Journal 2017-08-18T13:42:59+00:00


Otherwise known as
Michael’s soapbox

Keeping abreast of legal developments is a fundamental responsibility of any professional. This Journal will share information and thoughts on a broad range of workplace issues and developments.

Fired For Social Media Activity? It Happens

November 10, 2017|

Reading a recent BBC article entitled I lost my job over a Facebook post - was that fair? I was reminded of two things. How misunderstood social media continues to be as it relates to the workplace; and That terminations and litigation takes a personal toll on those involved. The case that is the subject of the article comes to us from the U.K. and although in the circumstances of that case, the termination was [...]

Bills on the Docket that Would Impact Ontario Employers and Employees

November 9, 2017|

There are a couple of Bills making their way through the Ontario Legislature that, if passed, will amend a number of employment statutes and impact employer obligations and employee rights.  Bill 157, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to domestic and sexual violence Bill 157 would, if passed, amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 to provide that an employee who has [...]

When Does a Work Environment Become Poisoned?

November 8, 2017|

The phrase “poisoned work environment” is banded about in the context of complaints under the Human Rights Code, but what exactly is a poisoned work environment? In short, a workplace may become “poisoned” where discrimination or harassment on a prohibited ground “becomes a part of a person’s workplace, becoming a term or condition of employment.”  One of the earliest cases to discuss the concept of poisoned work environment was Ghosh v. Domglas Inc. [...]

HRTO Has No General Power to Deal with Allegations of Unfairness

November 7, 2017|

Having spent a fair amount of time at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario defending employer interests and teaching human rights law at the University of Toronto, I have had to review many human rights applications and cases.  Since the 2008 amendments to the Human Rights Code, including the removal of the Ontario Human Rights Commission as “gatekeeper” and a direct right of access to the HRTO, it is perhaps not surprising that [...]

The Duty to Investigate, its Adequacy and Reasonableness

November 6, 2017|

An employer has an overarching responsibility under the Human Rights Code (the “Code”) to operate a discrimination and harassment free workplace.  In fulfilling that obligation, the employer has a duty to investigate complaints of discrimination or harassment when it knows or ought reasonably to have known of allegations of harassment or discrimination in violation of the Code.  In assessing the reasonableness and adequacy of an employer’s response to an allegation of discrimination or [...]

Rushing to Judgment Proves Costly in a Just Cause Termination

November 2, 2017|

Another day another employment case where the Court awards exceptional damages (in this case aggravated damages). The case involved an employer who terminated an employee, ostensibly for just cause following an investigation. The employer withdrew the allegation of just cause on the opening day of trial.  The case is Lalonde v Sena Solid Waste Holdings Inc, 2017 ABQB 374 (CanLII) and provides an excellent reminder of the costly consequences associated with alleging just [...]

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