Terminating an Employee on Medical Leave

Questions surrounding disabilities and the duty to accommodate are often misunderstood and nowhere is this more evident than the widespread perception that employees on some form of leave of absence cannot be terminated.

However, this perception is not entirely accurate. In fact, it’s not uncommon for disagreements between an employee and their employer to mount over time, creating tension and stress in the workplace.

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Fire Your Politician, Just Don’t Forget the Severance

You're all fired!
You’re all fired!

In case you haven’t noticed, we are in the middle of a Federal election here in Canada, with all the low-balling, mud-slinging and attack ads that go with it. The race is tight, with our three major parties in a dead-heat for who will form our next government. Nothing is certain, except that a number of our current politicians will be out of a job come October 19, 2015.

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A Lesson in How Not to Conduct a Workplace Investigation

As I outlined in a previous article, When a Termination Becomes a Wrongful Dismissal, when an employee is terminated without good legal reason, the employee will generally be entitled to damages for wrongful dismissal. An assessment of these damages would include considering the employee’s age, tenure, job responsibilities and the prospects of future employment.

However, courts also have the authority to award aggravated or punitive damages in certain circumstances.  A recent BC Supreme Court case provides a very good example of when this type of compensation may apply.

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God, Homosexuality and the Legalities of Refusing Service

For a country founded on principles of freedom, liberty and equality, the United States is having tremendous difficulty grappling with same-sex marriage and LGBTQ discrimination.  In fact, even prior to the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage, national headlines have included a long stream of cake bakers, florists and pizzerias  refusing service to homosexuals. Today, a Kentucky County Clerk is garnering international attention for her termination and imprisonment (for contempt of court) for refusing to issue marriage licences to homosexual couples. The country seems torn on whether the clerk is a modern-day Joan-of-Arc fighting for religious rights or whether she’s simply a close-minded bigot.

Calgary Rainbow Bus (00299646xD7EDD)

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“Can We Talk About Your Health?” : Human Rights and the Duty to Inquire

Health information is sensitive. Very sensitive. And given the intimate nature of this information, the BC government has understandably put in place important protections to ensure the integrity of a person’s personal health information.

So considering the uniquely private nature of health information, is there ever a time when it would be appropriate for an employer to ask about an employee’s health? Under human rights law, there is.

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The Myth of a Happy Workplace?

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5 Steps to Appeal a WorkSafeBC Decision

As an employment lawyer, I have met with dozens of people who have suffered a workplace accident and are now fighting for their compensation benefits. Fortunately, there is an avenue for workers to contest unfair decisions from WorkSafeBC. The process is long and difficult, but in many circumstances workers are able to overturn the decision that denied them their benefits and obtain proper compensation. If you are a worker that has been denied WorkSafeBC benefits, here are 5 steps to have your appeal heard. Continue reading “5 Steps to Appeal a WorkSafeBC Decision”

Alcohol, Drugs and Work


Working in the Okanagan, there’s always an endless array of networking events, business functions, award galas and fundraisers to attend. While the purpose of these events varies, one constant among them is the ample supply of pinot noir and gewürztraminer. With so many occasions, it can be a little too easy to drink in the Okanagan.

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