Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Chronic Absenteeism: Employer Rights and Obligations

(c) istock/Olivier Le Moal

This blog has previously considered the issue of the rights of chronically absent employees. However, there is a flip side to the situation: the rights of employers.

The two most frequently asked questions by employers with respect to the chronically absent are: (1) Can I fire this individual; and (2) If I can fire this employee, how much is it going to cost me?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Employee Fired for Receiving WSIB Benefits Receives Human Rights Damages

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”) recently held that an employee terminated for claiming WSIB benefits was entitled to Human Rights damages: Defina v. Lithocolor Services Ltd., 2012 HRTO 1768 (CanLII), released September 18, 2012 (Adjudicator Ian Mackenzie.) The case confirmed that where an employee is receiving WSIB benefits, terminating an employee because of the receipt of those benefits is discriminatory and contrary to the protections afforded by the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Chronic Absenteeism: Employee Rights

(c) istock/Highwaystarz-Photography

Every year Forbes magazine releases a list of the most ridiculous excuses for calling in sick. Other publications do similar things. In its list from 2011, Forbes listed amongst its favourite worst reasons:

One employee said he couldn’t make it to work because his 12-year-old daughter stole his car. Another called in sick with a headache from going to too many garage sales. One employee claimed he had caught a cold from a puppy.

While lists like these can be amusing, they highlight a more serious issue: employee absenteeism. According to the same Forbes article:

CareerBuilder does an annual survey on absenteeism, and [in 2011] the poll reached out to more than 4,300 workers and 2,600 employers. It revealed that 29% of employees have skipped at least one work day this year by claiming to be sick when they weren’t.

The study raises two important questions: What are an employee’s rights to sick days under Ontario law, and what are an employer’s rights? This post will focus on an employee’s rights and responsibilities. (For a review of employer's rights, please see this post.)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Supreme Court of Canada: Employees’ Rights to Privacy with Work Equipment

Do employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in employer-provided technology?

In an update to my earlier post Employees’ Rights to Privacy with Work Equipment, on October 19, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada has released its decision in the case of R. v. Cole, 2012 SCC 53.

The case answers the question of whether an employee can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in employer-provided technology.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Remedies for the Unionized Wrongfully Dismissed

What is the appropriate remedy for a unionized employee wrongfully dismissed from the federal government?

In the latest installment of Thu-Cùc Lâm’s legal saga, which is a story that commences with her July 12, 2006 termination of employment from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Public Service Labour Relations Board provided its most recent answer to that question.

Unpaid Internships

Reading my twitter feed, one would think that the issue of unpaid internships was the hottest issue going. For some, like Andrew Langille (@youthandwork), perhaps it is; Andrew’s devotion and commitment to the issue is to be lauded. However last week Mr. Langille did something unexpected, he called out a friend of mine, Ryan Creighton (@UntoldEnt) of Untold Entertainment, for his use of unpaid interns.

The ‘attack’ raised an important question: are unpaid internships an exercise in employer exploitation or are they a legitimate attempt to provide vocational experience?

Former Walmart Employee Awarded $1.5 Million for Mistreatment

This week an Ontario jury ordered Walmart to pay nearly $1.5 million dollars to a former Windsor, Ontario-store employee who claimed that she was subjected to profane and insulting mental abuse over six-month period by her 32-year old store manager.