Tag archives: collective agreement

Testing the limits of reasonableness: Alberta Court quashes arbitration decision on random drug testing.

In the recent decision of Suncor Energy Inc v Unifor Local 707A, 2016 ABQB 269 [Suncor] the Court of Queen’s Bench found that an arbitration board’s decision was unreasonable and sent it back for rehearing by a fresh panel. The decision stems from the implementation of a random drug and alcohol testing policy in 2012. … Continue reading

Reform of the German Law on Temporary Employment

This post was also contributed by Bastian Semmel, International Trainee, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP (Frankfurt). With effect from 1 January 2017, the German legislation on temporary employment will be reformed, as the Federal Cabinet recently passed a draft law regarding this matter on 1 June 2016. These changes are designed to address the misuse of temporary … Continue reading

Arbitrator Upholds Termination of Nurse for Patient Privacy Breaches

There is a growing body of arbitral jurisprudence upholding summary dismissal of employees who breached workplace codes of conduct, confidentiality and privacy policies by deliberately snooping into co-worker or client records without any legitimate purpose and for reasons of their own.  A number of these cases have concerned privacy breaches by hospital employees.  Ontario Nurses’ … Continue reading

Is it possible for employers to change the terms of employment contracts?

At first sight, the answer to this question would be: only by mutual agreement. But once you take a closer look there are many ways and situations that make it possible for an employer to unilaterally change the contractual terms. Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) are binding for members of those employers’ associations (firms)  and labour … Continue reading

Alberta’s Bill 4: Essential Services and the Supreme Court of Canada

The Alberta government recently introduced Bill 4, An Act to Implement a Supreme Court Ruling Governing Essential Services, which proposes to extend the right to strike to certain public-sector workers. Alberta has traditionally banned strikes and lockouts involving most public-sector employees. However, in the 2015 decision Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v Saskatchewan, 2015 SCC 4, … Continue reading

When Collective Agreements and the ESA collide

When can a collective agreement deviate from the law? In a recent Ontario arbitration decision, the issue arose of whether a work schedule in agreed to in collective bargaining failed to comply with the Hours of Work provisions in the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). Section 18 of the ESA requires employees to have certain amounts … Continue reading

Collective Agreements vs. Charter Rights in Nova Scotia

When a collective agreement is negotiated, compromises are often made.  Benefits are given to some but not all employees. However, this can risk being viewed as discriminatory – depending on who receives the new benefits and who does not. In a recent case before the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, IAFF, Local 268 v Adekayode, it was examined … Continue reading

To name or not to name, that is the question…

Surprisingly, name tag policies have become the subject of recent litigation and labour board decisions on the topic have been hitting the news. However, the resulting litigation still leaves room for debate. In the recent decision of Prairie North Health Region v Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 5111, an arbitration board in Saskatchewan held that the policy … Continue reading

What implications does a change in the ownership of a business have for employment?

In Quebec, many legal consequences must be considered when the alienation or concession of a business occurs, especially those that are related to labour relations. More specifically, what implications does a transfer as such have on the alienated or licenced business’ employees? In order to answer this question, it is of utmost importance to first … Continue reading

Can a failure to extend a collective wage agreement be unfair discrimination?

This article was written by Verushka Reddy, a director at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa The most recent amendments to the Employment Equity Act permit the CCMA to consider unfair discrimination claims in certain circumstances. Exercising its newly found jurisdiction to determine ‘equal pay for equal work’ claims, the CCMA recently considered this question in the … Continue reading

Freedom of Association and the Ontario Medical Association

Last week, the Ontario Medical Association (“OMA”) challenged the constitutionality of the provincial government’s decision to cut fees for doctors. The OMA is relying on section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) which expressly protects freedom of association – a right most often invoked by trade unions. The organization is seeking … Continue reading

You are not the boss of me…or ARE you?

