Are Unpaid Internships Legal?

| December 18th, 2014 | No Comments »

Unpaid internships can be deemed as sketchy, even illegal in some cases.  That’s why Bank of Canada Governor, Stephen Poloz’s recent statement needs clarification. As youth unemployment rates have nearly doubled, he suggested that young workers should “get some real life experience…even if it’s for free.”  This may or may not work. To make such a recommendation, the youth must be forewarned about their legal rights and the precautions to take and be alert to avoid being exploited.

 In Ontario, employers do not have to pay students working under a high school co-op placement or an approved post- secondary school program. Unpaid internships are permissible under the following six (6) step criteria:

  1. The training is similar to that which is given in a vocational school;
  2. The training is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The company derives little, if any, benefit from the activity of the intern;
  4. The training doesn’t take someone else’s job;
  5. The company is not promising a job at the end of training; and
  6. The intern was told that s/he will not be paid for his/her time.

Employers should review their unpaid internships program to ensure that they are in compliance with the criteria set out in the applicable employment standards legislation.

If an internship program does not fall within this scope and does not meet the above six (6) exceptions, the intern is required to be paid at least the Ontario minimum wage, among other things.  Failure to comply can result in penalties to the employers which can range from compliance orders, an order to pay back wages and fines.

Harassment complaints against MP’s

| December 12th, 2014 | No Comments »

Recently, the House Board of Internal Economy implemented a new process to deal with harassment complaints from Members of Parliament (MP’s) staff.  A separate committee continues to work on developing a process for complaints between MP’s themselves.  The House of Commons Policy on Preventing and Addressing Harassment has some valid points, but some areas still need some work.

David Whitten, Toronto employment lawyer explains that there are some good parts, like the Appeal and Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure.  Other areas are in need of a spruce up.  The Chief Human Resources Officer should deal with all complaints as a non-partisan party.  We have already seen what happens when complaints go through the ‘Whips’ and it is even more problematic to have MP’s untrained in Human Resources dealing with complaints.  In addition, the required information in a formal complaint should include “desired resolution” as this is invaluable for determining the scope of an investigation.  Lastly, it contemplates an external investigator for every complaint.  There should be some flexibility to conduct an internal investigation when appropriate.

For employment law advice, based on your individual needs, consult with an expert who can guide you step-by-step and provide thorough legal advice.


How strict are non-compete clauses?

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »

Employee’s sometimes believe that non-compete clauses are valid subject to the size of their employer company. Many would be surprised to hear that this is not the case. If an employee works for company A and decides to move to company B, the employee should be vigilant about whether or not a non-compete clause exists and if it prevents them from working with company B.

Toronto Employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin clarifies in his Globe and Mail column that the belief that employers cannot prevent you from working within your industry is incorrect. In fact, judges will enforce clauses that are properly drafted. Experts in the field of employment law are people qualified to review these clauses and can advise you on whether or not they are enforceable. Leaving the strength of these clauses on pure chance is a very bad idea.

Read Daniel Lublin’s Globe and Mail column and full article Am I allowed to record conversations at work?

Negotiating your severance package

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »

Negotiating severance can be done independently or with the assistance of an expert. When employees are laid off, knowing what steps to take and how to negotiate severance becomes all new territory. Employees often feel lost since they do not know what steps to take in order to determine whether or not they need to negotiate a fair severance package.

Daniel Lublin, Employment lawyer explains in his most recent Globe and Mail column that whether or not you should negotiate a fair severance package is dependent on how good or bad the initial offer is. It also depends on how comfortable the employee feels with asking for more. However, it is advised to negotiate with caution. When negotiating correctly, employees protect themselves from the risk of getting less than initially offered. This is why it is best to consult with an employment lawyer.

To read more on this topic and for the full Globe and Mail article Am I allowed to record conversations at work?

Recording conversations at work?

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »

Are recording conversations at work legal or illegal? Employees and employers alike have raised this question and it is usually not a simple answer. The workplace is an environment where disputes can arise, and when they do, individuals believe that recording conversations is a way to build evidence. This may or may not be the case.

Employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin explains that recording conversations can be deemed legal or illegal based on the participants of the recording. Where deemed illegal, the recorder can be charged with an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. To further understand the implications of what is legal and illegal, you should consult an expert who can help you understand the risk of recordings.

Read more on this topic and Daniel Lublin’s Globe and Mail column and full article Am I allowed to record conversations at work?

What does the law say about extreme work hours?

| November 25th, 2014 | No Comments »

Employment law and the issue of extreme work hours are tricky. Employers can hire an employee and request that they work an extensive amount of time.  On the onset, this seems illegal and confusing for employees.  However, this scenario shows that there is a difference between what is ethical and what is legal. Is it legal for an employer to require an employee to work in excess of 100 hours a week, without time off?

Toronto Employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin explains that overwork is just that, overwork. By law, the request by an employer asking a manager to work long hours is not illegal. However, it is important for all employees to take into account their job title and whether or not their employment contract addresses overtime pay. Specifically, there are restrictions in an individual’s job title that determine whether or not you are entitled to overtime pay.

To read and understand more on this topic, follow Daniel Lublin’s article Our company’s work hours are extreme and his Globe and Mail column

Reasonable notice of Termination

| November 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

Reasonable notice of termination is a principle used where an employer has an obligation upon termination to either provide advanced, reasonable notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice under the legislation.  Most often than not, we will witness employees who are offered severance packages, but this does not always apply. There are scenarios where the employer will resort to reasonable notice instead of pay in light of notice. What is most often disputed is the amount of notice an employee is entitled to.

Readers for Daniel Lublin’s Globe and Mail column had questions in regards to the legality of reasonable notice periods. Mr. Lublin, Toronto employment lawyer explains that working-notice periods are in fact legal.  However, the issue at hand is the amount of advanced notice the employee is entitled to.

Read more on this topic on the Globe and Mail and the full article I got fired after my operation

Employment offer was ended before it started

| November 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

Employment offers are known to make recruits pleased and satisfied with the prospect of beginning a new journey. It also gives them a sense of security in knowing that their financial obligations will be met. What if an employee is given a job offer and this offer is ended before employment begins? Does the employee have grounds for a law suit or legal recourse? Does this classify as a breach of contract?

The answer is based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to your ability to obtain alternative employment or restrictions that prohibit you based on your employment contract. Daniel Lublin, Toronto employment lawyer points out that where an Agreement is signed and cancelled before work begins, this is considered a breach of contract. For specific employment advice, consult with an employment lawyer to guide you through the assessment of your situation and to provide you with legal feedback.

Read Daniel Lublin’s Globe and Mail column and full article I got fired after my operation


Termination following operation is legal?

| November 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

Termination of employment following sick leave can result in a discrimination claim. People in general are entitled to address their health concerns, first and foremost, by seeking medical attention. An interruption to an employee’s employment, such as an operation is reasonable and taking sick leave is rational. Does an employer who terminates an employee following sick leave have a legal right to do this?

Employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin explains in his most recent Globe and Mail article I got fired after my operation, that there is no legality for terminating an employee who has recently undergone an operation.  In fact, the employee may file a discrimination claim under the applicable legislation.

You can read more on the Globe and Mail column and the full article I got fired after my operation

Confidentiality Clauses with Teeth

| November 18th, 2014 | No Comments »

Confidentiality clauses are provisions within an Employment Contract/Agreement that should not be taken lightly. When carefully drafted, they can and have been known to be strictly enforced by the Courts and can be cause for some serious implications. With that being said, employers and employees should consult with an employment law expert to get advice on how to best protect their interests. Employees should read and understand their Confidentiality clause to ensure that their rights are protected under the law.

In Patrick Snay v. Miami’s Gulliver Preparatory School, the Courts enforced the Confidentiality provision, even after reaching a resolution. Mr. Snay was ordered by the Court to repay the entire settlement for breach of the Confidentiality clause. While the case of Jan Wong, a former Globe and Mail columnist who published a book about his employment settlement, was ordered by the Court to repay the entire settlement and cover the Globe’s legal fees. This demonstrates the gravity of a well written Confidentiality clause and the effective use of the legal language.