The Highlights of Off-Duty Conduct

| June 24th, 2015 | No Comments »

Termination Due to Off-Duty Conduct

The vulgar, off-duty conduct of Hydro One employee, Shawn Simoes, has brought concern for many employees. After all, it’s not often that an employee is terminated by their employer for their actions outside of work. Even less likely, that they are identified and such behaviour is made public. Unfortunately, that was the case for Mr. Simoes. Many who viewed the video with the City News reporter have raised a number of questions. Primarily, does his conduct warrant a termination for cause? And to what extent can an employer discipline the employee for their off-duty conduct?

Factors Considered by the Courts

In Ontario, a termination for cause holds a high threshold to prove. Factors considered by the courts include whether or not the conduct:
1.         Harms the company’s reputation or product;
2.         Renders the employee incapable of performing his or her duties satisfactorily;
3.         Makes other employees reluctant to work with him or her;
4.         Is a serious breach of the Canadian Criminal Code; or
5.         Makes it difficult for the company to properly manage its services or direct its
            workforce.
Bearing these factors in mind, employees should be watchful of what they say, orally and in writing. Be mindful that everyone is watching, and with social media outlets, everything you write and/or post is made available to just about everyone.

Remain Consistent with Your Office Policy

Employers beware of what you classify as just cause. The merits of a case are judged on a case-by-case basis. Remember to remain consistent with your office policy on disciplining employees for off-duty conduct, as maintaining this strategy will drastically improve your chances of your case being a success. That being said, it is best to leave your employment matters to the experts.

Legal implications from 2014 workplace employment cases

| January 28th, 2015 | No Comments »

Big employment cases from 2014 drew a good amount of attention to workplace law. Specifically, it demonstrated the legal implications to employees and employers.  To date, we continue to see the consequences of these fallouts. Whether through poor judgment, ignorance of the law or quite simply wrongful conduct, Canadians and Americans have been at the forefront of workplace legal disputes. Some cases that have drawn media attention include the Jian Ghomeshi scandal regarding allegations of sexual harassment, Donald Sterling and his discriminatory comments, the two Liberal MP’s accused of harassment. The list goes on.

Toronto Employment Lawyer, Daniel Lublin discusses in his most recent Globe and Mail article five (5) key points to look out for regarding employment issues that arose in 2014, and will continue to have an impact in 2015. These include:

  1. The freedom of speech fallout;
  2. Behavior unbecoming;
  3. Probing Allegations;
  4. Boomers Beware; and
  5. Honesty is the best Policy.

To understand these key points in great detail, read Daniel Lublin’s Globe and Mail column and full article Fallout still spreading from big workplace cases

 

Affected by mass layoffs?

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »

Recent events have caused mass layoffs of various employees, including Target, Suncor and SNC-Lavalin.  Employees affected are in the hundreds. Not knowing where to turn, most people resort to google searches. However, an internet search may be incorrect, misguiding, or may rely on a few factors. There are several factors that should be considered when determining an employee’s legal rights. These are usually based on a case-by-case basis.

Toronto Employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin knows all too well how a mass layoff can affect an employee. Below are the most common questions raised by dismissed employees:

1.         What is the difference between a layoff and a termination?

2.         Is it illegal for employees with less seniority than myself to receive more severance?

3.         Can I classify for employment insurance during a mass layoff?

4.         Following termination, should my benefits continue?

To read more questions and receive the full answer to these questions, read Daniel Lublin’s Globe and Mail Column and full article I’m part of a mass layoff. What rights do I have?

Teacher dismissed after 40 year-old risqué films discovered

| October 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »

Recently, 73 year-old Jacqueline Laurent Auger was dismissed from her place of employment at a Montreal prestigious private school, based on 40 year-old soft porn discovered by her students. This case is appealing in that it involves a former career in risqué films, but also in the context of the impermanent nature of short-term contracts. Toronto employment lawyer, David Whitten adds that this is a perfect example of how “past lives” can impact our employment in the digital age.

Mr. Whitten further explains that short term contracts impose no obligations on employers at the conclusion of the contract.  Indeed, severance is not payable if a short term contract expires and is not renewed.  Had Ms. Auger been an employee of indefinite duration, it is unclear whether or not her past “risqué film career” would have provided legal cause to terminate her without a severance.  However, her statement that the headmaster had “said something stupid” may very well have justified summary dismissal.

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

The ‘genius’ class action lawsuit by the Canadian Hockey League

| October 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

The lawsuit filed last week by the junior hockey players against the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) has been classified by Toronto employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin, as ‘genius’.  After all, it is the first case where junior hockey players have filed a lawsuit. The players are seeking up to $180 million in wages and other compensation from the CHL.

Mr. Lublin explains the definition of an employee as being someone who works for wages.  This particular relationship fits the category and as such, holds the responsibility of, at least paying the players the minimum wage and overtime. The junior hockey players claim in their lawsuit to have up to 65 hours of work per week.  Accordingly, an employee who works 40 or 44 hours of work each week should be paid according to the law.

