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Signing Deals with the Devil – Employment Contracts and You

By Employment Law

A common trope in popular culture is the deal with the devil, where a person signs away their soul for something. The usual result is that the devil tricks them, and the promised reward is not what they were expecting or had agreed to.  This would not be enforceable in Canada, and a client could sue for their soul back, performance of the contract so what they thought they were getting is delivered, or monetary damages for the loss of their soul and failure to receive what was agreed to, or combinations of the above.  A large reason this trope…

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9 Do’s and Don’ts of Employment Law

By Employment Law

1. Do actually read before signing. In our modern lives we are presented with a lot of legal documents we must agree to for services. This unfortunately has led to a pattern of just hitting accept on a two-hundred-page End Use License Agreement. A contract of employment, which includes any documents you sign relating to your job no matter the title, should not be two-hundred pages. If after reading it, you have questions, ask a lawyer to go over the contract with you. Think of it as an insurance policy. [If your future employer o1bjects to you having a lawyer…

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Ghosting the Employee- Postponing the Problem of Covid-19 Layoffs

By Employment Law

You’ve been sitting at home staring at your phone and waiting for them to call and answer your messages. At first, it was a week. Then a month. And now you’re here. You weren’t ghosted by your date. You’ve been ghosted by your employer.  On Thursday, September 3, 2020, the Government of Ontario made a public announcement regarding their further extension of the Covid-19 period for O. Reg. 228/20: Infections Disease Emergency Leave. Under s. 6 of the regulation, if an employee’s hours of work or their wages are reduced or eliminated during the Covid-19 period, they will not be…

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Are Uber Drivers Employees?

By Employment Law

In this digital age where the technology is revolutionizing the gig economy, food delivery and the taxi industries have been taken over by mobile apps. Uber is a popular multinational ride-hailing company that operates in Ontario. The drivers and riders may arrange for rides through the Uber mobile app, which also facilitates payments. The independent contractor drivers are a part of a growing gig economy, where workers may choose to accept each ride assignment at their own time. Uber drivers range from those who take the occasional, part-time gig to earn some cash on the side to full-time drivers who…

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What Happens if my Employer Goes Bankrupt?

By Employment Law

When an employer declares or is declared bankrupt, or goes into receivership, it can be terrifying for an employee. Not only will employees be about to or already have lost their job, but because a bankruptcy event has occurred there are not enough funds to pay everyone owed. At the bare minimum a final paycheck will be owed, but often months of pay or other entitlements will be unpaid. Employees can easily come to the wrong conclusion about their rights in this situation. Given that they will be competing with banks and large corporations who will have extensive legal agreements,…

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Do Employment Releases Apply to Sexual Harassment?

By Employment Law

When employers and employees settle disputes relating to the cessation of the employee’s employment, the employee will generally be required to sign a release document that will prevent him or her from bringing any claims or applications against the former employer relating to his or her employment. Although straightforward on its face, sometimes it can difficult to determine when an issue is employment-related for the purposes of such a release. In Watson v. The Governing Council of the Salvation Army of Canada, 2018 ONSC 1066, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had to determine whether sexual harassment in the workplace…

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“Consideration” and Employment Law – How Archaic Legal Principles are Still Relevant to Very Modern Legal Problems

By Employment Law

An employment contract is the central document that binds both parties, by setting out their legal obligations and responsibilities. When a dispute arises, a judge analyzes the contract to try and determine what the parties agreed to. A contract of employment can exist between parties, even if it has not been reduced to writing. After-all, if the employee is performing work, and the employer is paying for the work, there is an agreement between the parties. Employment relationships that are not reduced to writing are often more favorable to the employee, especially because in most cases, a written contract serves…

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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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Allocating Payments in a Wrongful Dismissal Action

By Employment Law

As some regular readers may know, an overwhelming majority of wrongful dismissal claims never end up proceeding to trial. Instead, they settle out of court without ever being adjudicated. When considering the vast resources, time, energy and stress involved with litigating a claim, settlement often makes the most sense. Were a matter to proceed to trial, it means that the dispute would end up on the public record. Very seldomly will a party wish for its dirty laundry to be aired out in the public forum, especially where claims of bad faith are made, or where the employee was fired…

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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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