BC HR Tribunal awards $900 in costs against former employee who tried to resile from settlement agreement
In Edwards v. Schnitzer Steel Pacific, 2012 BCHRT 335, the BC Human Rights Tribunal:
- granted the employer's application to dismiss the former employee's human rights complaint under section 27(1)(d)(ii) of the BC Human Rights Code; and
- awarded the employer $900 in costs due to the fact that the former employee had tried to resile from a settlement agreement that he had previously entered into, with the assistance of his lawyer, with the employer.
In Gulick v. Ottawa Police Service, 2012 ONSC 5536, the Ontario Superior court confirmed that an employee with "anger management issues" was not disabled for the purposes of the Ontario Human Rights Code and thus not entitled to accommodation.
Specifically, the court stated the following in this case, which involved the dismissal of a police officer:
 While the incident giving rise to the disciplinary hearing did involve
some consumption of alcohol and medications, the Hearing Officer found as a
fact that the incident was triggered by anger management issues with which the
applicant had been struggling for several years. The Hearing Officer found
that alcohol was, at most, an exacerbating factor. We are not aware of any
jurisprudence which has established that anger management issues will support a
finding of disability. read more »
California passes legislation prohibiting employers from demanding access to personal social media accounts
California has passed legislation prohibiting employers from demanding access to employees' and job applicants' personal social media accounts. The text of the September 27, 2012 press release from the Govenor's office is as follows:
Governor Brown Signs Laws to Protect Privacy for Social Media Users
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today took to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace to announce that he has signed two bills that increase privacy protections for social media users in California.
Assembly Bill 1844 (Campos) and Senate Bill 1349 (Yee) prohibit universities and employers from requiring that applicants give up their email or social media account passwords.
"The Golden State is pioneering the social media revolution and these laws will protect all Californians from unwarranted invasions of their personal social media accounts," said Governor Brown. read more »
Alberta arbitrator: derogatory/threatening Facebook postings about supervisors justified dismissal for cause
In Canada Post v. Canadian Union of Postal Workers,  C.L.A.D. No. 85 (March 21, 2012 Ponak) an Alberta arbitrator ruled that employee's derogatory and threatening Facebook postings about her supervisors justified dismissal for cause.
The headnote of the decision summarizes it as follows: read more »
Jury awards mill manager $573,000 in punitive damages, reported to be largest award in Canada of its kind
The Vancouver Sun reported on July 27, 2012 that a Prince George jury awarded a former mill manager $573,000 in punitive damages, the largest punitive damages award in Canada in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.
You can read the story here:"Burns Lake sawmill manager wins major wrongful dismissal suit".
Court sets aside release signed by employee after employment terminated on basis it was unconscionable
A case summary by Landon Young & Jeremy Schwartz, at the firm of Stringer, can be found here: "Court Strikes Down Release Signed on Termination of Employment".
Ken Thornicroft is a well known labour and employment law academic and adjudicator in BC.
He is currently a professor at the University of Victoria, Gustavson School of Business and a member of the BC Employment Standards Tribunal.
Recently he has been studying the issue of gender bias in negotiated and wrongful dismissal severance awards, and presented a paper that touched on this topic at the CLEBC Employment Law Conference in 2011. That paper can be found here: "Appellate Review of "Reasonable Notice" Awards in Canada: 2000-2010".
On June 4, 2012, UVIC issued this news release concerning his research:
Gender Bias In Severance Settlements read more »
Alberta Privacy Commissioner will seek leave to appeal in case where ABCA found PIPA breached Charter
The Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner's office issued the following news release yesterday, concerning the Alberta Court of Appeal's decision in United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 v. Alberta (Attorney General), 2012 ABCA 130, which found the Alberta privacy sector privacy legislation, PIPA, to be unconstitutional:
Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton will apply to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal the recent decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in United
Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 v. Alberta (Attorney General), 2012 ABCA 130. read more »
Ontario court urges "business transaction" exemption be added to PIPEDA, grants order for disclosure
In the Matter of an Application Under Rules 14.05(3)(d), 2012 ONSC 2530, a decision issued on April 26, 2012, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted an order allowing the vendor financial institution to disclose personal information to the purchaser, pursuant to an asset purchase transaction.
In doing so, the court urged, effectively, for the implementation of "business transaction" provisions such as those found in the BC and Alberta PIPAs, stating:
It is evident from this long list of cases that Farley J. was prescient in suggesting that "this type of situation should be addressed to avoid unnecessary court applications." I join Farley J. in urging that a route be provided that will permit the disclosure of the necessary personal information in such circumstances as these to avoid wasting the court's time and the parties' funds (at para. 12). read more »
FortisBC applies to BC Labour Relations Board to have certain work functions designated as essential
FortisBC has filed an application to have certain work functions designated as essential services under the BC Labour Relations Code.
This is the second BC utility to file such an application in the last few months. Back in April 2012, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia ("ICBC") - the province's "basic insurance" vehicle insurer - also filed an essential services application. More information about that application, including the application itself, can be found on COPE 378's website here.
Back in January 2012, the US National Labour Relations Board Acting General Counsel released a second report describing 14 social media cases reviewed by his office.
Here's the entire news release, with a link to the report (and the one that preceded it):
To help provide further guidance to practitioners and human resource professionals, NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon has released a second report describing social media cases reviewed by his office.
The Operations Management Memo covers 14 cases, half of which involve questions about employer social media policies. Five of those policies were found to be unlawfully broad, one was lawful, and one was found to be lawful after it was revised. read more »
New union discussions by Communications, Energy and Paperworkers, Canadian Auto Workers reach milestone
Here is a news release issued yesterday (May 24, 2012) by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) and the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) concerning their efforts to join forces and create a new national union in Canada:
The joint CEP/CAW Proposal Committee has reached an important milestone in creating a new national union, coming to a consensus on a possible structure for the organization featuring a strong regional presence.
The Proposal Committee was established by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union and the Canadian Auto Workers union to develop a plan for a new national union, which would be the largest private sector union in Canada representing more than 300,000 members.
Following four days of meetings last week in Toronto the Proposal Committee, made up of eight representatives from each union, reached consensus on a plan that establishes a "robust regional presence" and outlines how the new union could be run. read more »
Manitoba Human Rights Code to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, disadvantaged social status
The Government of Manitoba issued a news release today concerning amendments to the province's Human Rights Code that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and disadvantaged social status.
The amendments are found in Bill 36, the Human Rights Code Amendment Act.
The release states as follows: