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Employers Can Exclude Days Spent on Maternity Leave for Purposes of Calculating Seniority for Casual Employees, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Says
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De Bousquet PC of De Bousquet PC

Employers Can Exclude Days Spent on Maternity Leave for Purposes of Calculating Seniority for Casual Employees, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Says

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The seniority system used by an employer is a very important consideration for the employees, as it affects the employees’ pay, and often benefits and other aspects of the employer-employee relationship. In a recent case , the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruled that a casual employee’s inability to accrue seniority while on maternity leave was not discrimination on the basis of sex. As such the Tribunal allowed employers to exclude the time spent on maternity leave for purposes of calculating seniority. In this case the employee was a casual education assistant for the employer. As a casual employee, she…

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Employees Must Give Reasonable Notice Before Quitting Confirms the British Columbia Court of Appeal

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While we often help employees who did not receive reasonable notice of termination from their employer, it is often forgotten that employees also owe a similar duty to provide notice to the employer before resigning. This common law duty was the subject of the recent case of Consbec Inc. v Walker. In this case, the BC Court of Appeal reaffirmed the existence of the duty owed by employees to the employer. In this case a 5-year manager of a company decided to suddenly quit without giving notice to the employer. The employee was the only person in charge of running…

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Court speaks on the enforceability of termination clauses and the mandatory minimums under the Employment Standards Act

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Generally employees must be provided with the minimum entitlements to notice, benefits and severance in compliance with the Employment Standards Act (ESA) upon termination without cause. If an employee is provided with less than what is required under this legislation due to their employment contract falling below those minimums, or failing to address those requirements altogether (e.g. failing to address the right to benefits continuation), the court will find those employment provisions void, and the employee will be awarded the right to common law pay in lieu of notice, which generally exceeds the legislative minimums. In the recent decision of…

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Government Takes a Stronger Stance on Sexual Harassment

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As some of the recent cases we talked about on this blog illustrate (link to article about De Anna Granes), in addition to facing long hours, and strenuous working conditions, workers in the service industry can also often face harassing behaviour from their superiors. While some workers are able to obtain damages for injuries to their dignity and self-respect, many more continue to struggle with harassment due to fear of losing their jobs, or perhaps insufficient knowledge about their rights as employees. We find that often employees themselves believe that such behaviour is the norm and that dealing with it…

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Dependent Contractors are entitled to reasonable notice of employment termination, Ontario Court of Appeal rules

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The recent decision of Keenan v. Canac Kitchens (Keenan), confirms that dependant contractors are entitled to reasonable notice of employment termination. The required notice period can extend to years, and such as in this case, amount to 26 months. In Keenan, two long-term contractors of a kitchen cabinet manufacturing firm, with a total of over 50 years of experience with the company, were dismissed without notice. The pair were first hired as employees, but were later told that they would be classified as contractors, and signed new agreements for this purpose. They were required to use their own cars as…

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Employers responsible for protecting their employees from harassment on social media finds an Ontario Labour Arbitrator

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According to a recent decision by an Ontario labour arbitrator, employers may now be liable for not protecting their employees from harassment on the employer’s social media accounts. In this decision, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) workers’ union filed a grievance regarding the TTC’s social media account created to communicate with the general public, alleging that the account served as a platform to harass TTC employees. The arbitrator granted the union’s grievance, despite the employer’s argument that, in this time of readily-available internet access, it is impossible for an employer to effectively filter all harassing social media posts. The arbitrator…

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Hot temper of an employee may provide just cause for dismissal says a recent Alberta decision

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In the recent Alberta case of Turner v Atco Frontec Corp the court held that an employee’s hot temper culminating in inappropriate and aggressive behavior towards another employee might provide adequate just cause for dismissal. The deterioration of the relationship between the employee and the rest of the team was found to be, in and of itself, an adequate ground of dismissal, independent of any finding of harassment towards other employees. In this case, Mr. Turner alleged wrongful dismissal after he was terminated due to coming into conflict with another member of the employer’s team. The employee had a history…

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Ontario Human Rights Tribunal speaks on what constitutes creed-based belief protected under the Human Rights Code

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The Ontario Human Rights Code protects one from discrimination due to both religious and creed-based beliefs. Unfortunately, the Code does not define “creed” and, while courts have interpreted “creed” in a rather broad manner (link to blog about veganism as creed) to also include sincerely-held non-religious beliefs, this remains an uncertain area of law. The recent case of Barker v. St. Elizabeth Health Care provides much needed guidance on the question of what is legitimate creed-based belief as opposed to mere personal preference. In this case, a Rastafarian man claimed that his home healthcare provider discriminated against him by continuing to send…

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Employees of Federally-Regulated Employers cannot be dismissed without cause, the Supreme Court of Canada Rules

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In the most recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court established that the common law rule that a non-unionized employee can be dismissed without cause is not applicable to federally-regulated employers. In other words, federally regulated employers are always required to provide just cause or reasons for the dismissal of non-unionized employees, or may face the broad remedies provided under the Canada Labour Code, including reinstatement. In this significant case, an employee of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited was dismissed without cause or reasons after almost 5 years with the employer. The employee filed a suit alleging…

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Human Rights Tribunal awards nearly $30,000 to a restaurant worker groped by a drunken boss

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As an employee, you have a right to a workplace free from harassment and unwanted sexual advances. Unfortunately, as this case illustrates, women still face a disproportionally high risk of sexual harassment and assault, especially in the restaurant, bar and entertainment industries. The case below illustrates the seriousness of such conduct, especially when abuse by somebody in a position of authority is involved. In this case the applicant, De Anna Granes, worked at the respondent’s restaurant as a server prior to the incident. [1] One night, one of the co-owners became inebriated after consuming a number of drinks at the bar and…

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