On August 27, 2015 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in a high-impact, 3-2 decision along party lines, handed labor unions a significant advantage in their enforcement of collective bargaining laws by significantly modifying its longstanding “joint employer” standard. The ruling will surely leave countless businesses potentially liable for violations of labor laws committed by … Continue reading

The New School graduate students seek review of dismissal of petition

In a decision issued on February 6, 2015 the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board, Region 2, dismissed a petition for union representation with The New School filed by a putative labor organization, Student Employees at The New School (SENS), which is affiliated with the UAW. SENS filed its petition for recognition as … Continue reading

NLRB passes on football players’ employee status

On August 17, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) declined to assert jurisdiction to determine whether the Northwestern University (Northwestern) scholarship football players should be considered employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In April, we reported that the Regional Director of Region 13 of the NLRB found that scholarship football players from … Continue reading

Clear language trumps fairness: Be clear in collective agreements to avoid double dipping

A 7 year battle over a day of paid personal leave has finally reached a conclusion. The dispute centred around the interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement governing a unionized employee of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The employee, during the span of one fiscal year, moved from one position within the Agency to another. … Continue reading

Ontario teachers ordered back to school after illegal strike

The government’s new School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, which passed last year, has become the subject of controversy. Secondary school teachers across Ontario have been on strike for multiple weeks keeping approximately 70,000 students out of the classroom. The three school boards have taken this issue of these local strike’s legality to the Ontario Labour … Continue reading

Estoppel applied by Saskatchewan Court of Appeal to prevent compensation change

In the recent decision of Viterra v Grain Services Union, 2013 SKCA 93 the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal reaffirmed the power of arbitrators to hold parties to past practice in applying a collective agreement through the doctrine of estoppel. This case considered the employer’s long-standing practice of paying of paying certain groups of employees vacation pay on their overtime … Continue reading

Der arbeitsrechtliche Hintergrund der derzeitigen Streiks bei der Bahn

Arg strapaziert wird derzeit der Geduldsfaden der Bahnkunden – über Tage hinweg legten Gewerkschaften den Bahnverkehr mit Streiks lahm. Da eine Einigung der Lokführergewerkschaft GdL bzw. der Eisenbahnergewerkschaft EVG mit der Deutschen Bahn noch immer nicht in Sicht ist, ist zudem bis Weihnachten mit weiteren Streiks zu rechnen. Doch was ist der Hintergrund der verhärteten … Continue reading

Conciliation travail-famille – endeavour to achieve a work life balance in Quebec

In Quebec, time devoted to paid work has considerably increased over the years. Moreover, the number of single-parent families and households where both spouses work is growing. Consequently, we are left with an increasing imbalance between work and family obligations. Quebec is no exception to this rule. Indeed, the Bureau de Normalisation du Québec (BNQ) … Continue reading

Statutory Rest Times May Not Apply in Unionized Workplaces

Section 18 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) provides that employees must be given at least 11 consecutive hours of rest between shifts. Three recent decisions outline different scenarios that may exempt employers from this requirement: (1) where the employer qualifies for an exemption laid out in s. 19 of the ESA; (2) where a … Continue reading

Grievance: a provable claim within the meaning of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act

This post was contributed by Philippe Levac (Norton Rose Fulbright’s Montréal office) Norton Rose Fulbright’s Employment and Labour Team in Montréal raised a preliminary objection against an arbitrator’s jurisdiction on the basis of orders rendered pursuant to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (“CCAA“), which was upheld and led to the dismissal of the grievance. In … Continue reading

The Charter of Values in Québec

In the wake of the Bill 60 debates currently taking place in Quebec, we suggest an analysis of the possible consequences, with regards to labour relations, of the Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests (“Charter“). Indeed, it … Continue reading

Employers Require Evidence to Support Restrictions on Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace

This post was contributed by Peter MacTavish, Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP (Ottawa) and Brittany Hinds, summer student, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP (Ottawa) A recent arbitral decision invalidating the Ottawa Hospital’s restrictions on employee piercings and tattoos is yet another reminder that employers must have objective evidence to support the implementation of professional … Continue reading