BC Workplace Blog

Authored By Michelle Quinn & Colleagues

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.

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