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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

One cannot both breach and benefit – employer precluded from relying on termination clause it breached

Employers are often advised to act cautiously when dismissing employees, particularly when those employees are subject to enforceable termination provisions.  Hasty decisions to terminate based on unfounded allegations of “just cause”, or careless applications of “without cause” termination provisions, may result in unintended consequences.  Specifically, employers may find themselves: exposed to liability for bad faith,

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Particular problems with making bald allegations against dismissed employees

As justification for offering reduced termination packages to departing employees, employers often make bald and generalized allegations of misconduct and/or substandard performance. Although this aggressive approach sometimes has its advantages during the preliminary phases of negotiating a termination package, employers may face unintended consequences if the matter subsequently becomes litigious. The Supreme Court of Canada

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The truth about defamation in workplace terminations

There are a number of “piggyback” claims that we see as part of wrongful dismissal claims against our employer clients – intentional infliction of mental distress; discrimination contrary to human rights legislation etc. Amongst these “piggyback” claims is defamation. An employee may claim that the employer (through one or more of its employees) has made

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Dependent contractors receive 26 months’ pay in lieu of notice

The common law in Ontario, relating to dependent contractors, is now well established. Employment relationships exist on a continuum; with the employer/employee relationship at one end of the continuum, and independent contractors at the other end. Between those two points, lies a third intermediate category of relationship, now termed “dependant contractors”. Like employees, dependant contractors

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Terminating older employees – the debate continues: Do retirement plans diminish entitlement to notice?

Over the past couple of years, we have seen a number of cases in which courts have grappled with the amount of reasonable notice to be given to employees who have long service and who are past the traditional age of retirement. We wrote about this for the first time in our blog “How does

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Playing nice: How to avoid punitive awards

My mother always told me to play nice. I recall that simple but sage advice when I encounter employers behaving badly (“EBBs”, as I call them). EBBs are employers that act without regard to: a) basic employer obligations, and/or b) common decency vis-à-vis their employees. As revealed by the case law over the years, the

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All in the family (business): The impact of family ties on an employer’s HR obligations

My grandfather started a small business fifty years ago, a modest par-3 golf course, which my mother, aunts and uncles continue to operate today.  I worked at the golf course during my summer holidays and performed every duty from minding the cash register, serving food, and hurrying slow golfers to picking up garbage.  Even then,

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No just cause after employer fails to investigate allegations of anti-Semitic remarks

An employer alleges that an employee made anti-Semitic remarks about the employer’s owners, the employer reacts and terminates the employee for cause, an investigation is not conducted, and the employee is not given an opportunity to respond to the allegations before he is terminated. This was the case in Ludchen v. Stelcrete Industries Ltd., where

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