Friday, 16 February 2018

Workplace Harassment “Arises From” but does not “Relate To” Employment

(c) istock/Sergenikolaev

Does workplace harassment simply “arise from and in the course of” an employee’s employment, or does it actually “relate to” that employment?

That question, as incredibly pedantic as it may appear, was of material consequence to a decision of the Ontario Grievance Settlement Board issued January 23, 2018: OPSEU and Ontario (Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services) (Rosati), Re, 2018 CarswellOnt 1017.

In short, the answer to that question drove the analysis as to whether a claim for workplace harassment was compensable pursuant to the newly revised provisions of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Employers May Not Make Changes to Terms of Employment During Working Notice Period

(c) istock/ronniechua

In the 1997 movie “Wag the Dog” the spin doctors hired to get the President re-elected release an ad campaign with the slogan “Never change horses in mid-stream.” That idiom serves as a powerful and important reminder for employers that might seek to change the terms of an employee’s employment during a period of so-called “working notice.”

In a short decision released by the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Nufrio v. Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, 2017 ONCA 948 (CanLII), Ontario’s top court reinforced this principle.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Employers Can No Longer Require Employees to Wear High Heel Shoes – Except in “Entertainment and Advertising Industry”

Can an employer force an employee to wear a shoe with an elevated heel – aka “high heels” – if wearing such shoes is not required for the worker to perform his or her work safely?

As of November 27, 2017, and as a result of the implementation of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, S.O. 2017 C.22, formerly Bill 148, the answer to that question is “no” - unless you work in the “entertainment and advertising industry”.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Court of Appeal Confirms that Silence is Golden

(c) istock/RazoomGames

Silence is golden. According to that proverbial saying it is sometimes better to say nothing than to speak.

So what does this ancient saying, and 1964 The Four Seasons’ B-side, have to do with employment law? In short, in Nemeth v. Hatch Ltd., 2018 ONCA 7 (CanLII), the the Court of Appeal for Ontario essentially said as much when it comes to termination clauses.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

The Legality of Taking Away Paid Breaks and Benefits

(c) istock/MatthewSinger

Unless one has been living under a rock, and perhaps even if one has, it would be hard to have missed the controversy surrounding the decision of one Tim Horton’s franchise to make certain changes to the terms of its employees’ employment. Because the internet needs the opinion of one more person, let’s have a look at what happened and the legality (not necessarily the morality) of same.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Workers Now Eligible for WSIB Benefits for Chronic Mental Stress and Workplace Harassment

(c) istock/AntonioGuillem

On May 17, 2017, the Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, S.O. 2017 C.8 , formerly Bill 127, received Royal Assent. That act, which was omnibus legislation, amended no fewer than 48 statutes, including the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. This post will focus on the changes to that statute.

Pursuant to Schedule 33 of the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, employees eligible for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) benefits, are now eligible to make claims for “chronic or traumatic mental stress arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment”

On December 14, 2017, the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, S.O. 2017 C.22, formerly Bill 177, received Royal Assent. That act, which was also omnibus legislation, amended no fewer than 110 statutes, including the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. This statute further amended the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 with respect to claims for chronic or traumatic mental stress.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Enhanced Vacation Entitlements After Five Years – What Counts as Five Years?

(c) istock/Ekaterina79

Amongst the changes ushered in by the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, S.O. 2017 C.22, formerly Bill 148, is the provision of three weeks of paid vacation after five years of employment.

But what counts in the computation of those five years? Are seasonal workers who work every season, but not continuously, going to add together their time? What about someone who left and then returned? How long is five years?