The Ontario Superior Court recently pronounced that alleged acts of workplace sexual harassment, including alleged incidents occurring in the workplace, are not connected to employment but are separate matters: Watson v. The Governing Council of the Salvation Army of Canada. Further, the Court held that the employer’s release did not bar claims based on these allegations. Continue Reading Does Your Full and Final Release Cover #MeToo?
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 2017 for Employment and Labour: Canada, and was recommended in the 2017 edition of Legal500. Mr. Avraam has been repeatedly ranked as a leading management side labour and employment lawyer in Canada in Who’s Who Legal: Canada, and was named one of Lexpert's Rising Stars - Leading Lawyers under 40 in 2008.
Last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal released yet another decision on the interpretation and enforceability of termination clauses: Amberber v. IBM Canada Ltd., 2018 ONCA 571. Recent appellate decisions on this issue have been inconsistent and/or provided less than clear guidelines, see here, here, here and here. In contrast, Amberber is a bright spot for employers. The Court not only reaffirmed the principle that termination clauses must be interpreted as a whole, but also held that courts should not strain to create an ambiguity where none exists. Continue Reading ONCA Upholds Termination Clause and Signals to Courts to Not Create Ambiguity Where None Exists
We’re pleased to share our highlights video from our February 28th seminar in which we reviewed key changes under Ontario’s Bill 148 and provided practical guidance to assist employers in meeting the new legislative requirements. To view the video, click here.
Employers who include discretionary bonuses as part of their employees’ compensation packages should be aware of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s latest guidance on (i) bonus entitlement for the period up to dismissal and (ii) compensation for the loss of a bonus during the reasonable notice period. This guidance came in the Court’s decision, issued last week, in Singer v. Nordstrong Equipment Limited, 2018 ONCA 364. Our analysis of the lower court’s decision in this case can be found here. Continue Reading Is Your Dismissed Employee Entitled to a Bonus?
Baker McKenzie is partnering with The Globe and Mail for the Solving Workplace Challenges 2018 conference, a dynamic, half-day learning event. Three panels of experts will provide recommendations and practical strategies for some of the most pressing issues facing employers today, including mental health, marijuana in the workplace and building employee resiliency.
Chris Burkett will be speaking on a panel on workplace policies moderated by Sean Stanleigh (Globe and Mail), Daniel Lublin (Whitten Lublin), Jessica Antoine (Purolator) and others.
The conference is on March 20, 2018 at The Globe and Mail’s new headquarters at 351 King St. East in Toronto. For more details and to register, follow this link.
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.