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"Top 10 Employment And Labour Law Cases In 2013" according to Cassels Brock & Blackwell

The law firm of Cassels Brock & Blackwell has issued their, "Top 10 Employment And Labour Law Cases In 2013". 

The cases on their list are set below. Note: the summaries with the cases are mostly my word-for-word cut and paste's from the original article:

1. Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper, Ltd., 2013 SCC 34

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that random alcohol testing in the workplace is prohibited unless the employer can prove that, in addition to having a dangerous workplace, there are other pressing factors such as an overt substance abuse problem in the workplace.

2. Pate Estate v. Harvey (Township), 2013 ONCA 669

The Ontario Court of Appeal agreed that the Township employer had severely mistreated the dismissed employee, but reduced the punitive damages award from $550,000 to $450,000.  read more »

Female employee was participant / instigator of crude, ongoing sexual banter; harassment complaint dismissed

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

In Kafer v. Sleep Country Canada and another (No. 2), 2013 BCHRT 289, the BC Human Rights Tribunal ruled that a female employee was participant in, and instigator of, crude and ongoing sexual banter and therefore dismissed her sexual harassment complaint against her employer, Sleep Country Canada.

In reaching this conclusion, the Tribunal Member stated the following:

[32] The Supreme Court of Canada has defined sexual harassment as "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victims of the harassment": Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd. (1989), 10 C.H.R.R. D/6205 at D/6227.

[33] In Mahmoodi v. University of British Columbia, [1000] B.C.R.T.D. No. 52 (Q.L.) the Tribunal set out the test for whether conduct is unwelcome. It stated:  read more »

"Elder care" recognized under "family status" protection for first time by Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

In Hicks v. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2013 CHRT 20, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal recognized "elder care" under the "family status" protection for first time.

Ontario appeal court discusses when a poisoned work environment can give rise to a constructive dismissal

In General Motors of Canada Limited v. Johnson, 2013 ONCA, the Ontario Court of Appeal discussed the legal test for when a poisoned work environment can give rise to a constructive dismissal. Specifically, it stated:  read more »

BC HR Tribunal awards $900 in costs against former employee who tried to resile from settlement agreement

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

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.

Ontario court confirms that employee with "anger management issues" not disabled under Code

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Public Safety

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:

[15] 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 »