Canadian Employment Law Today

June 21, 2017

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 Emplo y ment Law Today Canad ad a ian June 21, 2017 Employer had just cause to turn up nose at worker THE TERMINATION of a British Colum- bia worker was not because of bad hygiene related to his disability, but simply poor per- formance, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ruled. Nigel Southwell was hired as a temporary employee in March 2016 by CKF, a manufac- turer of food service and packaging products based in Langley, B.C. Southwell's position was that of a thermoformer operator, part of the manufacturing process of food packag- ing. When Southwell started, he underwent signifi cant training on food safety and per- sonal hygiene, as did all CKF employees due to the nature of their products and the com- pany's requirement to adhere to strict food safety guidelines. To ensure CKF maintained its strict guidelines and to ensure the packaging it produced wasn't exposed to contamination, the company underwent regular compli- ance audits. In addition, new employees like Southwell were required to undergo a pre- employment medical screen, background criminal checks, and certifi cations before starting their employment with CKF. He was also subject to a 600-hour probationary pe- riod. During Southwell's training and medical screening, he didn't advise that he had any medical conditions that could potentially cause problems with his job. Soon after Southwell began working at CKF's facility, other employees began com- plaining to management about his hygiene issues. ey reported he spit on the plant fl oor, he blew on a product before returning it to the packing table, he brought a beverage other than water on the plant fl oor (contrary to company rules), he had bad body odour, Determining the scope of workplace harassment Top court's ruling on B.C. case will clarify jurisdiction of human rights tribunals when discrimination comes from a non-employer BY VICTORIA PETRENKO AND PRESTON PARSONS CAN a worker be discriminated against in the workplace by someone who works with a diff erent company and in a subordinate role? is is the question the Supreme Court of Canada was faced with this past spring, as the court seeks to clarify the boundaries of the "workplace" when it comes to human rights law. e court's eventual decision could expand human rights tribunals' juris- diction when it comes to workplace harass- ment. e case before Canada's top court began in 2014. Edward Schrenk was employed by Clemas Contracting, a company providing general contractor work for construction sites in Langley, B.C., and was supervised by Mohammadreza Sheikhzadeh-Mashgoul, who was on site as a representative of a separate consulting engineering fi rm. Over CREDIT: ROMOLO TAVANI/SHUTTERSTOCK Jumping the gun on cause for dismissal pg. 3 Failure to follow progressive discipline procedure leads to unjust dismissal Giving bad references is OK if they're true pg. 4 Former employee seeks almost $800,000 for defamation for bad reference — but only gets $17,000 for reasonable notice with Brian Johnston HARASSMENT on page 6 » DISABILITY on page 7 » ASK AN EXPERT pg. 2 Purchasing a business and rehiring its employees

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