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George Avraam practices trial and appellate litigation. As part of his practice, Mr. Avraam has represented employers whose employees and former employees have engaged in significant misconduct, including committing fraud against their employers, as well misappropriating the employers confidential information or otherwise breaching their fiduciary duties. Mr. Avraam has been lead counsel in a number of cases involving employee and former employee misconduct. Mr. Avraam is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in civil litigation. He was named a leading lawyer in Chambers Global 2013 for Employment, Labour & Pensions: Canada, and was recommended in the 2013 edition of Legal500. Mr. Avraam has been ranked as a leading management side labour and employment lawyer in Canada for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 in Who’s Who Legal: Canada, was  listed in the "Litigators to Watch" category of the 2009 Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada, and was named one of Lexpert's Rising Stars - Leading Lawyers under 40 in 2008.

Many employers rely on the discretionary nature of their bonus plans to deny bonuses to employees they’ve dismissed. However, in last month’s decision in Singer v Nordstrong Equipment Limited, 2017 ONSC 5906, the Court held that stipulating that a bonus is discretionary in the policy doesn’t necessarily give the employer complete freedom to withhold the bonus. Rather, discretionary bonuses must be awarded through a “fair, identifiable process.” Continue Reading Is a Discretionary Bonus Really Discretionary?

Last week, Employment and Social Development Canada confirmed that new Employment Insurance (“EI”) parental, maternity and caregiving benefits will come into force on December 3, 2017. The new EI benefits were proposed in Federal Budget 2017 (see our previous blog post here) to support employees who need time off work due to life events. The key changes are outlined below. Continue Reading December 3 Brings New EI Parental, Maternity & Caregiving Benefits

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently left intact a lower court decision that supports employers in seeking an independent medical examination (“IME”) in certain circumstances. In Bottiglia v. Ottawa Catholic School Board, 2017 ONSC 2517, the Ontario Divisional Court held that an employee’s duty to accommodate may permit, or even require, the employer to ask for a second medical opinion where the employer has a reasonable and bona fide reason to question the adequacy and reliability of the information provided by its employee’s medical expert. Continue Reading Value of IME in Accommodation Process Underscored by Ontario Courts

The Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) recently ruled that a unilateral contract renewal clause was valid, despite its potential to bind one party perpetually: Uniprix inc. v. Gestion Gosselin et Bérubé inc. The clause afforded sole discretion to the respondents to renew or terminate their contract with Uniprix. The wording of the clause, the nature of the contract and the relationship between the parties were determinative in the majority’s ruling, which upheld the decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Superior Court of Quebec. The SCC’s decision and our key takeaways are outlined below. Continue Reading SCC Decision Reminds Employers to Draft Termination Clauses with Care

We’re pleased to share our highlights video from our #SocialMediaAtWork seminar. This informative seminar was hosted by our Employment & Compensation Group in Toronto on June 7th. Topics included the legal and reputational risks of both employees’ and employers’ social media use and practical guidance to help minimize employers’ exposure to these risks.

In a recent decision, Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) held that the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal (“Tribunal”) reasonably concluded that a worker who tested positive for drugs following a workplace accident was terminated because he breached the employer’s drug policy and not for discriminatory reasons. This decision is a welcome result for employers faced with safety risks due to substance use in their workplace. Continue Reading Proactive Anti-Drug Policy Not Discriminatory: Supreme Court of Canada

Employees love social media. Many use it to build their professional profiles and networks, usually with a corresponding benefit for their employer. But we all know that employees’ social media use can also negatively impact their employer.

Employers are also connected. Brand building, market positioning and recruiting new talent are just some of the ways they’re capitalizing on social media. But there are also risks associated with employers’ social media use – from exposing employees to harassment online to basing hiring decisions on social media searches.

Join our Employment & Compensation Group in Toronto on June 7, 2017, as we discuss the legal and reputational risks posed by both employees’ and employers’ social media use and provide practical guidance to help minimize your exposure. For the event details and to register, please click here.

On March 22, 2017, the Canadian Federal Government released Budget 2017: Building a Strong Middle Class (“Budget 2017”) which proposes more flexible parental, maternity and caregiving leaves and Employment Insurance (“EI”) benefits to support employees in balancing work and their family responsibilities. Continue Reading Federal Budget Changes to Parental, Maternity & Caregiving Leaves

The US Transportation Security Administration has announced that by 3 AM EDT on March 25, 2017, passengers on flights to the US from 10 specific airports will be required to check any electronic devices larger than a smartphone. The affected airports are all in North Africa and the Middle East, and include some of the most frequently used airports among international business travelers. As a result, employees who might otherwise plan to work on the plane will be limited to those tasks that can be performed either from their phones or on paper. Employers should communicate these restrictions to employees who travel internationally so they can be better prepared. For further information, read here.