News

Worked for a Long Time and Just been Terminated?

Long service can be an important factor that could affect the amount of notice or payment that you are entitled to upon termination. We recommend speaking to an employment lawyer about your entitlements if you find yourself in this circumstance. One of Two Ways Length of Service can Affect Termination Pay The Employment Standards Act of BC sets out how your length of service affects any termination pay that you are entitled to at Part 8 – Section 63. It reads: 63. (1) After 3 consecutive months of employment, the employer … Read more

Sexual Harassment and Assault in the Workplace: A Guide for Employers

Workplace harassment and violence is a serious problem that can have a profound impact on both individual workers and the organizations they work for. EXAMPLE According to the Canada Labour Code, harassment and violence means “any action, conduct or comment, including of a sexual nature, that can reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or other physical or psychological injury or illness to an employee, including any prescribed action, conduct or comment.” This includes all types of harassment, including sexual harassment, sexually-motivated harrassment and sexual violence. According to the British … Read more

Employment Contracts in BC

An employment contract is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. Yet so many employees do not fully understand the terms and conditions that their employment contract stipulates. Here is what you should know before signing your new employment contract. What Are Employment Contracts? Employment contracts are legally binding agreements that employers and employees enter upon the offer and acceptance of a new job position. Standard employment contracts contain information regarding: the job expectations and responsibilities; compensation in terms of the job description; required working hours; overtime; … Read more

An Employer’s Duty to Accommodate BC Employees

Under the British Columbia (BC) Human Rights Code (the Code), an employer may not treat a worker differently on the basis of the prohibited grounds enumerated in the Code. In other words, the Code protects you from discrimination. In general terms, when a worker requests an accommodation on the basis of one of the enumerated protected characteristics, an employer has should accommodate that duty unless it is very difficult to do so. This is otherwise known as their duty to accommodate. I.e. A worker experiences a psychological injury requiring fewer … Read more

Depression Leave from Work: What you need to know

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, around 17% or 800,000 British Columbians experience mental issues, including depression. Yet, the stigma around depression is still distinctly prevalent – especially in the workplace. Unfortunately, depression can end up severely impacting how your employees perform at work. So what can employers do to better handle depression and other mental health issues in the workplace? It starts with awareness and acceptance. Here’s what you need to know about how your employer should be accommodating your mental health issues in the workplace. What Is … Read more

Why a Workplace Investigation May be Important for Your Business

Allegations of bullying and harassment, human rights violations, or non-compliance with the Workers Compensation Act and its regulations, policies, and guidelines trigger the obligation on an employer to investigate. The investigation should be fair, proportionate, and completely address the issues raised by the complaint. Employers who fail to conduct proper investigations carry the risk of potential liability in punitive damages, human rights complaints, and civil actions. An investigation that is fair and complete will arm the employer with the information it needs to make a decisive and proportionate action. This … Read more

Maternity Leave in BC: Know Your Rights

Maternity leave is a time for new mothers to spend with their newborn and get out of the office. But it can also be stressful if you’re not aware of your rights as an employee while on maternity leave. The BC Employment Standards Act sets out a number of rights for employees in the province. One of these is maternity leave, which provides mothers with up to 17 weeks of time off from work during their pregnancy and following the birth or adoption of a child. To help you navigate … Read more

Can an Employer Change Your Job Title or Position?

Generally, when you are hired you are aware of the position and role requirements in advance. As you continue working, the scope of your role may change. In some cases, this can be a good thing; in others, it may not be what you were expecting and may amount to constructive dismissal. Here’s what you need to know about an employer’s ability to change your job title or position. Does Your Employer Have the Right To Significantly Change the Terms of Your Employment Contract without you knowing? Likely not. Significant … Read more

Planning for Pregnancy and Maternity Leave in BC

Planning to add a member to your family is an exciting time. Understanding whether and how this decision impacts your employment may help you feel more confident in your planning. Here’s what you need to know. Parental leave is protected under the BC Employment Standards Act. Pregnant folks should not be terminated, or treated unfairly/unequally, because they are pregnant – this is discrimination Does your employer have a pattern of terminating pregnant folks? Did you employer terminate you for performance issues when it didn’t terminate others for similar performance issues? … Read more

Duty to Mitigate – What Does it Mean?

The duty to mitigate is a common law principle requiring an employee to minimize their losses after being terminated. Practically speaking, this principle requires an employee to make reasonable attempts to find a new job. Do I have to apply for and accept any job that comes up? No. An employee does not have to accept a position that is not comparable in either salary or responsibility to satisfy the duty to mitigate. The analysis is this: “would a reasonable person in the employee’s position have accepted the job?”. EXAMPLE … Read more