We may not want to talk about it, shy away from mentioning it; however, harassment and discrimination suits are topping the news.

More and more companies are having employment-related lawsuits against them. Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, RSO 1990, C.O.1., now requires that all employers have a policy and training on workplace sexual harassment. Alberta has just passed similar legislation under its Occupational Health and Safety Act, C.O.-2.1.

Case Studies

We have included some employment-related cases from over the past 10 years, so we can increase our awareness of employment practices liability.

Case #1

A former employee brought an action against their former employer and manager for constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal can occur when an employee resigns from their position as a result of the employer or their superior creating a hostile work environment, which can transpire through a variety of ways.

The former employee alleged that his manager had undermined the employee’s authority with the rest of the staff by criticizing his work and mannerisms to his colleagues. The manager had told the employee in his last performance review that he was not performing to the company’s standards and that he had better improve.

The employee resigned from his job and claimed that he was constructively dismissed as a result of the manager’s creation of a hostile, unprofessional, and unpleasant work environment.

After a prolonged legal battle, action was ultimately settled with insurers paying defence costs in the range of $110,000.

Case #2

A dismissed employee brought an action against his former employer who terminated the former employee’s employment based on his poor work performance and absenteeism.

The former employee alleged that he had been dismissed in retaliation for him organizing a group of staff to object to the company’s dress code.

Insurers paid legal fees of $45,000 in the successful defence of this case.

Case #3

A former employee brought an action against his former employer for constructive dismissal in bad faith and damages to reputation. The former employee alleged that he suffered humiliation, embarrassment, psychological damage, and mental distress as a result of being dismissed from his job.

Demands for relief were sought in the form of general damages; special damages; loss of income; loss of future earnings capacity; damages for loss of reputation; and aggravated, punitive, and exemplary damages.

In the end, insurers paid $23,254 to defend the case.

These are just a few employment-related cases—what they looked like, the circumstances, the payouts—all with the goal of helping us grow our awareness of employment practices.

Need to provide the mandatory workplace sexual harassment training to your staff in order to meet legislation?

We have partnered with Ryley Learning to provide a high quality, convenient, and cost-effective on-line learning course and facilitation on workplace sexual harassment.

To learn more and arrange for training:

Let us coordinate!

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Topics: employment practices liability, staff training and documentation, workplace harassment, occupational health and safety, workplace health, workplace policies and procedures

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