Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Avoid a Toxic Workplace Environment: New Developments on Sexual Harassment

This article is by Cristina Lavecchia, Editor, HRinfodesk, published by First Reference Inc.

Sexual harassment in the workplace can be toxic, and it is an issue that can have a profound effect on both an employer and their employees.

In response to this issue, on October 27, 2015, the Ontario government introduced Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2015 (“Bill 132”).

If Bill 132 is passed, it would amend various statutes with respect to sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence and other forms of abuse. . . . [more]

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

Digital Files Are Property in New Zealand

The Supreme Court of New Zealand has held that digital files in a CCTV system are property and could be stolen. Thus someone who accessed the system and uploaded the files to YouTube was convicted under the NZ criminal code for accessing a computer system without colour of right to obtain property.

The Court of Appeal had held that the digital files were not property, but the accused could be convicted of accessing the system to obtain a benefit, since he tried to sell the files before uploading them (not having found a buyer).

This seems like quite a change . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

I Quit(ish)! When a Resignation Is a Termination

When is a resignation not a resignation? Recently, the Ontario Superior Court dealt with a case where an employee cleaned out her desk, didn’t return to work but then took the position that she hadn’t quit after all.

Finding that she didn’t quit, the Court re-iterated that an employee’s resignation must be “clear and unequivocal.” In this case, the employee had sent an e-mail informing her employer that she had packed up her desk, but would be keeping her company cell phone, and that the employer could call her the following day to discuss. This e-mail was sent following an . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Jurisprudential Aether, Something in the Water, or Something in the Air?

When the Supreme Court of Canada says “X” in 2007, and repeats “X” in 2011 adding explicitly that “X does not mean Y but means Z”, it is reasonable to assume (is it not?) that, once word of what was said in 2007 and repeated in 2011 spreads through the Canadian “jurisprudential aether”, however long that takes, the judges of the lower courts in Canada will pay attention.

It’s always worth quoting this reminder about pecking orders in the Canadian judicial universe:

[51] Any legal system which has a judicial appeals process inherently creates a pecking order for the judiciary

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Interconnected Devices and Products Liability

We have occasionally discussed on this site (as recently as this week…) the implications of interconnected devices and the Internet of Things.

Here is an article that asks “should cyber-security vulnerabilities really be treated the same as design defects under traditional products liability law?”

The specific context is an infusion pump system that the Federal Drug Administration in the US thought was insecure and sent a warning about – a warning that sounded like a ‘defective product’ warning. The article raises a number of concerns about thinking about a security defect like another defect, including many complications about who . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Facebook & Employment Law: Friend or Fired?

For many, Facebook is a blessing. For some, it’s a curse. For a few, it gets them fired.

For example, last month, an Atlanta employee at an American marketing firm took a “selfie” with the young son of his co-worker and uploaded the picture to his Facebook profile. A number of his friends proceeded to make racist and derogatory remarks about the boy and, in response to some of these comments, the employee published a comment describing the boy as “feral.” He was subsequently terminated by his employer as were some of the other individuals who made racist comments. These . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Better Options for Interprovincial Motions to Change Support

When families split apart, they don’t always stick around in the same province. Sometimes that gives rise to challenge circumstances for resolving proceedings or updating support orders.

Justice Pazaratz examined a interprovincial motion to change support in Chree v. Chree. The judge, who is now known for his writing style, started with the following:

 

  1. There’s an old saying: “Two Heads Are Better Than One”.
  1. But not when it comes to trial judges.

  1. Two judges. Each hearing different parts of the case. On different dates, many months apart. Having to make decisions on the same case.
  1. It
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

Amendments to Saskatchewan Essential Service Law

The Saskatchewan government has tabled amendments to Part VII of the province’s Employment Act in light of the Supreme Court of Canada’s January 30, 2015 decision, which struck down as unconstitutional an essential services law that prevents some public sector employees from striking. . . . [more]

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

“Outrageous” Employer Conduct Wins Employee $100,000 in Punitive Damages

In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice harshly rejected an employer’s allegation that it had just cause to dismiss an employee. In allowing the employee’s claim for damages for wrongful dismissal, the Court awarded the employee $100,000 in punitive damages in response to the employer’s “terrible conduct.”

The Court found that the employer’s true basis for terminating the individual’s employment was to avoid financial obligations arising out of a share purchase agreement between the employee’s and the employer’s companies. As such, the Court’s view was that the employer had “conjured up a cause” to terminate the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Bachelor: Defendant Edition

Some of us recall those days of law school with nostalgia, if for nothing else the colourful stories which set precedent on key issues of law. “They lied to us,” we think as we look at the files we work on which pale in comparison.

Sometimes we’re lucky enough to encounter this colour in practice today. The colour in this case is pink, in the form of tights attached to a soon-to-be groom who was also wearing a feather boa and a lace shirt. He was even dragging an actual metal ball and chain weighing 32 pounds, affixed to his . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

More Onerous Duty to Accommodate Workplace Injuries

A recent Quebec Court of Appeal decision will make it more onerous for employers to meet their duty to accommodate in the context of a workplace injury. The Court of Appeal found that an employer must seek suitable employment for an employee returning to work from an injury, offer reasonable accommodation to the employee to the point of undue hardship, and conduct an assessment to ensure the accommodation complies with the provisions of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. . . . [more]

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

US Supreme Court Justices Prefer Shakespeare

According to a recent article about the favourite literary references used by current US Supreme Court justices in their judgments, Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll top the list.

This was followed by:

  • George Orwell
  • Charles Dickens
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Aesop
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William Faulkner, Herman Melville and J.D. Salinger (equal number of references)

This reminds me of one of my posts on Slaw.ca (way back in 2006!) on Popular Song Lyrics in Legal Writing. Oklahoma City University School of Law professor Alex B. Long did a study of citations to pop music stars in law journals.

In descending list of “popularity” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions