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What Remedies Can You Seek if you File an Employment Standards Complaint
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Employment Law

What Remedies Can You Seek if you File an Employment Standards Complaint

By Employment Law

Let’s say that you are owed commission from your former employer. Or, you may be owed overtime by your current employer. Or, perhaps your employer hasn’t paid you equal pay for equal work. All these scenarios are addressed by Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “Act”) – which sets out employees’ minimum statutory rights and entitlements. Section 74 of the Act also protects employees from retaliatory measures being taken against them by the employer for invoking their rights under the Act. For instance, terminating an employee or reducing their work hours in reprisal for their attempts to exercise their rights…

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What Are Trial Periods During Constructive Dismissal Claims?

By Employment Law

If an employer unilaterally alters the fundamental terms of an employee’s working conditions, the employee is entitled to object to the change and consider their employment as having been terminated. This is called a constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissals often arise from significant changes to an employee’s pay structure, a geographical transfer, a demotion, and significant changes to job responsibilities. However, other circumstances can also result in a fundamental breach of the employment relationship. For instance, constructive dismissal claims can materialize from an intolerable workplace. If an employer wants to maintain flexibility while mitigating the risk of a constructive dismissal claim,…

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Overtime Pay Case 12 Years in the Making a Big Win for Non-Unionized Employees

By Employment Law

In June 2007, a representative Plaintiff named Dara Fresco commenced a class action on behalf of some 31,000 customer service employees who had worked for CIBC between 1999 and 2009. The claim was titled Dara Fresco v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. It was eventually certified by the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Ms. Fresco’s central claim was that CIBC’s overtime policies and record-keeping systems contravened the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) and, as a result, thousands of front-line bank employees were not compensated for the overtime hours they worked. Section 174 of the Code provides that when an employee…

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Mediation and It’s Growing Role in Legal Dispute Resolution

By Employment Law

Mediation is a dispute resolution process where an impartial third party called a “mediator” assists disputing parties in resolving conflict using specialized communication and negotiation techniques. A mediator canvasses the legal issues with parties and attempts to manage parties’ legal positions and expectations so that parties are more likely to settle. All participants in mediation are encouraged to actively participate in the process. Mediation is a “party-centered” process in that it is focused primarily upon the needs, rights, and interests of the parties. Superior Court of Justice Cases Chances are, if you are suing your former employer for wrongful dismissal in…

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Legal Options for Unionized Employees

By Employment Law

Many unionized employees reach out to our office intent on suing their employer. Due to their unionized status, these employees have limited legal options and find themselves in a unique legal predicament, since they cannot sue their employer in court. Supreme Court decisions have held that individuals whose employment relationships are governed by a collective bargaining agreement are precluded from resolving their disputes through the courts. The Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Weber v. Ontario Hydro,[1] confirmed that arbitration clauses such as those contained in Ontario’s Labour Relations Act, 1995[2] give labour tribunals such as the Ontario Labour Relations Board…

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Preventing Discrimination Based on Genetic Information

By Employment Law

We live in a time of rapid technological advancements, and that includes the field of biotechnology. As services that provide commercial genetic screening become more widespread and affordable, peoples’ genetic information is becoming more accessible. This information includes genetic predispositions to physical characteristics, personality traits, and disorders, to name a few. Unfortunately, this opens up the possibility of people being assessed and responded to based on their genes. Federal and provincial governments are aware of this possibility. They have begun taking steps to protect people from discrimination based on their genetic characteristics. In Ontario, Bill 40, the Human Rights Code…

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Is Your Termination Clause Enforceable?

By Employment Law

At common law, employers are free to terminate employees without cause at any time. However, employers must provide employees with reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice. Reasonable notice is advance notice intended to provide an employee with the opportunity to find alternate employment. One of the main reasons employers draft employment agreements is to limit the amount of reasonable notice owed to an employee upon their termination without cause. This is often the raison d’etre for these contracts, from a legal standpoint. Employers do this by including termination clauses in employment contracts that rebut the presumption of common…

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Have Your Statutory Rights Been Violated? A Ministry of Labour Complaint Could be Your Most Effective Legal Avenue

By Employment Law

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (“the Act” or “ESA”) regulates employment in the province of Ontario and covers minimum wage, maximum work hours, overtime, equal pay and leaves of absence. The Act sets out minimum employee entitlements as well as corresponding enforcement mechanisms. What many people may not know is that the Act empowers Ontario’s Ministry of Labour to investigate and adjudicate incidents in which an employee’s rights under the Act have allegedly been infringed. Specifically, the Ministry’s Provincial Claims Centre receives complaints of contraventions of the Act, which are investigated by employment standards officers. Employment standards officers are then tasked…

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Can Time Spent as an Independent Contractor Factor into Reasonable Notice of Termination Calculations?

By Employment Law

At common law, both employees and dependent contractors are entitled to reasonable notice of termination or payment in lieu thereof. In determining the length of the reasonable notice period in any particular case, courts will look at the Bardal factors, which include: character of employment, length of service, the plaintiff’s age, and the availability of alternative employment. Generally, “length of service” is given a significant amount of weight. Until recently, “length of service” was generally assumed to refer to time spent as an employee or dependent contractor. However, a recent decision by the Court of Appeal for Ontario has raised…

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Can Poor Economic Conditions Increase Reasonable Notice Period?

By Employment Law

Whenever the economy takes a downturn, people are more likely to lose their jobs. But does the state of the economy affect the reasonable notice period and employee is entitled to? As it turns out, it does. The fact that poor economic conditions increase the reasonable notice period can be traced back to the landmark case, Bardal v Globe and Mail Ltd. (1960), 24 DLR (2d) 140 (ONSC). This case sets out the basis for determining the reasonable notice period. Bardal holds that one of the key factors that shape the reasonable notice period is “the availability of similar employment”….

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