For more on Daniel Lublin’s opinion, read his full article on CTV News at http://bit.ly/1vI4hZl

Your employment law questions answered

| January 21st, 2014 | No Comments »

Do you have any questions regarding severance, termination packages, or any other legal questions regarding employment law? Today, at noon Daniel Lublin will be online in the Globe and Mail answering your workplace law questions. Make sure to join!

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/career-advice/experts/have-you-been-laid-off/article16412532/?cmpid=rss1

When Employers Are Asking for Sick Notes

| January 8th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Employee Shortages Due to Illness

Each year during flu season, many businesses experience shortages when their employees miss work to stay home to take care of themselves or their children. Unfortunately, for many different reasons, employees also decide to go to work despite being sick. One of those reasons is when employers are asking for sick notes from their employees.

Asking for Sick Notes as a Requirement

The Ontario Medical Association is asking employers to reconsider the requirement of sick notes from their employees in hopes that it will encourage them to stay at home, reducing the spread of germs. When asked for a sick note, an employee might find it easier to come into work than go to the doctor and go through the effort of obtaining a sick note. The entire office becomes sick as a result of this attitude, rather than preventing the situation from happening all together.

When it comes to the law, is it legal when employers are asking for sick notes and does an employee have to provide one? Daniel Lublin provided his opinion on the topic during his appearance on Global News.

More tips for lawsuit-free corporate holiday party

| December 12th, 2013 | No Comments »

Kate MacNamara, CBC’s Business Columnist, shared Daniel Lublin’s tips for lawsuit-free corporate holiday parties during radio interviews across the country. One of them can be listened to here.

Kate MacNamara-CBC Radio

Q&A: Sears Canada closing stores – what happens to the employees?

| October 30th, 2013 | No Comments »

QUESTION

Another major retailer, Sears Canada has just announced the closing of their most important location downtown Toronto and 4 others across the country. Close to 1000 employees will be affected, however Sears states they can apply for any other job left at different locations that will not be closing (yet!). Sounds promising, but what if there are no alternative positions available and those employees find themselves jobless? Will they know their rights and entitlements? Will Sears Canada closing stores affect more than just the employees?

ANSWER

Daniel Lublin’s Opinion on Sears Canada Closing Stores

Daniel Lublin was asked his opinion, which was quoted in today’s issue of the Toronto Star:

“Employment lawyer Daniel Lublin said Sears workers may be entitled to more than the minimum severance, especially if they are long term employees who will be unable to find new work. I have seen a number of employers offer employees only their minimum entitlement hoping that people will sign off, happy to get any severance at all. But where the employer does not go bankrupt, this strategy rarely pays off for the company. The courts come down hard on companies offering long-term employees only their minimum severance,” he said.”

Before accepting any lay-off offer given by an employer, it is always a good idea to contact an employment expert who can explain whether that offer outlines, at the very least, the minimum entitlements under the law and how they can be maximized.

Employee Fired After Seeking Marijuana on Twitter While at Work

| October 16th, 2013 | No Comments »

Employee Posting Inappropriate Requests on Twitter

Sunith Baheerathan was fired from a Toronto area Mr. Lube after it came to his employer’s attention that he had posted to Twitter, while he was working, requesting that a dealer bring marijuana to his workplace so that he could get high in order to help him make it through his shift.

The Tweet drew the attention of many, including the local police, who sarcastically tweeted back asking, “can we come too?” Someone – presumably the police – notified his employer, which promptly terminated Mr. Baheerathan.

This case is another example of how an employee’s conduct on social media can have a serious impact their employment.

The Employee Fired After Seeking Marijuana on Twitter While at Work Reminds Us to be Mindful of Privacy Settings

As use of social media, like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and LinkedIn, becomes increasingly common, slip-ups like this one will have a greater likelihood of being seen by one’s employer. Employees would be wise to be mindful of their privacy settings, being specifically careful of who can see their activity, and to only post sensitive content to private spaces.

A more cautious strategy would be to treat all social media like a public forum. The Internet has a long memory, and comments made in passing or intended for a private audience can easily wind up surfacing later, and causing trouble that could have been avoided.

Employees should certainly be careful about social media use while they’re on the clock. However, they would be well advised to be just as careful outside the workplace. If an employer gets wind of some conduct outside of work that is sufficiently serious, such as criminal activity or a violation of a workplace rule, the employee could face termination or other discipline. Employers would be well advised to implement a social media policy, in order to protect their reputations and business interests from inappropriate employee activity.

Employee Fired After Seeking Marijuana on Twitter While at Work Should Speak to an Employment Lawyer

It isn’t known whether or not Mr. Lube alleged that it had just cause to terminate Mr. Baheerathan. Whether or not there is just cause to terminate an employee will always depend on the facts.

In most terminations where there is no just cause and the employee was not given notice, the employee is entitled to compensation. Any employees who find themselves in trouble over social media activity should strongly consider speaking to an employment lawyer, as should any employers who want to discipline or terminate an employee in relation to inappropriate social media use.