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Is Your Employer Allowed to Lay You Off?

By Employment Law

Employers lay off their employees for a variety of reasons. Whether it be due to lack of work, financial issues, or some other reason, the impact is still the same for employees – loss of work. However, many people do not know whether they can do anything in response to being laid off. This post will outline some of the basic principles relating to layoffs and how employees can respond. What Is a Layoff? Many people believe that a layoff is the same thing as a termination. This is not the case – a layoff refers to an employer reducing…

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Are Terminated Employees Entitled to Unvested Stock Options That Would Have Vested During the Notice Period?

By Employment Law

The answer: Yes. How did we get here? The answer lies in the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s evolving approach to this issue in recent years. A terminated employee’s right to exercise stock options during the reasonable notice period has been an increasingly litigated issue that has been rife with uncertainty. Employers often take the position that the language used in these employee incentive agreements results in their cancellation on the date of termination. Unsurprisingly, employees assert entitlement to all non-discretionary remuneration that was a fundamental part of their compensation. In 2004, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released a…

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Arbitration Clauses and Contracting Out of Employment Standards Legislation – Why the Gig Economy Faces Uber Big Problems

By Uncategorized

One of the more recent additions to the modern landscape has been technology-based, independent contractor working relationships that are highly flexible and remote. Many have called the system made up of these new work arrangements the “gig economy.” The gig economy offers drivers, dog walkers, language speakers, and any other service provider, an ability to freelance their services through savvy tech companies like Uber and Foodora that have built powerful apps that link the freelancer to the customer.   While ingenious and an effective capitalization on the power of the internet, this new model has had some perverse effects on workers’…

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Don Cherry Fired from Sportsnet – Can an Employee be Fired for Making Controversial Remarks?

By Uncategorized

On November 9, 2019, legendary Hockey analyst Don Cherry made remarks during an on-air Coach’s Corner segment insinuating that immigrants benefit from the sacrifices made by Canada’s veterans but rarely wear poppies to acknowledge their sacrifices. Mr. Cherry’s off the cuff political commentary proved to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. On November 11, just two days later, Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley announced that Cherry had been fired.   Cherry’s fate begs the question: Did Sportsnet have a legal leg to stand on? Can an employer fire an employee for making controversial remarks?  Whether Mr. Cherry was terminated with or without…

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Can Negative Performance Affect Bonus Owed to an Employee During the Reasonable Notice Period?

By Uncategorized

As regular readers would know, if an employee has been terminated without cause, and the employee’s contract does not contain language limiting entitlements at termination to statutory minimums, that employee is owed reasonable notice of termination or pay in lieu thereof. The legal jargon for this is “common law notice.”      The common law notice period is the period of time that a court determines a terminated employee would reasonably need to secure alternative, similar employment. Generally, the notice period consists of one month for every year of service. The notice period can fluctuate based on the principles established in…

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Are You Being Subjected to Workplace Harassment and, If So, What Can You Do About It?

By Uncategorized

Unfortunately, many employees have negative experiences while at work. These can come in the form of not getting along with a co-worker, unfair performance reviews, getting yelled at by the boss, or any number of other situations that may come up in the workplace. However, it is not always easy to tell whether what one has been subjected to at his or her place of employment constitutes harassment. Further, many people do not know how they can address it or what their protections are. This post will provide an overview of the law of workplace harassment in Ontario, but will…

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Ensuring Compliance with the Employment Standards Act or an Inoperative Severability Clause? Subtle Differences in the Wording of Termination Provisions Can Lead to Opposite Effects

By Uncategorized

As courts have become more flexible in deciding whether termination clauses in employment agreements are enforceable, the arguments that specific clauses are not have gotten more creative. In Amberber v. IBM Canada Ltd., 2018 ONCA 571, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the trial judge’s holding that a termination clause was void because a sentence that attempted to ensure compliance with the Employment Standards Act (ESA) was actually a severability clause that was inoperative and could not save the rest of the provision. In North v. Metaswitch Networks Corporation, 2017 ONCA 790, the Court of Appeal affirmed the following rule: …

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Full Documentary Disclosure and Privacy Obligations to Third Parties – Are They Mutually Exclusive?

By Uncategorized

One of the fundamental doctrines of litigation is full documentary disclosure. Courts have vigilantly upheld the rule that all relevant documents should be disclosed so that the opposing party knows the case to be met. The principle is so deeply embedded in our justice system that before an affidavit of documents (a brief of relevant evidence) is sent to an opposing party, a lawyer must sign a certificate stating that he or she has explained to the client that they are required to make full disclosure. A court can sanction a party for failing to disclose relevant documents that are…

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How Billing Percentages Can Make or Break Your Dependent Contractor Status

By Uncategorized

Being classified as a dependent contractor versus an independent contractor is important for several reasons. For one, dependent contractors are entitled to reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice. However, independent contractors enjoy no such entitlement. Despite this difference, classifying workplace relationships can be a tricky endeavor. Canadian courts rely heavily on the context of the working arrangement. The terms of a contract, though persuasive, are not the only deciding factors. They are not determinative.      Accordingly, Canadian courts have established five tests to consider when attempting to determine whether a dependent contractor relationship exists between an agent and…

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McDonald’s Fires CEO over Office Romance – How to Navigate the Not-So-Rosy Waters of Office Romances

By Uncategorized

We spend long hours at our workplaces. That, coupled with plenty of social time at happy-hours, retirement parties and team-building social activities, makes workplaces optimal environments for relationships to flourish, be they platonic or romantic. Office romances are inevitable. The legal implications of engaging in an office romance, however, are complicated. There are important consequences that employees and employers should understand when faced with an office romance, depending on the nature of the relationship and the employer’s policy.  Nature of the Relationship  Recently, McDonalds fired its CEO over a relationship he was having with an employee. The board of directors fired Stephen…

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