Canadian Labour and Employment Law

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Workplace Policies. Employment agreements. HR Management. Discipline and Dismissal. Litigation. We use our domestic experience and global perspective to keep you up to date.

Federal Employers May “Downsize” Despite Recent SCC Decision

Jordan Kirkness Posted in Termination of Employment, Unions & Labour Relations

On July 15, 2016, we wrote about the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Wilson v. Atomic Energy, 2016 SCC 29 (“Wilson”).  In that case, the SCC held that most federally-regulated, non-union employees with 12 or more consecutive months of service can only be dismissed for “just cause”. See our earlier blog post here.

Following the Wilson decision, many federal employers were left wondering whether they still have the right to downsize or impose layoffs in response to a decline in their business.  Such employers will be happy to learn that “downsizing” imposed for legitimate business reasons is still possible (subject to certain restrictions).  Under s. 242(3.1)(a) of the Canada Labour Code, RSC, 1985, c L-2 (the “Code“), an adjudicator will not consider the complaint of an employee who has been laid off due to a “lack of work” or “discontinuance of a function”.

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Employers Take Note: OHSA Amendments Under Bill 132 are Now in Force!

Jordan KirknessAndrew Shaw Posted in Legislative & Regulatory Changes, Occupational Health & Safety

Key elements of Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2016 (“Bill 132”) come into force today, amending the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). As a result, employers are required to implement comprehensive policies, programs, and investigative procedures to address workplace harassment. Bill 132 also expands the definition of “workplace harassment” to include “workplace sexual harassment”. Continue Reading

Upcoming Seminar – Navigating the Compliance Minefield – Part 1: Employer Responsibilities

George Avraam Posted in Firm News
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Join Baker & McKenzie on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 for a live seminar at our Toronto office. In our seminar, Navigating the Compliance Minefield – Part 1: Employer Responsibilities, a panel of top lawyers from our Toronto employment team will shed light on the compliance obligations for employment standards, occupational health & safety, and accessibility, including compliance with the new obligations in Ontario targeting workplace harassment.

For the event details and to register, please click here.

Happy September! What are the odds that your employees aren’t gambling at work?

Jeremy Hann Posted in Workplace Organization & Direction

If you are a professional sports fan…you know what time of year it is. September 8th is the first day of the NFL season. In three weeks’ time the MLB playoffs will start. The world cup of hockey starts soon. The NHL season begins shortly thereafter. US College football season is already in full force.

If you are not… you might be asking so what? What does this have to do with employment law? What does this have to do with my workplace?

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Kevin Coon Certified as a Specialist in Labour Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada

George Avraam Posted in Firm News

Baker & McKenzie is proud to announce that Kevin Coon, Labour, Employment and Managing Partner – Canada, has been certified as a Specialist in Labour Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada. The Law Society’s Certified Specialist Program recognizes a small number of practitioners who have met established standards of experience and knowledge requirements in the designated area of law and have maintained exemplary standards of professional practice.

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First in Class: Independent Contractor Class Action Certified in Canada

Jennifer Bernardo Posted in Employment Standards

On July 27, 2016, an Ontario court certified a class action against Just Energy, a natural gas and electricity retailer, in which 7,000 of its sales agents claimed they were misclassified as independent contractors.

The case, Omarali v. Just Energy, is the first of its kind to be certified in Canada. If the sales agents are successful, the company could face large liabilities relating to unpaid wages (including overtime, vacation and public holiday pay) and unremitted income taxes and other required deductions.

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Are Employers Responsible for Protecting Their Employees on Social Media? “Yes” According to a Recent Decision

Mark Mendl Posted in Occupational Health & Safety, Social Media & Technology, Unions & Labour Relations

Does the workplace extend into cyberspace?  In a precedent setting decision with potentially far-reaching implications, a labour arbitrator has found an employer liable for failing to protect its workers from harassment and discrimination in customer posts on the employer’s Twitter account (Toronto Transit Commission and ATU, Local 113, 2016 CarswellOnt 10550).  Employers using social media to communicate with clients, customers or the general public may need to rethink how to they respond to uncivil, abusive or threatening online posts targeting their workers.

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Pokémon Whoa – Reality Game App Creates Unprecedented Risks for Employers

Mark Mendl Posted in Occupational Health & Safety, Social Media & Technology

Catch ’em all!  Pokémon Go is a mobile game that uses “augmented” reality to create a virtual scavenger hunt.  In the quest to catch ’em all, over 15 million people have downloaded the Pokémon Go game since its recent release.  Employers have grappled with employees’ personal use of electronic devices during work hours since gaming fads such as Candy Crush and Draw Something were released.  However, beyond creating a simple distraction in the workplace, the explosion of Pokémon Go subjects employers to potentially costly risks, including worker safety issues, lost productivity, data breach possibilities, and misuse of company resources.

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EEOC Announces Revised Proposal for U.S. Employers to Report Pay and Hours Data

George Avraam Posted in Employment Standards, Legislative & Regulatory Changes

Canadian businesses with operations in the United States should be aware that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently unveiled its amended proposal to collect summary pay data from employers with 100 or more employees. Under the proposed amendments, employers who already file an Employer Information Report (EEO-1) will be required to also report pay to U.S. employees by gender, race, and ethnicity, across 12 pay bands, by March 31, 2018. Covered employers should start considering now how to adjust their pay, collection, and reporting processes for their U.S. operations.

To learn more about the proposed regulation’s impact on employers, please click here.

Supreme Court of Canada: A Dismissal “Without Cause” is an “Unjust Dismissal” (Part III of the Canada Labour Code)

Jordan Kirkness Posted in Employment Contracts, Employment Standards, Jurisdiction, Termination of Employment

On July 14, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that most federally-regulated, non-union employees can only be dismissed for “just cause” after 12 consecutive months of service (Wilson v. Atomic Energy, 2016 SCC 29). As a result of this decision, it is now clear that employees who are regulated under Part III of the Canada Labour Code cannot, following their first year of employment, simply be provided with termination notice or pay in lieu, absent a compelling reason for terminating the employment relationship. Continue Reading