The Workplace Matters
A blog published by the Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP Employment Law Group. Based out of Ottawa, we provide information and practical insights on all areas of employment law for employees and employers in private and public sectors throughout the National Capital Region, Ontario and across Canada.
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Fiduciary Employees Held to a Higher Standard

by Jill Lewis on September 21, 2016

Fiduciary Employees Held to a Higher Standard

The definition of a “fiduciary employee” is not black and white. However, breaching a fiduciary obligation can be costly and, sometimes, even be career suicide. 

It is important to know when you may be in the grey “fiduciary” area.

Who is a fiduciary employee?

An employment contract does not necessarily spell out who is and is not a fiduciary, and even if your contract says you are, this doesn’t mean it’s true. Therefore, an employee may have a fiduciary duty to their employer, notwithstanding a formal employment contract.

Officers and very senior employees will most likely always have a fiduciary duty towards their employer. For more junior employees, the court will look beyond job titles and focus on their position within the company. The analysis is extremely fact-specific (as with most things in law).

Read more on Fiduciary Employees Held to a Higher Standard

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Restrictive Covenants: What Are My Rights Post-Employment?

by Stephanie Lewis on September 15, 2016

Restrictive Covenants: What Are My Rights Post-Employment?

When employees leave their employment, they may take with them a tremendous amount of information about the business of their former employer. With some exceptions, those employees could go on to compete with their former employer, as long as they don’t use that employer’s confidential information. For this reason, employers often include clauses in employment contracts to address this exact scenario, commonly referred to as restrictive covenants.

Simply because such covenants are included in employment agreements does not mean they will automatically be enforced by Canadian courts. Generally speaking, courts will not enforce restrictive covenants that unnecessarily restrict an employee's freedom to earn a livelihood after the end of the employment relationship. In the 2016 case of Donaldson Travel Inc. v. Murphy, the Ontario Court of Appeal considered a non-competition clause to be void, once again reminding employers that there are limits to the limits that can be imposed on former employees.

Read more on Restrictive Covenants: What Are My Rights Post-Employment?

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Fixed-term Contracts: 10 Things You Should Know

by Jill Lewis on August 25, 2016

Fixed-term Contracts: 10 Things You Should Know

Due to our current economic climate, an increasing number of employees are being hired on for fixed-term contracts. A fixed-term contract is one that either ends on a specified date or lasts until a specific task is completed.

This type of employment relationship raises unique concerns and issues as compared to a full-time or indeterminate employee.

Here are the 10 most important facts associated with fixed-term contracts:

Read more on Fixed-term Contracts: 10 Things You Should Know

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Earned Bonuses: Payable upon Termination?

by Dana Du Perron on August 19, 2016

Earned Bonuses: Payable upon Termination?

With its recent decision of Paquette v. TeraGo Networks Inc., the Ontario Court of Appeal offered some much-needed clarification regarding the payment of bonuses during the reasonable notice period.

Before this decision, the case law appeared mixed on this issue in cases where the language of the bonus plan required that an employee be “actively employed” in order to receive payment of a bonus. For employee-side counsel, this rationale seemed unfair and unlawful: it essentially encouraged employers to terminate employees without working notice before a bonus payment would normally be paid. In so doing, the employer could avoid paying out a potentially significant entitlement.

Read more on Earned Bonuses: Payable upon Termination?

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Filing A Ministry of Labour Complaint

by Alison McEwen on August 12, 2016

Filing A Ministry of Labour Complaint

A recent study conducted for the Ministry of Labour found that employees in Ontario have lost out on $28 million in unpaid wages over the last six years. And these lost wages are just the ones where the Ministry of Labour failed to collect money that was owing to employees. Combine this failure to collect with the fact that less than 0.2% of employers who are guilty of monetary violations are ever prosecuted, and it becomes clear that there is a lot of money owing to Ontario employees that never makes it into their pockets.

Read more on Filing A Ministry of Labour Complaint

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.