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Escalating damage awards for employees at the HRTO

The Ontario Human Rights Code (the "Code") prohibits discrimination in five areas, including employment. An employee who successfully establishes a violation of the Code at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ("HRTO") may be entitled to reinstatement and back pay, an award of general damages for "injury to dignity, feelings and self-esteem," or both.

Do continued earnings from a second or side job constitute mitigation income in the post-termination period?

The applicable jurisprudence on mitigation makes it clear that following a wrongful dismissal, if an employee declines a job, then the monies that would have been earned through performing the rejected job may well be deducted from any damages ultimately obtained by the plaintiff. But what about earnings from a second job or a side job? When an employee consults on the side or has a side job that is continued into the post-termination period, will this count as mitigation income? 

"Cowboy" employer ordered to pay aggravated damages for bad faith termination

In a recent case titled Lalonde v. Sena Solid Waste Holdings Inc. 2017 ABQB 374, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench considered whether failing to hear an employee's side of the story before dismissing him for cause could increase an employer's liability.

A rollback on calculation of holiday pay for Ontario employees

As Ontario employers and employees know, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the "ESA") was recently amended by Bill 148 introducing a number of sweeping changes. Most of those changes have already come into effect, such as the increase of the minimum wage to $14 per hour effective January 1, 2018. Other changes are being introduced at a later date such as an employee having the right, without fear of reprisal, to request changes to their work schedule or location if they've been employed for 3 months.

How should HR deal with accommodation requests?

In order for the duty to accommodate to be triggered, an employee must have a legitimate reason for making such an accommodation request. For instance, if a worker claims to have a disability, he/she must present medical evidence of this disability. Similarly, if the accommodation request is based on a religious requirement, the employee must truly be a practitioner of that faith - and the religious requirement must be real, not fabricated. The need must be compelling.
So, what are the steps for approving the duty to accommodate in regards to religion?

What's new with the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017?

The year 2018 will see new protections for employees under the recently passed Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. The act was passed by the Ontario legislature on November 22, 2017 to create more opportunity and job security for workers in Ontario in a changing global economy.

Record Human Rights Damage Award for Injury to Dignity, Feelings and Self-respect: AB v Joe Singer Shoes Limited

In AB v Joe Singer Shoes Limited, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ("HRTO") awarded $200,000 to an employee for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect resulting from repeated sexual assault and harassment. This is one of the HRTO's highest damage awards.

Non-compete Agreements in Employment Contracts, are they enforceable?

Non-compete agreements and clauses are common in employment contracts. Employers use non-compete clauses to protect their business interests from competition from former employees. Often the non-compete will set out a geographic space and time within which a former employee is prevented from competing in a certain activity.

Employee awarded 12 month's pay and $24k in legal fees from employer who undermined her efforts to find new employment

In a recent case titled Ste-Croix v. Al-Hashi mi and Jawad Dentistry, following a termination without cause the Ontario Superior Court of Justice canvassed what constitutes "reasonable notice" and the factors the court will consider, what comprises reasonable efforts to mitigate damages, and when a motion for summary judgment is preferable to an unnecessary trial.

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