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British Columbia Employer Advisor Keeping Employers Posted on Developments in Labour and Employment Law

Author Archives / Rosalie Cress

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Time Off to Vote in Municipal Elections?

Posted in Employee Obligations, Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Wage and Hours

Are employers obligated to give employees time off to vote in the general local elections this Saturday, November 15?

The short answer is no. Unlike in provincial and federal elections, there is no statutory obligation under the Local Government Act on employers to provide employees with time off from work to vote in local government or municipal elections. The polls for these elections are open from 8am-8pm, and employees may vote in advance polls or even by mail ballot if they have conflicting commitments on the general voting day.

Although there is no legal obligation to provide time off, we … Continue Reading

Introducing Occupational Health & Safety Month!

Posted in Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation, Workplace Training, WorkSafeBC

This month, we introduce a new series focusing on occupational health and safety (“OH&S”) issues to help employers ensure health and safety in the workplace and avoid penalties under the Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (the “Regulation”).

First, do you have a written Occupational Health & Safety program? The Regulation requires that all employers with a workforce of 50 or more workers, or with 20 or more workers in a workplace with a high or moderate risk of injury must have a written OH&S Program.  (You can find out your workplace’s assigned hazard rating here.)  … Continue Reading

Reassignment of CN Employee a Constructive Dismissal

Posted in Constructive Dismissal, Damages, Litigation, Termination

A BC employee has successfully asserted a claim for constructive dismissal after being reassigned to a new position. Younger v. Canadian National Railway Company is a good reminder for employers that the courts may find there has been a constructive dismissal where an employee has been reassigned to a new position involving fewer responsibilities and a reduction in pay.

Younger had been a railway employee since graduating high school in 1973. He started working as a labourer and eventually advanced to a management position at CN. In 2004, CN assigned Younger to the position of Assistant Superintendent Mechanical (“ASM”), which … Continue Reading

Have Your Say on BC’s Private Sector Privacy Legislation

Special Committee to Review the Personal Information Protection Act

Posted in Privacy

Since it came into force in 2004, British Columbia’s private sector privacy legislation, the Personal Information Protection Act, has had a significant impact on the way British Columbia employers collect, use and disclose the personal information of their employees and others.  The last review of the Act took place in 2008. A Special Committee is currently undertaking a review of the Act, including public consultation. If you or your organization are interested in participating in the consultation, you can do so by:

  • Attending a public hearing on September 8 or 9, 2014; or
  • Making written submissions to the Committee
Continue Reading

Workplace Drug Dealing Provides After-Acquired Cause for Termination

Employer had just cause based on evidence discovered after termination

Posted in Investigations, Just Cause, Termination, Wrongful Dismissal

In most cases, employees who commit misconduct will face the consequences of their actions during their employment, in the form of discipline or even termination for just cause. But, what if the employer only learns of an employee’s misconduct after the employee is dismissed without cause? What recourse does the employer have?

The British Columbia Court of Appeal’s ruling in Van den Boogaard v. Vancouver Pile Driving Ltd affirms that employers can rely on misconduct discovered after an employee’s dismissal to establish “after-acquired” just cause.

Mr. Van den Boogaard was a project manager for Vancouver Pile Driving, a marine contracting … Continue Reading

Saskatchewan: New Hotbed of Labour Law?

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Unions, Wage and Hours

With brand new labour and employment legislation, and a major case before the Supreme Court of Canada, Saskatchewan seems to be the current ‘centre of the action’ in Canadian labour law.

Constitutional Right to Strike?

On May 16, 2014, a very significant labour law appeal – Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, from the Saskatchewan Court of Appealwas argued before the Supreme Court of Canada. The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and other unions argued that two pieces of provincial legislation violated employees’ right to freedom of association protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Continue Reading

Duty to Accommodate Child Care Obligations? The Federal Court of Appeal Weighs In

The Federal Court of Appeal takes a “broad” approach to family status discrimination – with limitations – in two recent decisions

Posted in Accommodation, Discrimination, Employee Obligations, Family Status, Human Rights

What is an employer’s duty to accommodate an employee’s child care obligations? This topic continues to be a hot one in the workplace, as employers try to balance the need to retain talent and ensure a productive workplace.

Part of the problem is that “family status” is not defined in either the British Columbia Human Rights Code or the Canadian Human Rights Act. As a result, different approaches to what family obligations, if any, are protected by human rights legislation have emerged in various Canadian jurisdictions. As we have discussed in previous posts here and here, the British … Continue Reading

British Columbia Privacy Commissioner Recommends Limits on Police Information Checks

Employers who rely on police information checks to assess the suitability of prospective employees may now have to make do with less information.

Posted in Privacy, Recruiting

In an investigation report released this month, the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner made recommendations which will limit information disclosed by police departments in employment-related police information checks.

Until recently, police departments in British Columbia have included information about prior criminal convictions, outstanding charges, contact with the police during an investigation (e.g., as a suspect or witness), and apprehensions under the Mental Health Act in employment-related police information checks. These checks are done with the consent of the employee, for employers and employees who are not covered by the Criminal Records Review Act (“CRRA”) (previously discussed here).

The … Continue Reading