Employment Law

Sensible Advice From Experienced Calgary Employment Lawyers

We have one of the largest groups of employment lawyers in Calgary. This gives our clients a wide selection of employment lawyers at all levels of experience. The size of our employment law group and our varied experience allows us to get the best outcome for our clients in the most timely and cost-effective manner.

At Carbert Waite LLP we recognize how challenging employment disputes can be from an emotional as well as legal perspective. Our experienced employment lawyers work with and support our clients every step of the way.

Although we are based in Calgary, our lawyers can deal with employment law matters anywhere in Alberta and across western Canada.

We advise and represent employers and employees in all areas of employment law, including:

Review of Recent Changes to the Canada Labour Code

Many changes to the Canada Labour Code came into effect September 1, 2019 that will impact federally regulated employers.

#Metoo Has Come to my Workplace, Now What Do We Do?

Allegations of sexual harassment are serious and employers should investigate them promptly. Even when no specific complaint has been made, but there has been gossip or murmurings of inappropriate behaviour, employers should probe the issue and not wait for a formal complaint.

Alberta’s 2019 Changes to Employment Legislation

Alberta introduced Bill 2 on May 27th, 2019, repealing much of the 2017 overhaul of the Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code. Changes amending the Employment Standards Code will come into force on September 1st, 2019. Changes amending the Employment Standards Regulation relating to “youth minimum wage” came into force June 26th, 2019.

Limiting Language: Is Your Termination Clause Actually Effective?

When the difficult decision is made to terminate an employee, one of the first things employers often turn their mind to is how much notice or pay in lieu of notice they need to provide to the employee.

Employment Agreements for Start-ups

In the excitement of getting new business ventures off the ground, the formalities of employment relationships can be overlooked. Taking the time to implement employment contracts at the beginning can be very valuable and avoid big headaches down the road.

Medical Marijuana: No Duty to Accept Unacceptable Risk

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador recently upheld an arbitrator’s decision which found that the duty of an employer to accommodate an employee’s medical marijuana use does not require the employer to tolerate an unacceptable increased safety risk resulting from the possibility of impairment.

What to Do If You Receive an Employment Cease and Desist Letter

Shortly after hiring a new employee, your company might receive a Cease and Desist letter telling you that the employee you’ve hired is subject to a non-competition or non-solicitation agreement with their former employer. The letter might demand that you terminate the employee or take steps to ensure the employee does not breach their contractual obligations to the former employer.

Providing an Employment Reference: Can You Be Honest?

Employers regularly provide current and former employees an employment reference. In the case of an employee who was dismissed without cause, it’s usually in the employer’s best interest to provide a positive reference so that the departing employee can quickly find replacement employment and, as a consequence, reduce the employer’s damages.

Is there a Script for Terminating Employees?

Ending someone’s employment is a serious moment in their life, and should be addressed thoughtfully and with sensitivity. Most people assign a large amount of their identity to their job.

What to Do If You Are Being Investigated at Work

Becoming the subject of a workplace investigation is extremely stressful, so it is important to take the time to respond to and participate in an investigation carefully and calmly.

Employees Behaving Badly: Just Cause Termination for Conduct Outside the Workplace

Dismissing an employee with cause (where no notice or pay in lieu of notice is given) is rarely justified at law, particularly for conduct outside of work. However, there are circumstances where off-work behaviour can lead to a dismissal with just cause.

How the #MeToo Movement Will Challenge Employers’ Responses to Sexual Harassment Allegations

We have all watched the growing sexual harassment scandal roiling the American entertainment industry and causing the downfall of American political figures (with notable exceptions). Corporations and organizations across North America in numerous industries are dealing with an onslaught of credible allegations, some involving high profile employees and senior executives.

The Enforceability of Non-Disclosure Clauses in Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

There has been considerable public attention recently on a variety of forms of agreements which limit an individual’s right to bring claims or to disclose sexual harassment.

Limits of Accommodating Marijuana Use in the Workplace

In February 2018, Canadian Family Physician, a peer-reviewed medical journal and the official publication of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) issued new simplified guidelines for when primary care physicians should grant a licence for medical marijuana.

Changes to Employment Law Summary Judgment in Alberta

On November 2, 2018 the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta issued a decision that may impact how many employment disputes are heard by the Court.

Terminating Part-time, Casual, or Irregular Hour Employees

We are frequently asked by employers how to end the employment of employees who are part time or work irregular schedules. Most Canadian employers understand the need to provide notice of termination of employment, as set out in the employee’s contract or under the common law.

Social Hosting: Tips for Your Company Party (Now With Cannabis!)

