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Posts tagged: Damages

Can You Get Damages For Being Harassed at Work?

By , March 7, 2017 5:00 pm

Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act outlaws workplace harassment but an employee cannot collect damages for being harassed at work under this law.

In a recent case, an Ontario judge awarded an employee damages for being harassed.

The tort of harassment has been recognized in Ontario but to my knowledge this is the first time an Ontario judge has ordered an employer to pay an employee damages for being harassed.

What Do You Need to Prove to Get Damages for being Harassed?

According to the judge in this case, here is what you need to prove:

  1. The employer’s conduct was outrageous.
  2. The employer intended to cause you emotional stress or had a reckless disregard for causing you to suffer from emotional stress.
  3. You suffered severe or extreme emotional distress.
  4. The employer’s outrageous conduct was the actual and proximate cause of your emotional distress.

If you have been harassed at work and you are experiencing severe or extreme emotional stress call an employment lawyer to find out whether you may be entitled to damages.

If you would like to speak to a lawyer at MacLeod Law Firm, you can reach us at [email protected] or 647-204-8107.

The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.

How much notice of resignation should I give my employer?

By , June 15, 2016 12:01 pm

Did you know that an employee is required to provide “reasonable” notice of resignation (unless you agree to a different notice period in an employment contract)? If you fail to do so, your former employer can sue you and a judge can order you to pay the employer damages. A recent Ontario Superior Court case examines the question of what reasonable notice of resignation is.

Facts

Mr. Jesso was a senior salesman at Gagnon & Associates Inc. The employment relationship was not “one of harmony.” Mr. Jesso believed he was underpaid, while Gagnon felt they were paying him too much. Mr. Jesso became so dissatisfied he began making plans to work at HTS, a competitor of Gagnon’s.

One Friday afternoon, Mr. Jesso and another employee provided their letters of resignation, effective immediately. Mr. Jesso offered to work another two weeks, provided that Gagnon paid outstanding fees Mr. Jesso believed he was entitled to. Gagnon did not accept Mr. Jesso’s offer to work a further two weeks.

Gagnon sued Mr. Jesso for breach of his duty of good faith, misusing confidential information, and failing to give adequate notice of resignation. Mr. Jesso counterclaimed for the outstanding fees he believed he was owed, a share of the business and for constructive dismissal. Ultimately, Mr. Jesso was successful on his claim for outstanding fees, and Gagnon was successful in arguing Mr. Jesso failed to give sufficient notice of resignation.

What is sufficient notice of resignation?

In determining the amount of notice Mr. Jesso should have given, the court considered the nature of his position and the time it would reasonably take Gagnon to replace him. Although Mr. Jesso had no managerial responsibilities, he was a senior employee with 10 years’ service and was responsible for a significant portion of Gagnon’s sales. The court accepted that Mr. Jesso’s departure resulted in Gagnon’s sales not increasing by a predicted 20% margin. Another relevant factor was that Mr. Jeso knew the other employee intended to resign the same day, which would also negatively impact Gagnon.

The court found that Mr. Jesso should have given two months’ resignation and ordered him to pay Gagnon the loss of sales that were properly attributed to Mr. Jesso that Gagnon suffered during those two months.

Lessons to be learned

The amount of notice employees are required to provide depends on multiple factors, including the nature of the position and their length of service. If you are considering to leave your employment, you should consult a lawyer to learn what your obligations to your employer are both during and after your resignation. This is especially the case if you are considering working for a competitor.

If you have any questions about your legal rights and obligations in the workplace, one of our lawyers would be happy to meet with you. Please call 647-204-8107 or email [email protected].

“The material and information provided on this blog and this website are for general information only and should not, in any respect, be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information linked or referred to or contained herein. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog, without first retaining counsel and obtaining appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed to practice law in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.”

 

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

By , June 19, 2014 12:56 pm

Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to occur in Ontario on a regular basis. I frequently meet women and men who have been sexually harassed at work.

Like them, you may find certain behaviour unwelcome and offensive but may not recognize it as sexual harassment. For example, did you know that the Ontario Human Rights Commission considers the following behaviour to be sexual harassment:

  • repeatedly asking for dates, and not taking “no” for an answer
  • unnecessary physical contact, including unwanted touching
  • using rude or insulting language or making comments toward women (or men, depending on the circumstances)
  • calling people sex-specific derogatory names
  • making sex-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics or actions
  • posting or sharing pornography, sexual pictures or cartoons, sexually explicit graffiti, or other sexual images (including online)
  • making sexual jokes
  • bragging about sexual prowess.

Employees in Ontario can seek damages against supervisors, co-workers and employers if they are sexually harassed at work.

If you are experiencing sexual harassment as work, you should report it to your manager or a designated human resources professional. Keep detailed records of the offending comments or actions.

Your employer should conduct an impartial investigation of your complaints. If it does not, it risks liability under the Ontario Human Rights Code. For example, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found in this decision, that no sexual harassment had taken place, but awarded the applicant $7,500 because her employer had not taken her complaints seriously and had conducted a flawed investigation.

For more information about sexual harassment protection and workplace investigations, see here.

If you believe that you have experienced sexual harassment at work and would like to speak with a lawyer, please contact us at [email protected] or 1-888-640-1728 (toll free) or 647-204-8107 (within the GTA).

 

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