Employment Law

Employment is a fundamental aspect of every person’s life, whether you are an employee or an employer. Managing terminations or other workplace issues can be extremely stressful. Himelfarb Proszanski has a team of leading employment lawyers who can assist in this process. We handle all legal aspects of the employment relationship including wrongful dismissal, human rights, Employment Standards and Canada Labour Code issues, contract drafting and review, workers compensation, occupational health and safety, cross-border labour law, privacy, and Human Resource consulting. We also draft policies and procedures on such things as workplace violence and harassment.

A strong focus on client service allows Himelfarb Proszanski to pride itself on its reputation for providing timely, professional, and cost effective services for our clients. We believe that working closely with our clients provides opportunities to produce the best possible results for both the client and the firm.

Our lawyers are considered leaders in this field. We have published hundreds of articles and several texts on the topic of employment law. We are often interviewed on television and reported on in national newspapers as respected professionals in the field.

Peter Proszanski With Colleagues

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Bill 168: Violence and Harassment – Employers may be exposed to large fines

Bill 168 amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to violence and harassment in the workplace by requiring employers to implement certain programs, policies, and procedures.

As of June 15, 2010, all employers with 5 or more employees are required to implement Bill 168. Failure to do so exposes companies to fines (maximum $500,000 per charge) and/or 12 month jail sentences for individuals.

This Bill requires employers to develop a number of policies that we would be pleased to assist you with as follows:

  • Violence and harassment policies and programs including spousal violence
  • Employee reporting and incident investigation procedures
  • Emergency response procedure (violence only)
  • Process to deal with incidents, complaints and threats of violence

Employers are also required to complete a risk assessment of the type of work or the conditions of work and of potential violence hazards that may arise due to the nature of the workplace before developing and implementing a policy or program. These policies and programs must be posted. These requirements are in addition to requirements under human rights legislation.

If you require assistance to bring your company’s policies and procedures in line with the new government regulations, please call 1-877-820-1210.

Wrongful Dismissal

In Canada an employer may terminate an employee at the employer’s discretion. There are very few exceptions where employment is guaranteed for a period of time. Generally, if there is no legal cause for the termination such as fraud, theft, breach of confidential information etc., the employer must give the employee either reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice.

In order to determine how much working notice or pay in lieu of notice is to be given to an employee, several factors must be considered:

The Ontario Human Rights Code protects against employment discrimination based on:

  • race
  • ancestry
  • place of origin
  • colour
  • ethnic origin
  • citizenship
  • creed
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • record of offences
  • marital status
  • family status
  • disability

The Canadian Human Rights Code protects against employment discrimination based on:

  • race
  • national or ethnic origin
  • colour
  • age
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • marital status
  • family status
  • disability
  • conviction for which a pardon has been granted

In 2008, the law was changed so that a claim against a provincially regulated employer may now be brought in either, the courts (if there is an existing common law claim) or the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. The Ontario Human Rights Commission now only deals with claims of systemic discrimination.

We can assist with drafting policies, anti-discrimination training seminars, harassment investigations, representation before tribunals and courts.

Mediation and Arbitration Services

In addition, we have expertise and provide services regarding a full range of alternate dispute resolution procedures including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. If you have a mediation or arbitration issue, please call us: 1-877-820-1210.

Contract Review and Drafting

In these harsh economic times, employers may be considering changes to employment contracts such as salary or benefit reductions. Changes such as these can lead to a fundamental alteration in the employment relationship, and result in a constructive dismissal.

At Himelfarb Proszanski we assist employees and employers in reviewing and drafting various agreements to ensure that they meet legal guidelines and receive the benefits of the latest developments in law. These include drafting and advising on the following agreements and/or manuals/policy letters:

  • employment
  • consulting/independent contractor agreement
  • non-compete
  • non-solicit
  • terminations
  • offer letters
  • policy manuals
  • human rights policies and
  • progressive discipline programs

If you require services regarding reviewing your employment contract or other agreements, please contact one of our highly-skilled lawyers to assist you. Please contact us at 1-877-820-1210

Human Resource Consulting

On the employer side, we represent clients from a wide range of industries including manufacturing, retail, transportation, health care, and financial institutions. We are able to provide tier 1 service at cost-effective rates. We can assist in managing and reducing litigation costs by delivering effective legal advice and human resource management consulting. This includes advice on such diverse topics such as:

  • Bill 168: Violence and Harassment Policy
  • overtime policies
  • sexual harassment
  • right-sizing your organizations
  • internet and email policies
  • workplace investigations
  • workplace violence management
  • drug and alcohol testing
  • restrictive covenants
  • employment policies and procedures

We provide up to date information on legislative and case law developments in all areas involving the employment relationship including:

  • Wrongful and constructive dismissal
  • Human rights
  • Employment Standards
  • Privacy
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Criminal Prosecution for workplace accidents
  • Workers Compensation

If you require our services regarding human resource consulting, please contact us at: 1-877-820-1210

Occupational Health and Safety Act

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) is a provincial law that implements safety standards to prevent work-related illnesses and injuries. The OHSA does 3 things: First, it sets out the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees with respect to work-place safety. Second, it provides minimum requirements to deal with workplace hazards. Last, it establishes sanctions where the OHSA’s requirements have not been complied with.

Himelfarb Proszanski provides a range of services dealing with the OHSA including:

  • Defending OHSA charges
  • OHSA appeals from inspector orders
  • Reviewing and drafting health and safety policies and procedures
  • Reviewing and drafting Bill-168: Violence and harassment manuals, policies, and procedures

Employment Law Articles

Ten Things Every Employee Should Do After Termination

  • Contact one of our lawyers to find out about your legal rights.
  • Ensure you have your record of employment from your employer so that you may receive employment insurance.
  • Keep your copy of your employment contract or, if there is no written employment contract, your offer letter or payroll information.

Ten Things Every Employer and Employee Should Know

  • Why have an employment contract?
  • An employment contract regulates the relationship between you and your employee. A well drafted…

  • What is Wrongful Dismissal and Just Cause?
  • Wrongful dismissal occurs when an employer terminates an employee’s employment without “just cause” for doing so…

  • What are the laws governing termination of employees?
  • For provincially regulated employers, the main pieces of legislation are the Ontario Human Rights…

The Employment Law Team