Sunday, January 20, 2013

Free legal advice: Employee can be fired for working during breaks

Recently, I was fascinated by a decision by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. An employee as dismissed for working through her break.  Doesn't this sound ridiculous? 

So lets break down the facts to understand it better. 

A sales person who has won numerous awards was given a 'final' warning in writing on account of her abrupt behavior with co-workers and for working beyond her usual hours. This implies that she would skip her breaks by coming back to the shop floor to work. Following this warning, she filed a complaint alleging that she was being given adverse treatment on racial grounds. Even before a hearing was held to look into her complaint, she was terminated. 

In this particular case, the employer's stance is that it has a right to fire an employee for working through a break. Legal issue that rose was: Did the employer fire the employee in retaliation for the complaint she had filed? 

Interestingly, the tribunal agreed with this point raised by the employer and held that the real reason of the dismissal was not a retaliation of any sort.

You can refer to this case in detail here.  

This decision raises several questions. Why should the employers be held liable as per Canada's laws for work that is performed by an employee during break hour? Is this legal approach justified? Does it protect the rights of all stake holders? What is its real objective? Obviously, it puts pressure on employers and adds a severe risk of dismissal to employees who want to work beyond the prescribed hours?

It would be interesting to know your thoughts on this Canada law decision. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Canada's most famous case in 2012: Can you claim planets as your property?

In 2012, Canada's most-talked about case was that of Sylvio Langevin [refer to 2012 QCCS 613 (CanLII)] who claimed the Earth and other planets such as Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus as his property. This report states that the case had been referred to more than 19,000 times. 

Here comes the funny bit. Langevin was too late to claim the 'Sun' as property because a Spanish woman had done so already! 

Given the peculiar claim, the applicant has been barred from filing further claims. This doesn't surprise me at all. 

What's the weirdest case you have ever read about? It would be fun to know.