Employee Rights

Employee Reference Letters: What You Need to Know

Employee Reference Letters: What You Need to Know

Beyond providing fair severance, one of the best things an employer can do to help a dismissed employee is to offer assistance in finding a new job. This assistance could include outplacement support, speaking with industry contacts and/or offering to provide references to prospective employers, if required. 

Email etiquette: What Ontario can learn from France

Email etiquette: What Ontario can learn from France

The capacity to send and receive email on smart phone devices and laptops has fundamentally altered the working lives of many. The notion of the ‘9 to 5’ job has, in many industries, become a thing of the past. Our use of email has profoundly altered how and when we work: it has blurred the distinction between work and home lives; it has altered our view of what is appropriate communication and our expectation of how quickly people should respond. In many ways, it has simultaneously increased the volume of workplace communications and dramatically accelerated the pace at which it occurs.

Managing toxic employees: human and financial workplace costs

Managing toxic employees: human and financial workplace costs

A workplace is a team environment. It functions best when the atmosphere is positive. One of the biggest concerns for employers, in Ontario and elsewhere, is how to address and manage the presence of a “toxic employee” in the workplace.

Q&A: Maternity Leave & Your Rights as an Employee in Ontario

Having a baby can be one of the most exciting things in life. Along with the excitement of the new family member, however, come many new challenges:

Will I go on maternity leave? How long can I take off work? Can I afford to be off work? What benefits and top-up can I get? Do I need accommodation at work during my pregnancy? How will I make the transition back into my job? 

These concerns put pressure on parents-to-be. Recognizing this, the following Q&A session tries to answer some common questions that employees may have about maternity leave and work.

Protecting human rights in the workplace: Lessons for employers

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and the Courts have broken new ground in recent months, both in terms of the reach of anti-discrimination laws and the consequences for those who are found in breach. While the vast majority of employers provide respectful and inclusive workplaces, there are exceptions to this rule and sometimes, despite all best efforts, issues still arise. 

Understanding Your Workplace Privacy Rights

Workplace privacy has become a significant issue for individuals and businesses alike. This is due in part to an increased use of workplace biometrics, the proliferation of social media and smartphone technology, the loss of the traditional '9-5' workplace, and the consequent blurring of work and private life.

Prior to the Court of Appeal's decision in Jones v. Tsige many of us in Ontario had relatively minimal privacy protection at work.

Zoldowski v. Strongco: Good News for Wrongfully Dismissed Employees

Recent changes to the law in Ontario may now offer better protection and more expeditious resolution to those that have been wrongfully dismissed. These changes are well-illustrated in a recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice: Zoldowski v. Strongco Corporation.

Ms. Jennifer Zoldowski worked for Strongco for 17 years before she was dismissed in February 2015. Her dismissal was necessitated by improvements to the Defendant's electronic inventory management system, which rendered Ms. Zoldowski's role obsolete. At the time of termination, Ms. Zoldwski was 39 years old and employed as a Parts Administrator. Following termination, Ms. Zoldowski applied to many jobs around the GTA without success.

Is one year paid parental leave the new norm?

On Tuesday, August 4 - the same day that Netflix stock hit a record high, the company announced a decision through its blog to provide paid maternity and paternity leave for its employees, up to one year. Netflix stated:

We're introducing an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads that allows them to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child's birth or adoption. 

We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances. Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed.

The company's decision is ground-breaking in many ways. It also reflects the desire of many new parents, in the US and Canada, for flexibility to focus on nurturing their newborn without financial stress.