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Supreme Court of Canada

"Tell Me Where It Hurts”: Workplace Sexual Harassment Compensation and the Regulation of Hysterical Victims"

Jurisdiction: - Quebec

Finn Makela has written a paper entitled, “Tell Me Where It Hurts”: Workplace Sexual Harassment Compensation and the Regulation of Hysterical Victims" that was published in the McGill Law Journal (2006) 51 McGill L.J. 27. Ms. Makela is a lawyer at Melançon, Marceau, Grenier et Sciortinoin Montreal.

The paper's summary provides:  read more »

"The Hostile Workplace and Employer Liability"

A lawyer at Davis LLP has written a paper entitled "The Hostile Workplace and Employer Liability".

This very comprehensive paper, "examines some of the protections the British Columbia Courts have identified to address psychological harassment in the non-union workplace, including looking at the limits of those protections." Specifically, the author considers:

  1. claims in contract, and in particular, claims for constructive dismissal and consequential damages;
  2. claims in tort, and in particular the claim of tort in intentional infliction of mental suffering; and
  3. claims under statute, and in particular the availability of workers' compensation benefits for stress leave.

The paper also contains on overview of Quebec's psychological harassment provisions.

Arbitrators can award damages in lieu of reinstatement

Jurisdiction: - Alberta - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

Published in CBA National Labour and Employment Law Section Newsletter (September 2004)

In a recent decision -- Alberta Union of Provincial Employees v. Lethbridge Community College 2004 SCC 28 -- the Supreme Court of Canada considered whether an arbitrator can award damages in lieu of reinstatement if he or she finds that an employee had been dismissed without just cause. In the result, the court affirmed that while the general rule is that an employee should be reinstated in such cases, in exceptional circumstances, arbitrators can depart from this rule when they find that "the employment relationship is no longer viable."

In this case, an employee was dismissed for failing to meet deadlines and not completing her work. Although the arbitration board determined that the employee was indeed incompetent, it also found that the College failed to comply with the requirements for dismissing her on grounds of non-culpable deficiency.  read more »

Can an employer impose an administrative suspension on an employee facing criminal charges?

Jurisdiction: - Quebec
Sector: - Insurance

In Cabiakman v. Industrial Alliance Life Insurance Co., 2004 SCC 55, the Supreme Court of Canada ("SCC") addressed if/when an employer can impose an administrative suspension on a non-unionized employee facing criminal charges.

The employer and employee were located in Quebec thus governed by the Quebec Civil Code. However, the principles enunciated by the court likely also apply to employment contracts formed in Canada's other jurisdictions.


The employer was an insurance company and hired the employee as a sales manager in one of its branch offices. Approximately three months after he was hired, the employee was arrested at home for the attempted extortion of his securities broker. He was held in custody for about three days and then released after pleading not guilty to the charges. Shortly thereafter, a newspaper picked up the story and published an article.

The employer suspended the employee without pay, without investigating the situation and without providing the employee the opportunity to explain the situation.  read more »