BC Workplace Blog

Authored By Michelle Quinn & Colleagues

When Sorry Is Not the Hardest Word – Apology And Gift Card Bring Human Rights Complaint To An End

Sorry was really not the hardest word in the recent BC Human Rights decision of Duke v. Sobey’s, where the Tribunal found that Sobey’s apology and $250 gift card were a sufficient remedy to Ms. Duke’s discrimination complaint. The Tribunal found that proceeding with Ms. Duke’s complaint would not further the purposes of the Human Rights Code.

Harassment In The Workplace – Employers, Don’t Wait Investigate

Employers often seek our advice regarding allegations of harassment in the workplace. For most employers and business owners, handling and managing these complex issues can be quite daunting. It can be challenging for an employer to determine the veracity of a harassment complaint. Appropriately responding to the employee complaint and conducting an investigation can limit potential employer liability. In this post, we explain the importance of conducting an effective workplace investigation when allegations of harassment arise at work.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace is NOT Locker Room Talk – It’s Illegal

The MeToo movement and the widespread media coverage reporting on incidents of allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct has placed the problem and extent of sexual harassment firmly in the spotlight. Given the heightened awareness regarding the prevalence of this issue, I decided to write an informative post about what constitutes sexual harassment, and how Canadian law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.

B.C. Courts Award Longer Periods of Notice to Short Service Employees

2018 has seen a series of decisions from the courts in BC which illustrate that short-term employees can be awarded longer periods of notice than their counterparts with lengthier terms of service. Generally speaking, long service imports a relatively long notice period, but short service does not require that the notice period be proportionately shorter. In this post, we take a closer look at those decisions.

Are You Ever Off the Clock? Termination for Off-Duty Conduct

Employers can discipline and, in some cases, dismiss employees for off-duty conduct. The question is how bad does the conduct have to be? In the recent BC Supreme Court decision of Klonteig v. West Kelowna (District), 2018 BCSC 124, the judge found that the District (the employer) should not have terminated Mr. Klonteig for cause after he was given a 90 day administrative driving prohibition while off duty.

Long Overdue – New 18 Month Parental Leave Has Arrived

The Trudeau government made good on its promise to extend parental leave from 12 to 18 months. Initially, this promise only applied to workers in federally regulated workplaces. However, on April 6, 2018, the BC Government introduced Bill 6, Employment Standards Amendment Act 2018 which will amend the BC Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”). Some of the proposed changes relate to maternity and parental leave. On May 17, 2018, Bill 6 came into force by Royal Assent. My colleague, Nicole Mangan, and I sum up these key legislative changes.

What’s So Wrong About Wrongful Dismissal?

Unfortunately, quite often terminated employees mistakenly believe that because their employer has offered them the minimum amount of severance pay (notice) under the BC Employment Standards Act that their legal entitlement ends there. Typically, that is not the case. In this post, we look at what it means to be wrongfully dismissed and whether a terminated employee is entitled to reasonable notice.

Mr. Independent Found to be Dependent – Court Awards 12 Months’ Severance Pay to Dependent Contractor

Employee or independent contractor: which one are you? You might even be a dependent contractor. This intermediate category of "dependent contractor" has emerged over the last few years. Unlike an independent contractor, a dependent contractor must be provided with reasonable notice of termination of the contractor relationship. To determine whether a person is an employee or a contractor, the CRA and the Courts look at the substance of the relationship as a whole, which is exactly what the BC Supreme Court did in the case of Glimhagen v. GWR Resources Inc., 2017 BCSC 761

Don’t You Want Me? B.C. Supreme Court Awards Severance To An Employee After An Employer Retracts Offer of Employment

Employers Beware - if you are contemplating retracting an offer of employment from a potential candidate you might want to think again in light of the recent B.C. court decision of Buchanan v. Introjunction Ltd., 2017 BCSC 1002. In this case, the B.C. Supreme Court found that the plaintiff employee was wrongfully dismissed when his employment was terminated shortly after his contract of employment with the defendant employer was executed but before he actually started work. The Court awarded him 6 weeks’ severance pay.