Canadian Employment Law Today

October 01, 2014

Focuses on human resources law from a business perspective, featuring news and cases from the courts, in-depth articles on legal trends and insights from top employment lawyers across Canada.

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PM40065782 October 1, 2014 Emplo y ment Law Today Canad ad a ian revelation of feelings leads to messy situation at work pg. 3 Nurse couldn't accept rejection by supervisor with Colin Gibson settlement restores most slashed benefi ts to Gm retirees Class action suit launched after company cut healthcare and life insurance benefi ts during economic downturn By JEffrEy r. SmiTh GEnERAl mOTORs OF CAnADA (GM) has reached a settlement with more than 3,200 retired employees after it was faced with a class action suit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, restoring benefi ts cut by the automaker following the 2008 recession. GM provided post-retirement benefi ts to its employees for a long time. ese benefi ts included healthcare and basic life insurance benefi ts, which were outlined in numerous documents such as information brochures and booklets — there was no single benefi ts agreement — that indicated employees could count on a core of benefi ts for their lifetime. Employees also received follow-up life insurance notices from GM outlining their amount of continuing life insurance for the rest of their life. GM also provided its executive employ- ees with additional benefi ts, including a pension top-up benefi t, supplemental group life insurance, and "personal umbrel- la liability insurance." Vandalism leads back to employee with grudge An OnTARIO COmpAny had enough evidence to fi nd just cause for dismissal of an employee for vandalism in the workplace, an arbitrator has ruled. Tarek Kerkeni was a fi rst-class mainte- nance technician for Invista, a nylon manu- facturer in Kingston, Ont. He was fi rst hired in January 2006 and progressed to fi rst-class status, though he was known to be hostile towards suggestions from co-workers on how to do assigned tasks. One incident in November 2011 involved two co-workers observing Kerkeni work- ing in what they considered an unsafe way and contrary to Invista's safe practice pro- tocols. ey reported it to management and Kerkeni was suspended. Kerkeni felt he had been working safely and the suspension was unwarranted. A grievance reduced the sus- pension to a written warning and Kerkeni felt vindicated. However, afterwards he was heard by others referring to the two co- workers as "rats." On Aug. 15, 2012, one of the co-workers found the shop refrigerator to be empty of water bottles, though there had been be- tween 20 and 30 in it the day before. Kerke- ni had worked the previous shift, so the co-worker asked him about it but Kerkeni mumbled something and left. e next day, the two co-workers took a carton of paper towels and put it on Kerke- ni's toolbox with a teasing note, "Put this in your secret spot." On Friday, Aug. 17, the two co-workers in the maintenance department discovered someone had vandalized their equipment. One of them found his battery charger miss- ing — it was found damaged in a bin a few days later — and his tool cabinet had several dents in it, seemingly from being struck with a heavy object. Also, a steel rod that was nor- mally used to secure the drawers had been bent to jam the drawers, and the drawers of another cabinet in the shop with his name on them had been struck with something. e other co-worker found his tool cabi- net fi lled with water. He wasn't sure what to think, but after learning of the other work- er's vandalized equipment, he understood he had been vandalized as well. Addition- ally, an add-on to his tool cabinet — which contained pictures of his family — had been struck and dented. As the co-workers discussed the vandal- ized equipment, another employee over- heard them and told them he had seen Kerke- ni bending over one of their cabinets with his CRedit: maRk BLiNCh/ReuteRS navigating ontario's new leaves of absence pg. 4 Three new types of leave add new dimension to granting time off to employees no rEFErEnCE on page 6 » Co-WorkErs on page 7 » ask an ExpErt pg. 2 Maternity leave requirements • Calculating severance pay

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