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Archive for ‘Case Comment’

Can a Relationship With a Subordinate Be Cause for Dismissal?

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench recently considered if and when a workplace romance could lead to just cause for dismissal.

Quick facts

The employee was a regional manager for New Brunswick and had been employed by the employer since at least 2002. He was dismissed in May 2017 when the employer became aware that the employee was involved in a sexual relationship with another employee whom he supervised and had failed to report the relationship, as required by policy.

Prior to the dismissal, the employer conducted an investigation which confirmed the existence of the relationship. But it also . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Refusing Dangerous Work Is Not Only in the Eye of the Beholder

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

Hassan v City of Ottawa (OC Transpo), 2019 OHSTC 8 confirms the principle that an employee’s belief in a work-related threat that is purely subjective and hypothetical will not allow the employee to invoke the exceptional remedy under the Canada Labour Code to refuse to work.

To legitimately refuse to work on this basis, the employee’s perception of danger must also be objectively reasonable. In this case, the employee’s refusal failed to meet that threshold.

Key facts

The employee was a bus driver working for the City of Ottawa (OC . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

College of Midwives of BC v. MaryMoon

On my way to writing a post applying the UK Supreme Court’s decision on the Boris Johnson prorogation to the City of Toronto decision upholding the province’s reduction of wards, I decided to take a detour to examine the College of Midwives of British Columbia v. MaryMoon in which Madam Justice Sharma held that section 12.1(1) of the BC Health Professions Act (HPA) is unconstitutional because it contravenes section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms without justification. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Discriminatory Hiring Practices a Blind Spot in the Legal Industry

Written by Lewis Waring, Paralegal, Editor at First Reference

In Moore v Ferro (Estate), 2019 HRTO 526 (CanLII) (“Moore”), a British-trained lawyer licensed to practice in Ontario applied for a position at a law firm and was denied. The applicant responded to his denial by claiming that the law firm had discriminated against him in violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The nature of that discrimination, the applicant claimed, was based upon his race and age and was demonstrated by the firm’s interview procedure, refusal to hire him and the language used in their correspondence with him. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Lack of Clarity on Discretionary Payments Benefited Terminated Employee

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference

In Thoma v Schaefer Elevator Components Inc., 2019 BCSC 100 (CanLII), the British Columbia Supreme Court re-affirms the need for employers to establish and communicate clear and explicit rules when discretionary bonuses form part of an organization’s compensation scheme. These rules should regulate an employee’s entitlement to bonus payments (both during employment and during a notice period), as well as the eligibility criteria and how and when payments are to be made. This case shows how a lack of clarity in this respect can expose an employer to significant financial liability, . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Workplace Safety Trumps Religious Observances in Quebec

The Quebec Court of Appeal has ruled against Sikh truck drivers who sought an exemption from wearing personal protective equipment – a helmet – as required by their employers because their religion requires them to wear a turban.

The Court ruled that workplace safety must take precedence over temporary impacts on freedom of religion.

According to Wikipedia, wearing a Sikh dastaar, or turban, is mandatory for all Sikh men. Among the Sikhs, the dastaar is an article of faith that represents honour, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dastar).

Quick facts

In 2016, three Sikh truck drivers sought to be exempted . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Affirming a Liberal Interpretation of Public Interest Standing for Constitutional Challenges

Earlier this month, the Ontario Court of Appeal affirmed a broad view of public interest standing in Alford v. Canada (Attorney General) when it reversed a trial level decision denying Alford standing to challenge as unconstitutional a particular provision of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Privacy Rights in the Internet Age and the New Tort of Public Disclosure of Private Facts

“Society has been scrambling to catch up to this problem [the publication of intimate photos or videos online without consent] and the law is beginning to respond to protect victims.” – Justice Stinson in Jane Doe 464533 v N.D., 2017 ONSC 127

Gradually courts have been awarding damages for the tort of public disclosure of private information. The tort of public disclosure of private information consists of the following elements: (a) the defendant publicized an aspect of the plaintiff’s private life; (b) the plaintiff did not consent to the publication; (c) its publication would be highly offensive to a . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Technology

A Former Adjudicator Contemplates the Ontario Court of Appeal’s Mix-Up

When I first heard about the confusion around the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Hilson v. 1336365 Alberta Ltd. (“the withdrawal decision”), I, like many others (I assume), thought, “how could this have happened?” I sat for a while as a vice-chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board and as alternate chair of the Ontario Pay Equity Tribunal, very often on a panel of three adjudicators. I decided to track the making of a decision, as I know it, at least, to see where the mistake may have occurred. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues

Supreme Court of Canada Refuses to Hear an Appeal on Campbell River Family Status Test

A previous Slaw article (which you can read here) discussed the recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decision that confirmed that the stringent test set out in Health Sciences Assoc of BC v Campbell River and North Island Transition Society (Campbell River) to determine if there was a duty to accommodate based on family status and if there is a prima facie case of discrimination based on family status, continues to be the applicable test in British Columbia.

Since this decision, the employee was seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada to address the inconsistency in . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employee Entitled to Rescind Retirement Notice

The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that an employee had the right to unilaterally revoke her notice of resignation due to changing circumstances, and was wrongfully dismissed when her employer would not allow her to do so.

Quick facts

December 31, 2016, a 64-year-old employee resigned after her employer said it would be implementing a new computer system, citing her concern with learning a new system. The employee’s supervisor offered the employee an opportunity to reconsider and told the employee she could revoke the notice if she changed her mind.

On October 11, 2016, the employer announced it wouldn’t . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Confirmation of Stringent British Columbia Test for Family Status Duty to Accommodate

A recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decision confirmed that the stringent test set out in Health Sciences Assoc of BC v Campbell River and North Island Transition Society (B.C.C.A., 2004 “Campbell River“) to determine if there was a duty to accommodate based on family status and if there is a prima facie case of discrimination based on family status, continues to be the applicable test in British Columbia. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions