Termination of Employment

26-Month Notice Period Upheld by Ontario Court of Appeal
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In the world of workplace law we often say that, absent exceptional circumstances, the greatest notice period that any wrongfully dismissed employee could be awarded by an adjudicator is 24 months. But what are those exceptional circumstances? Years ago, we blogged about Dawe v. The Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada, a case in which the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the trial judge’s award of 30 months of reasonable notice for a terminated employee, reducing the final notice period to 24 months. Recently, the Ontario Court of Appeal released a decision, Currie v. Nylene Canada Inc. (“Currie”), affirming the trial judge’s assessment of damages in the amount of 26 months of reasonable notice for the wrongfully dismissed employee, Ms. Currie (“Ms. Currie”). Below we will look at the factors the Court considered in rendering this judgment.
Continue Reading Ontario Court of Appeal Upholds 26-Month Notice Period

Non-Compete Clause Update
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In a recent post, we talked about Ontario’s then-proposed and now law ban on non-compete agreements in employment contracts under Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 (“Bill 27”). The ban was effective as of October 25, 2021. Initially, there was some confusion about the enforceability of non-compete agreements or clauses entered into prior to the introduction of Bill 27. The Superior Court of Justice has recently released its decision for Parekh et al. v. Schecter et al., which clarifies that enforceable non-compete clauses entered into before October 25, 2021 will not be impacted by the ban and can be upheld. 
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back to the workplace
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On January 27, 2022, the Ontario government published Regulation 25/22, which amends the Rules for Areas in Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step (“Rules for Step 3”) with respect to COVID-19. All of Ontario moved into Step 3 on January 31, 2022, under Regulation 26/22. 

The amendments to the Rules for Step 3, as it relates to the workplace, removed the requirement for employers to allow workers to work from home. Other changes include revoking the requirement to record peoples’ contact information when entering specified businesses and reducing capacity limits in public venues.  

Employers were previously required, when Ontario temporarily moved to Step 2 on January 5, 2022, to ensure that their employees worked remotely unless they were required to be on-site given the nature of their work. 
Continue Reading Bringing workers back into the workplace

Sometimes you just need to move on. In this webinar, we will review types of employee exits, employee entitlements on termination, how to conduct a virtual termination meeting and take your questions about employee break-ups!

Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Time: 10:30-11:00 am EST
Register today: Click here!

Continue Reading Free webinar: Breaking Up With Your Employees

We’ve written about terminations in several of our blog posts throughout the years. Some of our employer readers (and clients) may recall scrambling to update their employment contracts following the 2020 release of Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc. (2020 ONCA 391). Still, many employers who are seeking to terminate their indefinite-term employees on a without cause basis believe that as long as they provide their employees with 2 weeks of notice, or the period of notice set out in the Employment Standards Act, 2000, they are off the hook. More often than not, this notice period is legally insufficient. So, what is the applicable notice period? 
Continue Reading Firing Employees with 2 Weeks of Notice May be Insufficient

Workplace Law Trends for 2022
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Welcome to 2020 Two! It’s hard to believe we’ve been living through a pandemic for nearly 2 years. Workplaces are beyond worn out, stress leaves and harassment complaints continue to increase, parents are juggling remote learning and limited activities for kids once again, and many workplaces struggle to find people to fill the roles. 

Yes, it’s all a bit of a mess, but out of crisis emerge new ways to approach issues and novel solutions to traditional problems. Here are our predictions for workplace law trends and changes in 2022.

#1 – Push for Hybrid and Remote Working

Studies over the last year are showing a deep disconnect between senior bosses and employees about preferred workplaces. Increasingly, employees want – and now expect – at least some remote work option, whereas senior levels of management are more likely to continue to see in-person work better for productivity, mentoring and focus.
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update your employment contracts
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Why Employment Contracts are Good

Our readers are probably sick of hearing us go on about employment contracts, but we will never stop recommending them!

An employment contract gives both employers and employees certainty about their entitlements both with respect to compensation and also on exit. 

Whether terms are written down or not, employment relationships will be governed by various terms. In the absence of a contract, courts read in implied terms of employment from the common law. It’s better to get those terms written down so you actually know what they are and don’t have to wait for a judge to tell you! 
Continue Reading Why you should update your employment contracts and why January is a good time to do so

free employment contract checklistAre your Employment Contracts Up-to-Date for 2022?  Not sure where to begin? 

Get a copy of our FREE Employee Contract Checklist

The checklist outlines affordable DIY contract options for small employers:

  • brainstorm what needs to be included in your contracts
  • cross-reference with any contracts you may already have in place
  • identify areas to add, remove and/or update


Continue Reading Get our free Employment Contract Checklist

ONCA upholds employer for-cause termination for sexual harassment
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Overview

In Hucsko v. A.O. Smith Enterprises Limited, 2021 ONCA 728, the Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) overturned the lower Court’s decision that found an employee had been wrongfully dismissed in relation to sexual harassment allegations and was awarded 20 months’ notice. In its reversal, the ONCA held that the employee had failed to fulfill remedial steps required by his employer; that he did in fact sexually harass his coworker; and that his for-cause termination was justified.  

Background

A senior, 20-year employee made several comments to his younger, female coworker on several occasions, including the following:
Continue Reading ONCA upholds employer for-cause termination for sexual harassment

A Proposed Ban on Non-Competes
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On October 25, Ontario Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 (“the Bill”) passed first reading. This Bill proposes amendments to our key Ontario employment statutes, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In today’s post, we will review highlights regarding the proposed ban on non-competes and talk about how Ontario businesses can prepare. 

A Ban On Non-Competes

One much-discussed element of the Bill is the proposed ban on non-competition agreements in employment contracts. 

A non-competition agreement restricts – or tries to – an employee’s ability, for a period of time, to work for a competitor after leaving the employer. The restriction is usually somewhere between three months to two years. 
Continue Reading A Proposed Ban on Non-Competes