February 17, 2015

The Ontario Government Announces Public Consultations on Labour Laws

The Ontario Government today announced that it would follow through on its “commitment made in the 2014 Throne Speech” and launch public consultations on the changing nature of the modern workplace to commence.  According to the News Release: The public consultations will focus how the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and Employment Standards Act, 2000 could be [...]

February 17, 2015

Exceptional Circumstances Needed to Exceed 24 Months Reasonable Notice

The Ontario Court of Appeal in Kotecha v. Affinia Canada ULC, 2014 ONCA 411 (CanLII) considered an appeal of a reasonable notice award of 24.5 months given to a 70 year old machine operator earning an annual salary of $37,918.40 having 20 years service with an auto parts manufacturer. Background Mr. Kotecha brought a motion for [...]

February 17, 2015

Assessing Credibility is not a Science

Arriving at the truth is the aim of any adjudication.  But that’s easier said than done.  Decision makers (judges, arbitrators, statutory bodies such as the human rights tribunal or labour relations board) have to assess the credibility of witnesses when weighing accounts of disputed facts   Employers also must assess credibility in cases where a conflict about [...]

February 5, 2015

When is a Resignation a Resignation with Teeth?

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal considered this in Kerr v. Valley Volkswagen, 2015 NSCA 7.  It upheld the trial judgement where the court held that the employee had resigned his employment.  Essentially, he gave the employer an ultimatum, – give him a raise or he quits.  After letting the matter sit for a few weeks, [...]

November 24, 2014

Common Employer Doctrine is Alive and Well

An Ontario judge in de Kever v. Nemato Corp. 2014 ONSC 6576 (CanLII) recently reviewed the law applicable to the so called common employer doctrine.  Ms. de Kever sued for a declaration that all the Defendants were her common employer and she sues for damages for wrongful dismissal. The leading case in the area is [...]

September 25, 2014

Michael Fitzgibbon Interviewed in HRPA “Back to Basics”

Mike Fitzgibbon was interviewed in the recent HRPA article Back to Basics where he briefly discussed the trend in case law relating to the interpretation of employment contracts. On October 22, 2014 Mike will be speaking at the 2014 HR Law Conference about developments in employment contracts.

September 2, 2014

The Duty to Mitigate and its Impact on Damages

In most wrongful dismissal cases, the court is required to address the trifecta of issues: What is the applicable period of reasonable notice of termination to which the terminated employee is entitled following an application of the usual factors set out in the seminal case of Bardal v. Globe and Mail and those that have followed it? [...]

August 29, 2014

Entitlement to Bonus Payments on Termination

Employers will sometimes include language such as the employee will only receive a bonus if he or she is employed on the date the bonus is paid out. Courts have shown some reluctance to enforce such arrangements. The issue was recently considered in Jivraj v Strategic Maintenance Ltd, 2014 ABQB 463. The issues were: What is [...]

August 11, 2014

Dangers of Fixed Term Contracts

Fixed term contracts can be valuable tools for managing short term or temporary assignments, but can be dangerous and costly to employers.  There are many ways that these types of employment arrangements can go sideways with significant implications on the employer.  As one example, the renewing fixed term contract over many years (see Ceccol v. Ontario [...]

July 18, 2014

When is a Resignation a Voluntary Resignation?

Answering this question is, sometimes, not easy.  The issue was most recently discussed by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Geddes v Silvestri Holdings Inc, 2014 ABQB 416 (CanLII), a case in which the court was required to consider whether an employee resigned or was constructively dismissed. The employee and her business partner had [...]