Generally speaking, employers have the right to dismiss employees that fail to report to work sober, and perform their duties in a safe manner, particularly where these requirements have been clearly communicated through written policy.
Much legal ink has been spilled over the past year about the impact of cannabis legalization on the workplace (see our overview here). At the end of the day, however, the basic rules of the game have not changed. Employees still cannot expect to attend at work while intoxicated. Employers can still insist on sobriety in the workplace. And safety-concerns regarding how to structure operations remain a foremost consideration in any workplace (and in fact are mandated by operation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act).
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.