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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

The problem with knee-jerk reactions: A call for consideration before termination

Scientifically known as the patellar reflex, a “knee-jerk reflex” is described by Encyclopaedia Britannica as the “sudden kicking movement of the lower leg in response to a sharp tap on the patellar tendon, which lies just below the kneecap.”  In common language, we refer to knee jerk reactions as “reacting quickly and without thought.” I

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Deaf employee awarded over $100,000 in damages after “horrendous” conduct by employer

A decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last week contains some of the most disturbing termination facts I have seen in some time. Quite simply, it is a case study on how not to treat an employee with a disability – or any employee for that matter – and how not to terminate

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Notice no-nos: Some basic “don’ts” when providing notice of termination

Many of our employer clients are led by sophisticated HR teams and experienced managers who are well-versed in the dos of the termination process: do prepare a termination letter in advance; do consider who should be present in the termination meeting; and do seek advice as to the appropriate length of notice of termination to

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Can a director, officer or shareholder be a “common employer”?

In a recent decision, the Divisional Court considered whether a director, officer or shareholder of a business may be a “common employer” along with the business itself. The implication of this decision is significant, particularly for individuals running closely-held corporations: if he or she is deemed to be a “common employer”, then he or she

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This Partridge is probably “gettin’ happy” now

Lee Partridge worked originally as a dental hygienist for the Botony Dental Corporation and later as its office manager before she was fired following her return from a maternity leave in 2011.  She sued Botony for wrongful dismissal and for breach of both the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Ontario Human Rights Code.  In

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Punch causes nose bleed, but is not enough to be cause for dismissal

A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice proves how challenging just cause dismissals can be for employers. In this case, the Court found that an employee who punched a co-worker in the nose did not deserve the “capital punishment” in employment law – dismissal for cause. The employee had 15 years of

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The Ray Rice scandal and off-duty misconduct: When does off-duty mean off-limits?

As an employment lawyer, I thought I’d heard it all when it comes to employees (allegedly) behaving badly. However, in the last month, the news has simmered with stories about employees (and quasi-employees, like NFL players) behaving in ways that shock even the most seasoned employment lawyer. Beyond the personal shock that we have all

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Emails do not create a fixed-term contract

With the increasing use of email during the recruitment process, it is possible that certain terms of an employment relationship will be first discussed, if not finalized, over email before they are ever (ideally!) put into an employment contract. So, can the items discussed over email constitute terms of employment if they do not make

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