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

5 Days of Paid Sick Leave for BC Employees

The Horgan government has established paid sick leave for employees in B.C. taking effect January 1, 2022. This move makes British Columbia the first province in Canada to provide paid sick days to employees. The Horgan government has explained this move as an effort to assist employees in B.C. so that they can stay home when sick or injured, without losing wages, for a set number of days each year. The government consulted with employers and employees, reviewed workplaces with pre-existing paid sick leave policies, and considered other jurisdictions with … Read more

EI when you refuse to follow your employer’s vaccination policy

Are you entitled to benefit from employment insurance (EI) if you refuse to follow your employer’s vaccination policy?  Depends. Was it necessary for the business to have the employee vaccinated? If yes, then you’re likely not entitled to EI benefits. If no, then you may be entitled to EI benefits. Typically, the only time an individual’s employment insurance claim is denied is when there was “just cause” or the employee voluntarily resigned. This begs the question: does a worker’s refusal to be vaccinated amounts to just cause (serious misconduct). If … Read more

Vaccine Passports in the Workplace, and Guidance from Service Canada

With vaccine numbers on the rise and vaccine passports fast becoming a mandatory requirement to enter into recreational events and businesses, many BC employees have found themselves questioning if there will be any exemptions to presenting proof of vaccination in the workplace. Here’s what you need to know. The Vaccine Passport System As of 13 September 2021, the BC Government has mandated that all individuals need to show their vaccine passport should they wish to enter certain business premises, including, among others: Indoor concerts and ticketed sporting events. Nightclubs. Movie … Read more

BC Human Rights Tribunal: A win against discriminatory termination

Zoe Arghandewal was counsel for the Complainant alleging one of the reasons her employer terminated her was because she had a physical disability. The Tribunal agreed with the Complainant and ordered the employer to pay compensation for wage loss, injury to dignity award, and pre-and-post judgment interest on those amounts. Notably, the complainant had signed a release of claims at termination and the Tribunal had to decide whether that release barred her discrimination complaint. The Tribunal concluded it did not bar her because: parties cannot contract out of Human Rights … Read more

What is Wrongful Dismissal – A Simplified Guide

Important Points to note in BC Wrongful Dismissal law Before terminating you (for any reason except for misconduct/just cause), your employer owes you either adequate notice or payment in lieu of that notice. Whether you received adequate notice or payment in lieu can be a legal question – please seek the assistance of an employment lawyer to help you understand your legal position. An assessment of the employment contract, employment policies, common law, legislation may be necessary to determine your entitlements Not receiving adequate notice or payment in lieu of … Read more

Can Employers Mandate the COVID-19 Vaccine in Your Workplace?

On September 13, 2021, by order of the Provincial Health Officer, proof of vaccination will be required to access some events, services, and businesses. Policies at the workplaces may change and require workers to show proof of vaccination. Some workplaces are prioritized for vaccination because of the nature of the workplace and their safety concerns. These workers have likely already been contacted to arrange vaccination. The federal government has imposed a mandatory vaccination policy for public servants and air passengers. The BC government has announced that workers in long-term care … Read more

Your Guide to Severance Agreements in BC

When an employer terminates an employee, one of the things that they may be offered is a severance package. This type of agreement can help to provide short term financial security for an individual who has been terminated from their place of employment. In British Columbia, there are specific guidelines in place for what needs to be included in a severance agreement. If you are unsure about your rights with respect to severance, then keep reading. Why Do Companies Offer Severance Packages? In accordance with BC employment law, if your … Read more

Recording at Work in BC

In the age of developing technology and smartphones, it has become much easier to record secretly conversations in the workplace. Audio recordings have become a common occurrence in workplace disputes. Regardless of the intention behind the recordings, it is worth noting that there could be consequences if you are caught recording a conversation with your manager, colleague or even your employer. Here is what you need to know. Is It Legal To Record a Conversation in the Workplace? If you are participating in the conversation that you are recording, the … Read more