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Jennifer’s litigation practice includes representing employers in arbitrations, tribunals and courts, including in relation to civil fraud matters, fiduciary duties, disclosure of confidential information, employee theft, and other misconduct. Jennifer also conducts internal compliance investigations and advises on issues relating to international labour and human rights standards.

A recent decision of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the “HRTO”) has further defined the scope of the test for “family status” discrimination. Employees may not be required to take measures to find alternative arrangements for infrequent, sporadic or unexpected family needs, before seeking protection under the Human Rights Code (the “Code”). Continue Reading Family Status Discrimination: HRTO Narrows “Self-Accommodation” Requirement

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has announced the upcoming launch of the Stop Slavery Award. The purpose of this award is to honour and recognize businesses that have excelled in their efforts to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains.

Continue Reading Thomson Reuters Foundation to Launch the Stop Slavery Award

Join Baker & McKenzie on January 27, 2016 for the second half of a special, 2-part webinar series, which will focus on key updates in the US and around the globe. Drawing on the legal talent of Baker & McKenzie’s global employment team, the webinars will feature a panel of top lawyers discussing major developments in 2015 and trends to watch for in 2016.

Click here to register.

On December 10, 2015, Bill 109, the Employment and Labour Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015 (the “Act“) received Royal Assent. The Act introduces new labour relations provisions for two large groups of employees in Ontario: firefighters and public sector employees. Most significantly, the Act also amends the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (“WSIA“), increasing employer liability (retroactively, in some cases) regarding workers’ compensation claims and survivor death benefits.

Continue Reading Retroactive Liability and Other Amendments to Labour and Employment Legislation in Ontario

Loblaws, Joe Fresh, Nevsun Resources, Hudbay Minerals, and Tahoe Resources. What do these Canadian companies have in common? They have been targeted in significant lawsuits in Canadian courts for alleged labour and/or human rights violations in their overseas operations or supply chains.

Canadian multinational corporations must take note that our courts are revealing a new willingness to expand their jurisdictional reach in light of modern commercial realities and perceived corporate impunity (see: Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguage, 2015 SCC 42), and they are keeping an open mind as to whether a duty of care exists between Canadian companies and the foreign workers who produce their products (see: Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc., 2013 ONSC 1414). This emerging trend in Canada is taking place against the backdrop of hardening and expanding international business and human rights standards and norms.

A key test case for this shift in Canada is the ongoing class action lawsuit against Loblaws and Joe Fresh (the “Loblaws Defendants“), which was launched by Bangladeshi garment workers in response to the well-known 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed 1,130 workers.

Continue Reading The Rana Plaza Class Action – Is Canada the Next Frontier for Global Human Rights Litigation?

In a previous post, we discussed the Supreme Court of Canada’s (“SCC“) decision in Potter v. New Brunswick (Legal Aid Services Commission), in which the SCC purported to clarify the test for constructive dismissal as it applied to suspensions. But does the decision apply to all suspensions? What if an employee is suspended because of misconduct? Or pending determination of criminal charges? And do employers have to continue paying employees while suspended for these reasons?

To help provide some guidance, we will be publishing a two-part series dedicated to the issue of suspensions: what types of suspensions exist, when suspensions should be paid, and – perhaps most importantly – what types of suspensions courts may consider to have been constructive dismissals. This post will provide an overview of the law relating to paid suspensions, while our next post in the series will address unpaid suspensions. Continue Reading Suspensions in the Post-Potter Age: Key Take-Aways for Employers (Part 1)

Business is becoming increasingly global as companies establish operations in various countries throughout the world. As profitable as this strategy may be, expansion is not without its difficulties. Where an employer is a subsidiary or branch of a larger foreign corporation, for instance, there may be issues regarding conflicting laws and regulations. For example, where a parent company is expected to abide by one set of laws in the United States, but adherence to those laws may be viewed as discriminatory in Canada, what is the appropriate course of action for a Canadian subsidiary or branch?

On July 23, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) released its decision in Quebec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse) v. Bombardier Inc. The case was the SCC’s first opportunity to consider alleged discrimination based on foreign laws. Continue Reading Acting Locally, Thinking Globally: The Impact of Foreign Laws on Canadian Employers

Our regular readers will recall our previous posts (here and here) on upcoming changes to the Employment Standards Act.  On February 20, 2015, some of these changes will be coming into effect:

  • There will no longer be a limit on the amount that can be ordered for unpaid wages due to an employee.
  • Employees will have two years, rather than six months, to claim unpaid wages under the Act.
  • Employees may recover vacation pay due over the past twelve, rather than six, months.

If you have any questions about the changes, please feel free to contact our office for assistance.

Our regular readers may recall our previous post regarding the case of Attorney General of Canada v. Johnstone, in which the Federal Court of Appeal established a new test for determining whether an employer has discriminated against an employee on the basis of “family status.” In the recently-released Partridge v. Botony Dental Corporation, 2015 ONSC 343, the Ontario Superior Court adopted the Johnstone test in the context of Ontario’s Human Rights Code and awarded the plaintiff $20,000 in human rights damages. Continue Reading Ontario Court Adopts Federal Test for Family Status Discrimination

Overruling one of its own decisions, the Supreme Court of Canada today has determined that the “right to strike” is protected under s. 2(d) of the Charter, which is the freedom of association provision. In Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, the Court confirmed that legislation that limits the right to strike is unconstitutional unless its limits are reasonable and justified in a free and democratic society.

In practice, this case will ensure that legislators do not limit the right to strike without a strong and compelling justification, and without providing an alternative means of resolving a bargaining impasse –an alternative means that will not undermine the bargaining power of the union. In any event, a law that limits the right to strike must interfere only as much as is necessary. Continue Reading Supreme Court of Canada Recognizes Constitutional Right to Strike: What Does it Mean for Employers?