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High Tech

Finding of negligence upheld for pre-hiring misrepresentations

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - High Tech

The B.C. Court of Appeal recently upheld one of the infrequent successful employment law tort claims in Feldstein v. 364 Northern Development Corp., [2017] BCCA174. The plaintiff, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, alleged the employer advised him in the pre-hiring phase that "proof of good health" for the purpose of his LTD coverage required only that he make it through the three-month waiting period prior to the plan coming into effect. However, when he required access to his benefits he was denied full coverage on the basis he had a pre-existing condition. 

The employer argued at trial that the representation was not made, the test for negligence was not met, and also that it was entitled to rely on an "entire agreement" clause in the contract. The trial judge rejected these arguments, and awarded the plaintiff over $83,000 in lost benefit payments, and $10,000 in aggravated damages. 

The Court of Appeal refused to interfere with the trial judge's findings concerning the negligence claim. It further found the entire agreement clause was not drafted in such a way as to protect the employer from the specific misrepresenation it made.   read more »

Supreme Court of Canada confirms that pension benefits should not be deducted from notice period damages

Sector: - High Tech

In IBM Canada Limited v. Waterman, 2013 SCC 70, the majority (7/2) of the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that pension benefits should not be deducted from notice period damages. In doing so, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the decisions of the BC Court of Appeal and the BC Supreme Court. My summary of the BC Supreme Court's ruling, which sets out the facts, can be found here.

In the majority ruling the Supreme Court of Canada summarized its ruling as follows:  read more »

Employee who was “laid off” during recession was not required to return to same employer to mitigate damages

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - High Tech

Emmanuelle Renard ("Renard") was a valued with 12 years of service when her employer, Facet Decision Systems inc. ("Facet"), reluctantly laid her off in July 2009 because of the economic downturn.

Facet subsequently realized that it was not permitted to impose a layoff, and that the effect of a layoff was in fact a dismissal without cause. As such, a few months later, Facet offered to re-employ her in the same position.

Renard refused the offer of re-employment and instead commenced a wrongful dismissal lawsuit. Facet took the position that she had failed to mitigate her damages by not accepting her job back.

Court's Decision

Renard took the position that she was not required to return to Facet for three general reasons.

First, she argued that the relationship had broken down and become poisoned, making it impossible for her to continue working for Facet. The court rejected this argument, pointing to the following:  read more »

"Temporary Foreign Worker Program - Information Technology Specialists"

Sector: - Film & TV - High Tech

Jennifer Ervick, a lawyer at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP in Winnipeg, has written a brief entitled, "Temporary Foreign Worker Program - Information Technology Specialists" (June 2010).

The brief highlights the fact that, "On September 30, 2010 the temporary foreign worker program for information technology (IT) specialists will come to an end (except for employers wanting to hire foreign workers for positions in Quebec)".

The brief further notes that there have been seven occupations covered by the program:

  1. Senior Animation Effects Editor
  2. Embedded Systems Software Designer 
  3. MIS Software Designer 
  4. Multimedia Software Developer 
  5. Software Developer Services
  6. Software Products Developer
  7. Telecommunications Software Designer

Does the Ontario Human Rights Code protect employees charged with a criminal offence?

Does the Ontario Human Rights Code ("OHRC") protect employees charged with a criminal offence? The answer is "no" based on a series of decisions by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ("OHRT") over the last year.

Ontario Human Rights Code

The OHRC prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of an employee's "record of offences". The OHRC states that "record of offences" means a conviction for:

(a) an offence in respect of which a pardon has been granted under the Criminal Records Act (Canada) and has not been revoked, or

(b) an offence in respect of any provincial enactment.

Decision in de Pelham v. Mytrak Health Systems Inc.

In a February 2009 decision, de Pelham v. Mytrak Health Systems Inc. 2009 HRTO 172 (CanLII), the chair of the OHRT ruled that the "record of offences" provisions do not encompass criminal charges. Specifically, he stated:  read more »