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Ontario Court Confirms Workplace Violence Not Automatically Cause for Termination in All Cases

Since amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act introduced by Bill 168 imposed new obligations to proactively address workplace harassment and violence issues, employers have sometimes been tempted to approach all instances of workplace harassing or violent conduct by an employee as warranting summary dismissal without notice or pay in lieu of notice. These decisions are often made as part of a “zero-tolerance” policy towards workplace violence.

New Amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 May Require Employers to Find Themselves Guilty of Violating the Act

The majority of employers in Ontario are required to abide by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), legislation that includes standards for, among other things, the provision of a minimum wage, statutory holiday pay, overtime and limitations on hours of work.

Where employees believe that their rights under the ESA have been violated, they may request that an Employment Standards Officer investigate. Where an Officer finds that a violation of the ESA has occurred, the Officer may make an order for the employer to remedy the situation (including paying wages found owing, if applicable). However, recent amendments to the ESA open the door to employers facing significantly greater liability where a violation has occurred and may even require employers to make a determination of whether they have, in fact violated the ESA.

Jian Ghomeshi Case Involves a Complicated Interaction of Labour and Employment Law Principles

The recent termination of Jian Ghomeshi’s employment by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (the “CBC”) from popular radio program “Q” has raised a number of important moral questions about the allegations against the former host. However, the situation also raises fundamental legal questions, including whether an employer may terminate an employee based on his or her private activities.

Employer’s Obligation to Accommodate Employee Does Not Extend to Requiring Other Employees to Suffer a Significant Reduction in Pay

For many employers, particularly those in unionized settings, finding appropriate work for employees requiring medical accommodation can be challenging. This is particularly the case where a position that may address an employee’s accommodation needs is occupied by another employee. However, a recent case provides clear guidance to employers that employees need not bear unfair financial costs associated with accommodating another employee.

New Human Rights Commission Policy on Mental Health and Addiction

I recently sat in on a presentation by a large benefits administrator, which focused on the top 5 categories of medical conditions resulting in disability claims.  For both short and long term absences, at or near the top of that list are mental health issues.  Mental health issues are often the primary cause of a disability claim.  But they are also frequently a secondary cause -- such as depression or anxiety after being diagnosed with a primary cause such as cancer.

Mary Lou Brady

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Partner and avid book club member.  Truth be told, very little of her book club’s discussion is ever about the book!

Beth Traynor

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After several years of working towards a career in midwifery,  realized she had been focusing on the wrong kind of “labour”.

Jennifer Costin

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While she likes to think she was recruited to the Labour and Employment Group for her experience and knowledge, the truth is, they needed a golfer.

Chris Sinal

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A former health club manager and wearer of suspenders, Chris brings a 'strong' sense of fashion to the team.

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