It’s that time again: time to look at what you can do to make sure your company’s holiday party is both fun and safe. These tips apply year-round, but with the increased number of social events at the end of the year, now is a good time for a refresher.

When Are Employees Fit to Work?

Assessing fitness to work is important in all workplaces, not just safety sensitive workplaces. Assessing fitness for work is also about more than testing employees for intoxication.

Employers’ Duty of Good Faith and the Enforceability of Deemed Resignations

In Jonasson v. Nexen, 2018 ABQB 598, a major energy company was judged to have acted in bad faith by seeking to rely upon a deemed resignation clause in its leave of absence agreement (“LOA Agreement”). The employee was deemed to have been dismissed without cause. Wrongful dismissal and punitive damages were awarded.

Explanation of Formal Offers

In most civil cases, the outcome is not entirely predictable. Generally speaking, there are three narratives to every case: (1) the plaintiff’s narrative; (2) the defendant’s narrative; and most importantly (3) the trial judge’s narrative, formed on review of all the admitted evidence.

You Were Just Laid Off – Now What?

You were just laid off. You are shocked and overwhelmed. You know you have rights and you are unsure if you were treated fairly by your former employer but you do not know what to do next. A helpful first step is to schedule an appointment with an employment lawyer who can explain your rights and advise if you have been treated fairly.

Testamentary Gifts and Inter Vivos Gifts, A Distinction: Seguin v Pearson

In its recent decision in Seguin v Pearson, 2018 ONCA 355 [Seguin], the Ontario Court of Appeal has clarified the distinction between the tests for challenging testamentary gifts versus inter vivos gifts (those made while a person is still living) on the basis of undue influence.

Testing the Limit: Suncor v Unifor

Alberta employers considering random drug and alcohol testing in unionized and safety sensitive environments have been waiting for the Alberta Court of Appeal’s (“ABCA”) decision in Suncor Energy Inc. v Unifor Local 707A (“Suncor”).

Alberta’s New Workplace Laws

On January 1, 2018, major changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code will come into force. Employers should be aware of the changes and examine policies and payroll practices to determine what updates are required.

The 2017 Federal Budget’s Impact on Workers

On March 22, 2017, the federal government released its 2017 budget. The new budget includes proposed changes to the Canada Labour Code, the Employment Insurance Act, and other legislation that will affect Canadian workers and employers.

Should I Accept This Severance Package?

When your employment is terminated, and you are considering whether or not to accept a payment being offered in lieu of notice, there are some key elements you should think about.

Federally Regulated Employers Be Cautious

In Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.[1] the Supreme Court of Canada provided a critical clarification to the “unjust dismissal” provisions in the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”).[2] The Court ruled that the Code prohibits federally regulated businesses and organizations from dismissing most non-unionized employees without cause subject to certain exceptions.

The Pendulum Swings Toward Employees Regarding Bonus Entitlements

Bonuses are typically used by businesses to incentivize employees to perform better. However, when bonuses are paid year after year, they become reasonably expected components of annual compensation. Complications arise when employers seek to exclude such bonuses from pay in lieu of notice.

Changing (or Litigating) Workplace Policy: The Requirement of Consideration

Workplaces are dynamic and workplace policies must evolve. However, effectively amending a workplace policy so that it is enforceable in court is not as straightforward as one might think. Changes to company policies can affect employee rights, benefits, or entitlements.

Unilateral Changes to Employment Contracts

Your employer has laid off many of your colleagues; but not you. Instead, your employer informs you that it is cutting your pay, increasing your hours, or changing your job duties. What options do you have?

Navigating the Complexities of an Employment Termination

In the past few months, we have heard many stories of both large and small companies located in Alberta laying off substantial numbers of employees. In this uncertain environment, it is essential that both employees and employers alike understand the legal principles surrounding employment terminations. Failing to do so may mean that as an employer, you risk significant liability in the event any of your employees file a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

Mental Illness in the Workplace: Legal Issues, Pre-emptive Solutions

here are various forms of mental health concerns ranging from mild depression and anxiety to severe depression and anxiety, bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia. Why is mental health in the workplace an issue?

Update on the Law of Constructive Dismissal

On March 6, 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada released its reasons for judgment in Potter v. New Brunswick (Legal Aid Services Commission), 2015 SCC 10. In it, the Court clarified the law on constructive dismissal for the first time since Farber v. Royal Trust Co., [1997] 1 S.C.R. 846.

Managing Disabled Employees

Common law rights of employers are restricted by human rights legislation. The Alberta Human Rights Act prohibits certain discriminatory employment practices that are otherwise permitted under the general laws of contract. Because disabled persons are a protected class, businesses cannot utilize employment practices that discriminate against them.

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