The legal doctrine of frustration of contract is well known to employment lawyers but its application is not all that intuitive to the average employer or employee. In the recent case of Hoekstra v. Rehability Occupational Therapy Inc., 2019 ONSC 562, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was asked to revisit this doctrine and opine as to whether an employee, as compared to an employer, can ever assert frustration to end an employment relationship.
We are not long into 2019 and yet one thing already seems clear – the law concerning employment contract termination clauses will continue to be the focus of a great deal of litigation in Ontario. In just the past few months alone, new decisions from the Superior Court have helped to advance the law and provide further guidance to employers on proper drafting of termination clauses.
The size of an employee’s salary is often seen as an indicator of importance within an organization. Thus, when women are paid less than their male counterparts for performing similar work, it suggests that their efforts are somehow of lesser value. In Ontario, we have a number of legal mechanisms that are designed to reduce gender-based wage disparity, however, it remains a reality in far too many workplaces.
On January 2, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released its first decision of 2019: Heller v. Uber Technologies Inc. et al. While the new year is just getting started, this decision is likely to be one of the most significant from an employment law perspective. Its implications are far-reaching and raise novel compliance challenges for Ontario employers that contract to resolve workplace disputes by way of private arbitration.
When an employee is fired and not given sufficient notice, a common point of dispute becomes how to properly calculate the lost value of non-monetary benefits. Wages, by contrast, are a relatively simple affair. If a court orders the employee ought to have received an additional three (3) months’ notice, the parties need only calculate the value of three months’ wages and any resulting interest for the delay in payment.
In a previous blog entry, we wrote about the laws surrounding secret recordings in the workplace. As we cautioned: “[b]efore creating such recordings, be sure to think carefully about the necessity of the action and check whether any workplace policies may be engaged.”