This article covers three recent cases that employers should keep in mind. The first serves as a reminder that employment contracts must be carefully drafted to ensure compliance with the Employment Standards Act. The second makes clear that parties to employment contracts must be careful not to deceive one another and, where they have, must take appropriate steps to correct false impressions. The third is an example of the dangers of using fixed-term contracts that contain no early termination clauses.
A labour arbitrator recently rejected a union's challenge to an employer's COVID-19 employee testing policy. The arbitrator dismissed the grievance and found that the employer, a retirement home, had implemented a reasonable policy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among its residents. The employer's reliance on public health guidance to create a COVID-19 employee testing policy was found to be reasonable.
An arbitrator recently found that an employee's failure to follow their employer's and the public health guidelines relating to COVID-19 was just cause for termination. As a unionised employee, the employee benefited from the just cause protections for termination under the collective agreement. Despite those protections, the arbitrator found that the employee's actions were a "clear violation" of COVID-19 guidelines and warranted dismissal.