BC Workplace Blog

Authored By Michelle Quinn & Colleagues

COVID-19 News: Details of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Program Released

Employers of all sizes, including charities and not-for-profit organizations, are now eligible for the federal government's new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) if they meet the qualifying criteria. The previous wage subsidy program remains available but applies only to small or medium size businesses.

UPDATED Information as of March 25: FAQs about COVID-19 for Employers

As of March 17, 2020, the BC Government has announced a public health emergency under the Public Health Act, and on March 23rd, 2020 the BC Government enacted an amendment to the BC Employment Standards Act specifically directed to granting “job protected” leaves for BC employees impacted by COVID-19.

FAQs about COVID-19 for Employers

The unprecedented circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic have many employers looking for answers to complex questions in a hurry. As a service to our clients, here are some of the questions we have been asked most often in recent days.

Duty to Accommodate – Perfection Not Required

In this blog post, I reviewed the recent human rights case of Gaucher v. Fraser Health Authority where the Tribunal dismissed Ms. Gaucher's discrimination complaint. Ms. Gaucher claimed that her gradual return to work ("GRTW") plan was flawed and she was discriminated against on the grounds of disability in contravention of the BC Human Rights Code. In its decision, the Tribunal considered the duty to accommodate and held that, while the plan was not "perfect", the employer would be able to prove at a hearing that it reasonably accommodated Ms. Gaucher throughout her GRTW.

Wait, Employers Can’t Search Social Media? Privacy Law & Social Media in Hiring Decisions

Many (if not most) employers routinely check the social media profiles of job candidates. There are good business reasons for doing so. However, checking candidates’ social media is likely a breach of BC’s privacy legislation. In this post, we take a closer look at why the privacy legislation likely precludes social media searches during the hiring process.

Employer Health Tax 101

In addition to the amendments to the Employment Standards Act that were discussed in our last blog entry, the B.C. government has introduced a new Employer Health Tax (the “EHT”) in January of this year. The government hopes that the EHT will help their efforts to eliminate the Medical Service Plan premiums paid by all individuals. With this new tax, the government hopes to completely eliminate MSP premiums by January 2020.

Highlight of the Amendments to the Employment Standards Act

Over the past year, the B.C. government introduced many changes that have affected both employees and employers, such as, the increases to minimum wage and amendments to the Employment Standards Act. Last year, the government introduced several amendments to the Employment Standards Act including changes to parental and maternal leave. In late May 2019, the Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019 was made law with additional amendments centered on the government’s priorities to better protect children and support workers.

I Thought You Were Pushing Me Out – BC Court Finds Employee’s Erroneous Beliefs Not Constructive Dismissal

Proving a constructive dismissal claim is no easy feat for an employee as Mr. Baraty found out in the BC Supreme Court decision of Baraty v. Wellons Canada Corp. where the Court dismissed his claim that he had been constructively dismissed from his employment. In this case, the Court decided that Mr. Baraty had “erroneously believed” that he was being pushed out, however, an objective review of the surrounding facts led the Court to the opposite conclusion…

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.