Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Application Seeking Declaration of No Improper Doing in Firing of Employee on Maternity Leave Declared Abuse of Process

Is the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”) an appropriate body to decide whether a woman was fired for “legitimate business reasons”? According to a decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Power Tax v. Millar, DioGuardi, 2013 ONSC 135 (CanLII) the answer is, “of course.”

Monday, 25 March 2013

$300,000 in Exceptional Damages Awarded for Denied LTD Benefits Claim

An Ontario judge has ordered an insurer to pay $100,000 in aggravated damages and $200,000 in punitive damages after finding that the insurer had wrongfully denied its insured long-term disability benefits.

In a decision released March 22, 2013, Fernandes v. Penncorp, 2013 ONSC 1637 (CanLII), the Honourable Justice Peter Hambly ordered Penncord Life Insurance Company to pay the damages to an injured employee.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Privacy Rights and the WSIB


Can an employer of a worker receiving WSIB benefits obtain access to that worker's personal information and medical records?

In a case decided earlier this year by the Ontario Divisional Court, Lambton Kent District School Board v. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, 2013 ONSC 839 (CanLII), the answer would appear to be not unless the worker consents.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Are Random Drug and Alcohol Tests Legal?

A controversial and contentious area of workplace law concerns the issue of random drug and alcohol testing. It is important to note that the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 does not specifically address the issue, thus leaving the issue to labour boards, courts, and the Human Rights Tribunals.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Who is a Manager under the Canada Labour Code?


“I want to speak to the manager!” In retail and customer service environments determining the identity of the manager can be easy: he or she is the individual in the tie instead of the golf shirt.

For the purposes of unjust dismissal complaints made under the Canada Labour Code, however, determining whether an employee is a “manager” is a little more complicated.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

How to Tell if an Ontario Worker is a Construction Employee

There are exceptions to every rule. For example, not all workers in Ontario are covered by all aspects of Ontario’s employment laws. Some workers’ rights, for example bank employees and those who work for airlines, are governed by the Canada Labour Code. In other cases, even those who are generally covered by the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 are not covered for all aspects.

One such exemption is with respect to “construction employees.” However, sometimes determining whether a worker is a “construction employee” is more complicated than it may initially appear.

What is the Maximum Amount of Reasonable Notice Under Ontario Law?

What is the maximum amount of reasonable notice, also referred to as severance, to which an employee dismissed in Ontario can be entitled under Ontario employment law? As at least one observer has asked, is the sky now the limit? See: Reasonable notice: The sky’s the limit?

The question was asked following the 2012 decision of the Ontario Superior Court in Abrahim et al v. Sliwin et al, 2012 ONSC 6295 (CanLII), in which the Honourable Justice Douglas Gray held, on an undefended default motion that, “I fail to see how a cap of 24 months, or indeed any maximum, is appropriate.

It is Justice Gray’s decision that perhaps no maximum is appropriate that has led some to question that perhaps the sky is indeed now the limit.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Single, Childless Employees Have Human Rights Too


In a provocative article in today’s Washington Post, “Single, childless and want work-life balance? How taboo” columnist Jena McGregor argues that it is unfair for single, childless employees to be expected to carry the weight for employees with child care obligations.

It is unclear whether Ms. McGregor is aware of the recent Canadian Federal Court decision, which held that child care obligations are the sine qua non of “family status,” a protected ground on which employers cannot discriminate. If she was aware, she does not make reference to it. But the article does permit a consideration of the concerns that that decision raised.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Can I be Fired for Being Pregnant?


For a great number of working women it is one of the single greatest concerns, “Can I be fired for being pregnant?” There are, at least, nine questions embedded in that question:
  1. Can I be fired for getting pregnant?
  2. Can I be fired for being pregnant?
  3. Can I be fired for taking pregnancy or parental leave?
  4. What about my benefits while I am on leave?
  5. What about my seniority?
  6. Can I be fired while on pregnancy leave?
  7. Can I be fired after returning from pregnancy leave?
  8. How much severance should I get if I am fired?
  9. What about EI?
While this blog has previously canvassed the topic of an Ontario woman’s rights in employment, (Fired After Maternity Leave and Are New Parents Entitled to Accommodation) this post will attempt to bring together, in one place, some comprehensive answers to this question of labour.