January 15, 2014

Progressive Discipline and Collective Agreements

Progressive discipline and performance management is part of the employment relationship.  It’s a part that most managers and employees would like to avoid.  But it’s reality and critically important to business and individual success. An Alberta Arbitrator recently considered progressive discipline in a unionized environment where progressive discipline was specifically referenced in the collective agreement.  [...]

January 14, 2014

Controversy Over Sick Notes Continues

Last week I wrote a post on my blog entitled Don’t Ask for “Sick Notes” is a Bit Too Surgical.  A Toronto Star article (TTC says sick-note policy has curbed absenteeism) discusses some additional matters about sick notes.   The article suggests: Forcing TTC workers to get a doctor’s note after one day of sickness — one [...]

January 13, 2014

Is a lay-off a constructive dismissal?

The Supreme Court of British Columbia recently considered this in Hooge v. Gillwood Remanufacturing Inc., 2014 BCSC 11 (CanLII).  They also considered whether the laid off employees refusal to accept a recall amounted to a failure to mitigate. The plaintiff began his employment at the Mill, as a labourer, in 1975.  He worked his way up [...]

January 8, 2014

Long-Term Trends in Unionization

I had meant to post something about a short Statistics Canada article that was released in November 2013 entitled Long Term Trends in Unionization.   The authors looked at unionization rates in Canada from 1981 to 2012.  The Overview provides a good summary of the findings.  These statistics identify some interesting trends and no doubt will [...]

January 7, 2014

Interim Injunction Granted in A Restrictive Covenant Case

Another year, another case dealing with the enforceability of restrictive covenants.  This time, the Ontario Superior Court considers the matter in A Big Mobile Sign Company Inc. v. Marshall, 2014 ONSC 16 (CanLII) and granted an interim injunction based on an executed  License Agreement between the plaintiff and defendant – it would seem that the [...]

January 2, 2014

When is Incompetence Just Cause?

The New Brunswick Court of Queens Bench considered this in Parent v Spielo Manufacturing Incorporated, 2013 CanLII 83647 (NB QB).  The employee was terminated ostensibly for just cause.  She sued, arguing that the employer did not have just cause, but that she was terminated because she was experiencing health issues and because she had responsibilities caring [...]

December 23, 2013

When is the Duty to Accommodate Triggered?

An interesting case from the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal considers this important question.  The case is Vanhelvoort v. Ontario Labour Relations Board, 2013 HRTO 1998 (CanLII) decided on December 2, 2013. The applicant alleged discrimination on the basis of her family status.  The allegation largely related to the adjudication of a claim filed by the applicant with the respondent, [...]

December 20, 2013

Failure to Investigate Fatal to Just Cause Defence

When a serious employment issue is brought to the employer’s attention, it becomes incumbent on the employer to promptly and thoroughly investigate. In certain circumstances, the employer is under a statutory duty to investigate. In other circumstances, the “obligation” is less clear. In any event, a failure to investigate can have legal implications and adversely [...]

November 19, 2013

Supreme Court of Canada Considers Picket Line Privacy

On November 15, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada weighed in on the complex issue of privacy on the picket line.  The case is Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 and arose in the context of a lawful strike by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local [...]

November 18, 2013

Who is an Employer when Reporting a Workplace Injury

The British Columbia Supreme Court recently considered “when” an “employer” is required to report a workplace injury.  More specifically, who is an employer for purposes of the reporting obligations under the Workers Compensation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 492.  The case is British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority v. Workers’ Compensation Board[2013] B.C.J. No. 2421. BC Hydro responded [...]