Canadian Employment Law Today

December 10, 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 supreme Court of Canada recognizes new duty of honesty Both sides in employment relationship should take heed to top court's ruling on contracts By JUSTin TETrEAULT on noV. 14, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada released a landmark decision in Bhasin v. Hrynew, which recognized, for the fi rst time, a general duty of honesty when performing a contract. is decision has signifi cant ramifi cations for employers, em- ployees, and the public at large, as this new duty applies to all contractual relationships. Harish Bhasin and Larry Hrynew both operated businesses which sold education savings plans for Canadian American Fi- nancial Corp. (Can-Am). Bhasin's relationship with Can-Am was governed by a three-year fi xed term con- tract that would automatically renew unless one of the parties gave six months' notice to the contrary. Hrynew wanted to capture Bhasin's mar- ket and on multiple occasions proposed a merger of their two businesses. Bhasin rejected Hrynew's proposals. Unable to se- cure a merger with Bhasin, Hrynew instead began to put pressure on Can-Am to not re- new its contract with Bhasin. Can-Am began to deal with Bhasin dis- honestly and repeatedly misled him on a number of issues, including its future plans for his business. Ultimately, Can-Am pro- vided Bhasin with written notice of its deci- sion to terminate the contract. After losing his contract with Can-Am, Bhasin's business suff ered greatly. Bha- sin sued both Hrynew and Can-Am, al- leging, among other things, that Can-Am breached an implied duty of good faith in their contract. While Bhasin was suc- December 10, 2014 Emplo y ment Law Today Canad ad a ian Volunteer fi refi ghter fi red from regular job pg. 3 Worker accused of leaving without permission with tim mitchell Workplace assault not enough to terminate: Arbitrator An onTArio arbitrator has reinstated a worker who was fi red for hitting a co-work- er during a workplace altercation. Sonia Gatto worked on the assembly line for Kruger, a manufacturer of corrugated cardboard boxes in Brampton, Ont. Gatto operated a transfer car that moved product from one machine to another on the assem- bly line. She was considered a good worker without any disciplinary record in seven- and-one-half years with Kruger. On Oct. 17, 2013, the assembly line was getting backed up and was in danger of be- ing stopped. An electrician who was new to the company, Yan Zhu, was trying to repair another transfer car, but the car's manual – normally kept in the control panel — was missing. Zhu needed to understand the elec- trical circuit diagram of the car, so he went looking for a manual. Another car was miss- ing its manual, so Zhu asked Gatto if he could get into the control panel of her transfer car. Gatto assumed Zhu wanted to do mainte- nance, so she refused because the assembly line was backing up and she needed to get to work. Zhu still couldn't fi nd a manual, nor could he get hold of the leadhand to give au- thorization for Gatto to shut down her car. Gatto asked her supervisor whether she should shut down her car to let Zhu into the control panel but, without knowing why, the supervisor wouldn't authorize it. Zhu was growing concerned that his as- signment was taking too long because he couldn't fi nd a manual. He decided to take matters into his own hands. As Gatto went by, Zhu jumped into her credit: Pressmaster/shutterstock getting up to speed on human rights pg. 4 Two Ontario cases showcase possible trends in human rights decisions employers need to be aware of going into 2015 partiEs on page 6 » misConDuCt on page 7 » ask an EXpErt pg. 2 Refusing to hire applicants with health issues stemming from lifestyle

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