Employment & Benefits, Fasken updates

Canada

Contributed by Fasken
Employees' right to sue for constructive dismissal
  • Canada
  • 26 February 2020

Employees should be treated with dignity and respect. Accordingly, employers risk breaching an employment contract by condoning harassment in the workplace and creating a hostile work environment, which – in turn – may give rise to a constructive dismissal claim. Employers facing a constructive dismissal claim resulting from workplace harassment should assess whether the claim falls within the jurisdiction of workers' compensation legislation, rather than the civil courts.

Religious freedom versus occupational health and safety
  • Canada
  • 19 February 2020

A great societal debate is taking place following the Quebec National Assembly's recent adoption of the Act Respecting the Laicity of the State, which regulates the wearing of religious symbols at the government level. In a recent case, freedom to wear religious symbols was pitted against employers' legal obligations to ensure and maintain occupational health and safety. The Quebec Court of Appeal held that occupational health and safety prevails over religious freedom, at least in this matter.

No time wasted: years as dependent contractor included in calculation of employee's notice of termination
  • Canada
  • 12 February 2020

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently confirmed that years spent as a dependent contractor may count when calculating notice of termination for a contractor turned employee who is terminated without cause. This decision leaves open the possible argument that prior service as an independent contractor may be included in length of service for notice of termination calculations.

To discipline or not to discipline: employers' prerogative
  • Canada
  • 05 February 2020

In recent years, several arbitration awards have considered the difference between disciplinary and administrative measures. The Quebec Court of Appeal recently upheld a decision, explaining that the difference between the two may be not only the wilfulness of the misconduct or other elements, but also the employer's intention to discipline.

"I quit! Wait, I changed my mind": impact of rescinded resignations on length of service
  • Canada
  • 29 January 2020

A resignation must be clear and unequivocal to end employment. Sometimes employees change their mind and try to rescind a resignation. A recent decision states that when this happens and the employee continues to work for the employer on the same terms and conditions without any interruption, the employee may be deemed to have lost all prior service with the employer.


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