Benjamin Aberant

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Incentive Plans In Alberta Can Still Limit Entitlements to “Actively Employed” Employees

The recent Queen’s Bench decision Styles v. AIMC was widely discussed given that it found an employee was entitled to LTIP awards vesting after termination despite clear contractual language requiring the employee to be “actively employed” on the LTIP payout date.  The Trial Judge found that dismissing an employee without allowing his LTIP grants to vest was “bad faith” in contractual relations (as an unprecedented extension of the principles … Continue Reading

The Ontario Court Of Appeal Thinks That Fraud Still Constitutes Just Cause

Reversing a lower court decision, in Fernandes v. Peel Educational & Tutorial Services Limited (“Fernandes”), the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that a school had just cause to fire a teacher who had “committed acts of misconduct, including the creation of false marks and inaccurate grades and then lying to cover up the improprieties”. This … Continue Reading

An Agreement In Principle: Canada Pension Plan Expansion

Click here to view the post from our Ontario colleagues on the recent agreement in principle between 8 of the 10 provincial finance ministers and the federal finance minister to expand the Canada Pension Plan.  The post includes steps that Alberta employers could take to anticipate the expected changes.  … Continue Reading

At Least A Few Days After And Never At The Termination Meeting

A recent case out of British Columbia provides a timely reminder of a best practice for Alberta employers. In Saliken v Alpine Aerotech Limited Partnership, 2016 BCSC 832, a relatively short service employee was dismissed, allegedly for just cause. On the termination date the employee was told that he was fired and called to an … Continue Reading

Yes Your Employees May Be Legally Entitled To Time Off Work To Watch Their Kids, Even If They Give You No Advance Notice

We recently came across this new Ontario human rights decision in the course of advising an Alberta employer on an employee child care issue. There are relatively few Alberta decisions that speak to this issue, so Alberta employers often have to look for guidance from the Ontario, British Columbia, and Federal tribunals and courts, when … Continue Reading

How Much Should Big Brother Monitor (And Other BYOD Considerations)

Given the popularity and prevalence of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets in today’s world, it is no surprise that Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”) programs have become an increasingly common arrangement for organizations. BYOD programs allow employees to use their own mobile devices for both personal and business purposes, blurring the traditional … Continue Reading

My Former Employee Left Behind Some Personal Property. What Can I Do With It?

Employees occasionally leave behind personal property following termination of employment. Whether it is discovered immediately or long after the employee has departed, many Alberta employers would be surprised to learn that they have certain obligations to that former employee with respect to the treatment of the personal property. The Unclaimed Personal Property and Vested Property … Continue Reading

This Employer’s Case Had 99 Problems – Proving Cause Was One

A recent case out of Calgary, Karmel v. Calgary Jewish Academy (2015 ABQB 731), presents some valuable lessons for Alberta employers. This case involves a wrongful dismissal lawsuit by a terminated School Principal, Mr. Karmel, who was alleged to have been disobedient.  Ultimately, the Court found that the School did not meet its burden in … Continue Reading

A Brave New World? – Probably Not But Employers Sometimes Have To Deal With 26 Months’ Notice and “Dependant Contractors”

The Ontario Court of Appeal has further shattered the “24 month maximum” myth.  In Keenan v. Canac Kitchens Ltd., the Court of Appeal upheld a Trial Judge’s finding that two long service workers were “dependent contractors” and therefore entitled to 26 months’ reasonable notice on termination. We do not think that this appeal decision is … Continue Reading

Severance Limiting Clauses CAN work especially in Employment Agreements

A recent Ontario Superior Court decision reinforces some basic principles previously discussed on this Blog (and unfortunately often missed or forgotten by employers). In Asgari v 975866 Ontario Ltd, a motion for summary judgment was decided in the Plaintiff’s favour.  One issue was whether a clause, purporting to limit the Plaintiff’s pay in lieu of … Continue Reading

Ho Ho Holy Moly! – Did You Hear What Happened At The Company Holiday Party?

The holiday season is a jolly-busy time to be an employment lawyer. Not only do we get to spend time with our friends and families, but we are also often asked to help our clients deal with the fallout of the infamous alcohol induced holiday party incident.  Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth … Continue Reading

New Alberta Minimum Wage

Our first minimum wage hike took effect today. Alberta’s minimum wage is now $11.20 per hour, which is a $1.00 increase and the third highest in Canada. Servers who serve liquor will see a $1.50 increase, as their minimum wage has risen from $9.20 to $10.70. The differential between servers (who serve liquor) and the … Continue Reading

You Can’t Always Get What You Want…But if You Try Sometimes…You Just Might Find…You Get An Extra 1.5 Months’ Notice

We recently became aware of an interesting Ontario Superior Court decision, decided earlier this year, where the Court awarded the Plaintiff an extra 1.5 months of reasonable notice because his employment was terminated in the month of June. The Court stated: …I find that for a man of Mr. Fraser’s age and level of responsibility … Continue Reading

No Bonus For You! (Sorry You Weren’t Actively Employed)

A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision upheld a provision in a written bonus program that required an employee to be “actively employed on the date of the bonus payout”. This finding meant that the wrongfully dismissed employee did not receive the value of his bonus during his common law notice period because, as … Continue Reading

Reduce Costs Not Your Workforce

Introduction Employers who are considering layoffs and reductions in their workforce as a result of the current economic downturn should be aware of Service Canada’s Work-Sharing Program (the “Program”). The Program is designed to assist employers and their employees by alleviating the need for layoffs due to temporary reductions in the company’s business activity, which … Continue Reading

Mass Termination Provisions in Alberta and Saskatchewan

We have been advising frequently on this topic lately for our Western Canadian clients. When planning a restructuring, it is easy for an employer to inadvertently overlook statutory mass termination provisions. Here is a quick reference: Alberta In Alberta, under the Employment Standards Code, an employer who intends to terminate 50 or more employees at … Continue Reading

Service Canada Just Called – Do I Have To Respond?

When just cause is alleged as the basis for terminating an employee’s employment, employers are often contacted by Service Canada seeking more information about the reasons for termination. When advising on this situation, we often remind employers of the following: Section 51 of the Employment Insurance Act (the “Act”) requires the Employment Insurance Commission (the … Continue Reading

Look to Ontario for Guidance on Gender Identity and Gender Expression Discrimination

Gender identity and gender expression are not expressly protected grounds under the Alberta Human Rights Act. It has been recently reported in the news that the Alberta Government is considering amending the Act to add both of these grounds. Alberta employers should keep in mind two things petaining to gender identity and gender expression. First, both … Continue Reading

Top 5 Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Recent Decision on Constructive Dismissal

The recent Supreme Court of Canada case – Potter v. New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission (“Potter”) – has received much attention. The Supreme Court found that an indefinite suspension with pay, coupled with delegation of powers to another employee, was a constructive dismissal. In our view, Potter does not represent a change in the … Continue Reading