Sunday, 29 September 2013

Opportunities Look A Lot Like Hard Work

On September 18, 2013, Andrew Coyne wrote a provocative opinion piece for the National Post on the issue of unpaid internships: "If unpaid internships are exploitation, why don’t the kids just stay home?" In his essay Mr. Coyne advances the thesis that unpaid internships "are the job equivalent of a small-cap growth stock — no dividends, but the promise of heady capital gains in future." Essentially, the argument advanced by Mr. Coyne is that the reason some people elect to take up an unpaid internship is for the opportunities that are opened by so doing and they should be free to do so without interference.

But, Mr. Coyne's position got me thinking: are these internships really an opportunity for career advancement or are they, as others, such as Toronto labour lawyer Andrew Langille, argue, exploitation? Incredibly, I found myself thinking about something actor Ashton Kutcher said at 2013 Teen Choice Awards.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dude, Where's my ROE?

A frequent complaint heard in the practice of an Ontario employer lawyer is that the suddenly unemployed employee has not yet been provided with his or her Record of Employment, the "ROE." Many will ask, "isn't my employer required to give me my record of employment within five days so that I can apply for employment insurance (EI)?" The short answer is that employers are no longer legally required to provide employees with a paper copy of their ROE; a fact often leading to confusion and frustration.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Hard Times: Economic Downturn, Judicial Discretion and the Duty to Mitigate

A few weeks ago this blog afforded an opportunity to an individual looking for work in employment law to write a guest blog post. Perhaps not surprisingly, following that post I was contacted by others in a similar situation looking to be afforded a similar opportunity.

This blog and, more to the point, Sean Bawden, are humbled by the success of this blog and by the request from others to write guest posts for it. Having given the issue some thought, the blog will continue to post articles by those looking for work in the employment law field in Ontario - provided that the posts meet certain quality standards. Whether those posts move to a separate page is an issue that will have to be considered; for now, they will appear on the main page.

What follows, then, is a post written by Paul Willetts on the subject of the duty to mitigate in today's economy. Commentary by this blog will follow and any comments by this blog are added in square brackets.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Co-op Student Owed Wages Despite Agreement

A short decision from the Ontario Labour Relations Board, Sandhu v Brar, 2013 CanLII 43024 (ON LRB) confirmed that even if an employer and employee agree that an unpaid intern will not be paid for his labour, if the work performed looks more like labour than training wages can still be owed to the employee.