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Just Cause and Appropriate Notice Period
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Just Cause and Appropriate Notice Period

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In Ruston v Keddco Mfg. (2011) Ltd., the Court of Appeal for Ontario considered the issues of just cause for employee termination and the appropriate notice period owed to the employee if the employer did not have cause to terminate? The Court found that the trial judge was correct in finding that the employer failed to prove just causation in terminating the employee. The Court also agrees with the trial judges award of a 19-month notice period. The trial judge applied the Bardal factors and emphasized important considerations, such as the appellants age (54), finding of close family ties to…

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Making a WSIB Worker’s Compensation Claim for Chronic Mental Stress

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As of January 1, 2018, claims for work-related chronic mental stress have been recognized in workplace compensation cases in Ontario. The vast majority of these chronic mental stress claims however have been unsuccessful given the difficult criteria required to prove these claims. A worker is generally entitled to benefits for chronic mental stress “if an appropriately diagnosed mental stress injury is caused by a substantial work-related stressor.” In addition, the WSIB decision maker must be able to identify what has happened to cause chronic mental stress, including gathering information from co-workers and supervisory staff. This process represents a significant barrier…

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Ontario Court of Appeal Upholds award of 60 Thousand Dollars in Moral Damages in Case of a Victim of Sexual Harassment Fired after Making a Complaint

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In a recent case, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a substantial award of moral damages to an employee subjected to long-term sexual harassment, after she made a formal complaint to her manager. Unfortunately, such behavior from employers continues to persist despite the present anti-discrimination laws, and hopefully cases like these set a trend of strong enforcement, which would serve as a more effective deterrent to employers. In this case, the employee worked for the employer for almost a decade, and was the only woman in the workplace at the time she was fired. The employee was subjected to continuous…

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De Bousquet PC helps recover 62 thousand dollars in damages for a father fired for seeking parental leave to help with newborn child

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As a new parent, you are entitled to take unpaid time off work for up to 37 weeks to take care of your newborn child. This right applies to both parents, and the employer is legally required to provide you with your old job at the end of the leave. The employer is also not permitted to retaliate, or punish you in any way, for taking the time off to spend with your family. Unfortunately employers often consciously violate these rights and returning employees frequently find that either they no longer have a job, or that the job responsibilities or…

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Court Upholds an Employee-Friendly Interpretation of Termination Provisions in Employment Contracts

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As an employee, by law, you are entitled to reasonable notice of termination of your employment. Employers however, often attempt to limit your legal entitlements by explicitly defining your rights upon termination in the employment contract. In the recent case of Singh v Qualified Metal Fabricators Ltd. an Ontario Court adopted an employee-friendly interpretation of these termination provisions, resolving the potential ambiguities in favour of the employee. While employers are allowed to contractually limit employees’ common-law reasonable notice requirements, they are required to do so with complete precision. In this case, an employee was terminated after 4 years of employment…

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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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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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