impact of covid-19 on terminations
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The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our economy. In many industries, it has made it more difficult to find work and also more difficult for businesses to afford termination packages when letting employees go. The relevance of these facts to how courts will determine what terminated employees are entitled to has, so far, been unclear. 

Reasonable Notice

When an employment relationship is not governed by a written contract – with valid termination provisions – a terminated employee’s entitlements on termination without cause will be determined by the common law and what is called reasonable notice. 
Continue Reading The Impact of the Pandemic on Termination Packages

Leave to Appeal Waksdale Decision
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The highest Canadian court has just confirmed that an invalid “just cause” termination section in an employment contract will also knock out the entire termination section, including the “without cause” section. 

In our earlier blog discussing employment termination packages –Termination Entitlements: Benefits, Bonuses, and Commissions – we promised to keep you updated on 2020’s employment law decision of the year, Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc. So here we go. 

Leave to Appeal Denied

To recap, Waksdale was a decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal that immediately put termination provisions in jeopardy. In the case, the Court of Appeal found that the employer, Swegon North America, could not rely on their properly drafted “without cause” termination provision, in a without cause termination of their employee, Benjamin Waksdale. The reason is that the  “with cause” provision in the same termination section of his contract was missing certain criteria and did not comply with Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000. We wrote about the decision last summer here
Continue Reading Waksdale: Now the Final Word on Termination Provisions – Leave to Appeal Waksdale Decision to the Supreme Court of Canada is Denied

Toolkit helps employers during latest Covid-19 lockdownAs COVID-19 continues to create barriers for businesses across the province, many employers face tough decisions regarding their staff. With so much uncertainty regarding when and if things will return to normal, scaling down or shutting down is becoming a reality in many industries. 

At SpringLaw, we help employers navigate these difficult decisions every day, but are also aware that not every business needs traditional legal services. This is why we created our Pivot DIY employer toolkit. Pivot DIY contains guides to help employers decide how to adjust their workforce and template legal documents with instructions on how to customize them. 

Layoffs/Deemed IDEL

Where employers are hopeful that more work will be available in the future, layoffs may be appropriate. A layoff is a temporary stoppage of work. An employer normally needs the contractual right to lay an employee off. Normally, layoffs can only last for specified lengths of time. 
Continue Reading Pivoting Your Business During Yet Another Lockdown

Risks of Not Firing Properly
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Employers often wonder what the consequences might be if they don’t do everything their lawyer tells them to or, if they don’t get a lawyer at all and just “wing it” when hiring, firing, or dealing with workplace issues like harassment complaints or requests for accommodation. 

Of course, it depends. Not every employee is going to be litigious, but a fair number are. It’s generally pretty easy for employees to get legal consultations and a lawyer to take their “wrongful dismissals” on contingency. The barrier to entry can be quite low.  

So, what can an employer expect? In today’s post, we will go through the various types of employer-worst-case-scenario employment law damages.

Continue Reading Employment Law Damages: The Risk of Not Firing Properly

executive termination package entitlements
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Unfortunately, lots of terminations are coming across our desks these days. While most employers understand that they need to provide notice of termination, many employees have a variety of different types of compensation which may or may not continue during the notice period. As with many things in law, it depends! 

Let’s go over some of the common aspects of executive termination packages.

A Primer on Notice

It all starts with notice! Unless an employee is being terminated for cause, they are entitled to notice of termination. “For cause” or “with cause” terminations are rare, so in most cases and absent egregious employee behaviour, employers will owe employees notice.

Continue Reading Termination Entitlements: Benefits, Bonuses and Commissions

enforceability of specific termination provisions
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This Ontario Court of Appeal decision has been the talk of the town on all the Ontario employment law blogs and while we don’t like to be followers, we also wanted to make sure our readers did not miss this important decision. In Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc. the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on the enforceability of specific termination provisions in an employment contract, finding the “without cause” termination provision enforceable because of a flaw in the “with cause” provision. 

Courts frequently come up with new ways of invalidating employer drafted termination provisions that would restrict an employee’s entitlement to notice. The enforceability of termination provisions is what lots of employment cases are about. A properly drafted termination provision in an employment contract can significantly limit an employee’s entitlement to notice of termination. For example, a long service employee terminated “without cause” could be entitled to as little as 8 weeks or as much as 2 years of notice depending on the contract. 
Continue Reading Employers Get Out Your Contracts: An Important Ruling on Termination Provisions

We blogged about David Heller and his fight against Uber last May when leave to the Supreme Court of Canada was granted. You can catch up on the history and read that post here. If you’re a true nerd you can also watch footage of the arguments made in the Supreme Court here!  The Supreme Court’s decision has now been released.

A Brief History

Heller, a driver for UberEats, brought a class action suit against Uber in 2017 alleging that he was an employee under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). Uber, in response to this suit, said that Heller could not sue in Ontario because of the arbitration clause in his contract with Uber. 

The Arbitration Clause

Putting aside the issue of whether Uber drivers are employees – entitled to things like public holiday pay, vacation pay, notice of termination etc. under the ESA – the suit became about the correct forum. Could Heller bring Uber to court in Ontario? Or did the arbitration clause in the contract with Uber apply?
Continue Reading UberEats Driver Fight Stays in Canada

At the end of August, our new law firm will be half a year old.  After a decade of practicing law in other peoples’ firms, I have to say, being the owner of the business is even better than I had expected.  It’s not fewer hours, has just as many (but different) headaches, and the day to day law is no less challenging than being at a big global law firm.

But the difference is, the hours, headaches and challenges are mine to own, and mine to prioritize according to client needs rather than according to big infrastructure timelines and priorities. 

But then there’s all the administrative work.


Continue Reading Employment Contracts (whether you like them or not)