COVID-19: How Labour Rights Law is responding to the Pandemic


What are Employment Contracts?2021-10-14T12:43:46-07:00

A verbal and/or written agreement between an employer and an employee that contains the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment.

read: The “Right to Disconnect?” Three Important Legal Issues in Work-From-Home Arrangements

What is Discrimination?2021-10-14T12:28:23-07:00

Broadly speaking, discrimination is unjust differential treatment of a person based on a protected ground. Discrimination comes in many forms including systemic discrimination, stereotyping, negative assumptions, subtle discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, and many more. In employment, discrimination is prohibited by Section 13 of the Human Rights Code.

read: Types of Workplace Discrimination

What is Duty of Fair Representation?2021-10-14T12:19:42-07:00

A statutory obligation that unions have towards the employees they represent in their role as the employees’ exclusive bargaining agent. In British Columbia, Section 12 of the Labour Relations Code provides that unions must not represent its members in a manner that is arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith. Read the leading decision of the Labour Relations Board of the Duty of Fair Representation here.

read: What is a Collective Agreement?

What is Dismissal?2021-09-16T10:04:50-07:00

Dismissal occurs when the employer terminates its employment relationship with an employee either “with cause” or “without cause”. If an employer terminates an employee’s employment for cause, the employer must prove that it had just cause for termination. Where an employee has been dismissed without cause, they are entitled to notice.

read: Dismissal Without Cause in BC

What are Damages?2021-09-16T09:58:41-07:00

Damages are typically an award of money paid to someone who has been wronged to compensate them for the harm or loss they experienced. Damages are typically compensatory rather than punitive.

read: What are general damages?

What is a Collective Agreement?2021-09-16T09:55:56-07:00

The collective agreement is a written contract agreed to by a union and an employer following collective bargaining. The collective agreement outlines the terms and conditions of employment for unionized employees and contains a dispute resolution mechanism, called the grievance procedure.

read: What is collective bargaining?

What is Burden of Proof?2021-09-16T09:55:56-07:00

The party in a dispute who has the burden of proof has the duty to prove their case. For instance, when an employer terminates an employee’s employment for “just cause“, the employer has the burden of proof. This means that in a dispute, employer has to present evidence to persuade an adjudicator that it had sufficient reason to dismiss the employee for just cause. If the employer cannot prove “just cause”, then it will either have to pay severance or reinstate the employee.

read: What is Severance Pay?

What is Back Pay?2021-09-15T12:53:03-07:00

it is wages and benefits owing to the employee for time they have already worked. Back pay is calculated as the difference between what the employee should have been paid and what the employee actually was paid. Back pay includes all monies the employee is entitled to including commissions, bonuses, overtime, etc.

read: Can you get fired for refusing overtime?

What is Arbitration?2021-09-15T13:15:20-07:00

A mechanism for dispute resolution which involves the disputing parties (typically a union and an employer) and a neutral, third-party decision maker; the Arbitrator. The setting for adjudication is usually an informal hearing during which each party will have the opportunity to present evidence and argument. The Arbitrator will make a binding and enforceable decision on the matter. For unionized employees, the Arbitration process is typically included in the collective agreement as the final step of the grievance process.

watch: What every union member needs to know (part 1)

What is Collective Bargaining?2021-09-15T13:29:25-07:00

Collective bargaining is the process through which unions, on behalf of the employees, negotiate contracts – also called collective agreements – with employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, safety policies, etc.

read the blog: What is collective bargaining?

What is Constructive Dismissal?2021-09-15T13:33:51-07:00

Constructive dismissal – If an employee has been constructively dismissed, it means that an employer dismissed the employee without actually stating that it was doing so. Rather, the employment relationship was terminated because of the what the employer did, not what it stated. Legally, an employee is constructively dismissed when the employer, on its own, makes a substantial change to a fundamental term of the employment contract and the employee does not consent to the change being made.

read the blog: Have I been constructively dismissed?

What is Duty to Accommodate?2021-09-15T13:39:30-07:00

Duty to accommodate – Employers have a duty not to discriminate against employees regarding employment and this includes taking all reasonable steps to avoid a negative effect as a result of an employee’s protected characteristic, which is called a duty to accommodate. Protected characteristics include a person’s race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age or criminal convictions.

read: Discrimination in human rights law and the duty to accommodate

What are General Damages?2021-09-15T13:42:01-07:00

An amount of money to compensate someone for the harm they have experienced.

What does Fiduciary mean?2021-09-15T13:43:18-07:00

A fiduciary employee is an employee who is trusted by the employer with a high level of responsibility and with confidential information about the employer’s business.

What are Human Rights?2021-09-15T13:46:48-07:00

Human rights laws is law that is created with the aim of eliminating discrimination on the basis of the specific protected grounds laid out in legislation.

read: Human Rights Law in Canada 

What does Compensation mean?2021-06-28T10:10:25-07:00

What does Compensation mean? This is an employee’s pay. It includes payment of money, and/or other things of value, in exchange for work performed.

What is Common Law?2021-09-15T13:50:26-07:00

Also known as “judge-made law”, common law is the law created from Court decisions which create precedents. Law is created through common law (from judges and decision makers) and legislation (from the legislature).

watch: The law behind I quit

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