layoffs. 
Continue Reading New! IDEL Extension Until July 3, 2021

workplace mandate for vaccination
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Now that Canada has started to administer its first COVID-19 vaccine shots, many employers are wondering if they can require their workers to get vaccinated? A workplace mandate for vaccination seems like sensible risk management after a year of devastating costs for employers due to the pandemic. 

What if My Employee Refuses to be Vaccinated?

But what can an employer do if an employee refuses to be vaccinated? As long as your employees are not unionized, employers have the right to terminate employment without cause for any reason unless it’s discriminatory. As long as the requirement or any policy related to vaccination doesn’t infringe on any human rights protection owed to the employee, the requirement is not discriminatory. Requiring an employee to be vaccinated when they have a good reason not to be – for example, they are immunocompromised and it is not recommended by their doctor – would likely be a human rights violation.  An employee terminated for refusing or delaying in being vaccinated will be owed any contractual, statutory or perhaps common law termination pay to which they are entitled. This is because the refusal to be vaccinated likely won’t be just grounds for a termination with cause. 
Continue Reading Vaccination and the Workplace

dress code rulesWith so much hot news swirling around, some may have missed the story of the Arctic research mission MOSAiC’s dress code. Apparently, women on board the ship were told not to dress in tight-fitting clothing, and specifically no leggings, no crop tops, no short shorts, no hot pants and “nothing too revealing.” The leader of the mission apparently felt that this was a “safety issue,” as “there are a lot of men on board this ship … and some of them are going to be on board this ship for months at a time.” Ah hem. 

It’s been reported that the dress code policy followed allegations of sexual harassment made by several women on the ship.


Continue Reading Dress Code Rules: What’s wrong with saying “no hot pants”?

workplace law advice for employers
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In these challenging times, in the midst of the pandemic, as workplaces re-open, pivot and change, we see the importance and immense value of having strategic employment and workplace law advice. Just a small allocation of thought space and time to being proactive could have changed the outcome of so many situations. We see it now in our firm in many ways. 

Having run a small business for over a decade, I can appreciate that employers are often triaging the urgent demand of finding solutions to client’s needs. Rarely did I have the time or opportunity to “smell the roses” let alone try to proactively anticipate the workplace law needs of my growing organization. However, I now see the critical importance of taking a proactive approach.
Continue Reading Workplace Law: It Pays To Be Proactive

workplace violence and harassment
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When it comes to workplace violence and prevention, the federal government has been playing catch up with the provinces. Starting in 2017, the feds have been working on amendments to the Canada Labour Code (CLC) to more fully address workplace violence and harassment. While Bill-65 – snappily named An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 – establishing the amendments was passed in 2018, the changes had not come into effect nor had a date for their coming into effect been announced. New regulations were announced on June 24, 2020, which provide employers with more details regarding what will be required of them and setting out an effective date of January 1, 2021, for the changes. There are also requirements that employers need to meet before January 1, 2021. More details can be found on the government site here.  
Continue Reading New Federal Anti-Workplace Violence and Harassment Requirements

Terminating Employees for Inappropriate Behaviour
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In the wake of the killing of George Floyd and in the midst of protests and heightened awareness of anti-black racism across the world, two prominent Canadians have been “cancelled.”

Earlier this month Sasha Exeter, lifestyle blogger and influencer, called out Jessica Mulroney for “textbook white privilege.” Exeter explained, calling out Mulroney by name, that Mulroney took offence to her call to action for people with large public followings to use their platforms to address racial inequality and then proceeded to threaten Exeter and her brand.  Soon after Mulroney’s reality show, “I Do, Redo” had been cancelled by CTV, and Cityline, Good Morning America, Hudson’s Bay and apparently Meghan Markle, had all cut their ties with the star.


Continue Reading Cancel Culture at Work: Terminating Employees for Inappropriate Behaviour

Outraged protesters demonstrate against the loss of George Floyd's lifeOutraged protesters took to the streets across the US to demonstrate against the unnecessary loss of life and the complete lack of empathy shown by police officers for a Black man pleading to hold on to his life. George Floyd’s death could have been prevented if there were stricter policies limiting police use of force in Minneapolis. In Minneapolis police are allowed to use chokeholds and that’s how George Floyd was killed. A  30-year study examining police use of force shows that a ban on chokeholds and strangleholds results in 22% fewer police killings. 

Continue Reading The Deaths of George Floyd & Regis Korchinski-Paquet

On March 20, 2020, the Ontario government made an order under section 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to suspend limitation periods and procedural time periods. The suspension is retroactive to March 16, 2020.  

The suspension is a response to the recent declaration of emergency in Ontario due to the Covid-19 outbreak,

Sometimes employees just kind of stop coming to work, leaving employers scratching their heads and wondering where they stand and what to do.

Absence Due to Illness

In many cases when an employee stops coming to work they will tie their absence to illness. Ever get this text? “hey can’t come in today, am sick.”