Employment Law Masterclass

10 September 2019 - Toronto

  Would your termination clause stand up in court? Case law update

Without an enforceable and well-drafted termination provision, employers can be liable for hefty pay outs under common law. This session will provide an overview of recent case law and best practices for drafting enforceable termination clauses to minimize your organization’s exposure.

  • How to minimize the employer’s liability upon termination
  • Ensuring your termination provisions comply with the ESA in the context of recent case law - Burton v. Aronovitch McCauley Rollo LLP, 2018
  • When would courts award more than 24 months’ notice to employees under common law? Lessons from Dussault v Imperial Oil Limited, 2018
  • Terminating long-term employees – lessons from Dawe, 2018
  • To what extent should termination clauses go beyond statutory minimums? Bailey, 2018
  • Clarifying severance pay obligations - Doug Hawkes v Max Aicher (North America) Limited
  • Is an employer’s global payroll considered in determining an employee's entitlement to severance pay under the ESA?
  • Determining accurate severance packages to avoid litigation risks
9:45am   Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2019 (Bill 66) update

In a short presentation, delegates will receive a concise overview of the employer implications of Bill 66.

  • Updated requirements for excess hours and overtime agreements
  • Expanded definitions of a ‘non-construction employer’ and its implications
10:00am   Morning tea
11:00am   Cannabis at work: dealing with accommodation requests and curve ball situations

One year after legalization, we will provide practical guidelines for dealing with complex workplace situations involving cannabis and accommodation, benefits and impairment.

  • How to deal with employees who breach drug and alcohol policies relating to cannabis
  • To what degree must you accommodate an employee who claims disability on the basis of cannabis dependency?
  • Rivard v. Corporation of the County of Essex and Green Shield Inc.- do benefit plans need to cover the cost of medicinal cannabis?
  • What to do when an employee in a safety-sensitive position is prescribed medical cannabis
  • Clarifying reporting obligations of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) “Cannabis for Medical Purposes” policy
  • Update on the latest testing tools measuring the extent of cannabis-related impairment
11:45pm   Managing, disciplining and terminating long term absent employees

HR professionals should tread carefully when handling employees who are absent for long periods of time. While employers have a common law right to terminate, that right is curtailed by human rights obligations to accommodate to the point of hardship. An expert will provide guidance on where to draw the line.

  • How long are you obliged to keep a role open for an absent employee?
  • When can you replace an employee who is absent for long periods?
  • Which types of long-term leave are protected under the ESA?
  • How far does the duty to accommodate extend when dealing with chronically ill employees?
  • When can you demand an employee undertake an independent medical examination?
  • How and when should you consult with long term absent employees
  • What constitutes termination on the basis of frustration due to illness or injury?
  • When is the employer liable for payment of statutory notice and severance under the ESA?
12:30pm   Lunch
1:30pm   The future of pay transparency in Ontario

While the Pay Transparency Act, 2018 has been put on ice for now, we look at the potential changes and how they will likely impact workplaces across the province in the future.

  • Rules relating to publishing compensation on job advertisements
  • How can employers maintain confidentiality and prevent disclosure around compensation
  • Best practice guide to discussing compensation with job applicants
  • Likely timetable of changes coming into force
1:45pm   Accommodation: investigating and handling accommodation requests

Although HR departments generally have good intentions when managing employees who have disabilities, extra care should always be taken to comply with human rights legislation and best practice.

  • Step-by-step guide to investing and evaluating requests for accommodation
  • Privacy obligations when handling requests relating to mental health and addiction
  • Lessons from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 636 v Tyco Integrated Fire and Security Canada Inc 2018
  • Ensuring that you don’t inadvertently stigmatizing employees who have disabilities
  • To what degree should you involve employees and medical practitioners in the process of accommodation?
  • What evidence should be provided support an accommodation plan?
2:30pm   Employees behaving badly: serious misconduct and criminal acts at work

What legal options do you have if you suspect that your employee is breaking the law? This session will draw on principles of common law, human rights law, privacy law, occupational health and safety law and criminal law to guide you through the intricate process of investigating workplace misconduct.

  • Misconduct bordering on criminality – when to bring in the police
  • When can an employer suspend an employee while investigating serious misconduct?
  • Should disciplinary action be put on hold pending the outcome of criminal proceedings?
  • What can do to reduce the risk of prejudicing a subsequent criminal trial?
  • What legal rights do alleged criminal perpetrators have in the workplace?
3:15pm   Afternoon tea
3:30pm   Harassment, mental suffering and mental health in the workplace

Employers have specific legislative (as well as moral) obligations to address and prevent harassment and mental suffering in the workplace. This session will discuss the legal aspects of workplace mental stress injuries, bullying and harassment.

  • Legal definition of workplace mental stress injuries
  • Ontario Public Service Employees Union v. The Crown in Right of Ontario, 2019 – compensation for mental stress injuries arising from workplace bullying
  • Implications of Merrifield v. the Attorney General –the newly established test for harassment
  • What constitutes ‘outrageous’ conduct in the workplace?
  • Overview of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Canada Labour Code relating to mental suffering
  • How to measure and evaluate severe or extreme emotional distress
4:15pm   Wrongful, unjust and just cause dismissals

An expert will take you through the latest developments relating to unjust, wrongful, illegal and constructive dismissals.

  • Hardball tactics - the high cost of bad faith in terminating an employee - Ruston v. Keddco MFG (2011) Ltd
  • Unjust dismissals in breach of the Canada Labour Code
  • Illegal dismissals as reprisals for enforcing rights provided by the Employment Standards Act or the Occupational Health and Safety Act 
  • Risks of pursuing counterclaims against employees when they sue for wrongful dismissal
  • When does heavy-handed and insensitive management constitute constructive dismissal?
  • When will a just cause dismissal be upheld for safety violations?
  • How much protection does a signed release really provide against claims by employees?
5:00pm   Close



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General Information

Karen Tan
Event Coordinator

P: +1 416 644 8740 ext. 278

E: karen.tan@keymedia.com


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