Will I get my job back after a long illness?

I had a car accident in September, 2011 and have not returned to work. I provide a doctor’s note regarding my medical leave every seven to nine weeks to my employer. How long can my employer hold my job? If and when I return can they refuse me?

What would be considered an assault at work?

If a human resources supervisor gets physically aggressive toward a direct report – grabbing things out of the person’s hand, but not touching them – would this be considered an assault and should that direct report call the police?

What can we do if a colleague emits a strong odour?

We need guidance regarding a recent hire. The person constantly has bad breath, a strong body odour and smelly feet. She was hired to meet with my clients, but I can’t expose them to this. Over the past three months, we have had to deal with it every day and realize it’s not an occasional thing. We simply don’t know how to address this without crossing any lines – legal or otherwise. What are our rights, without crossing any barriers?

Tips for the office firing squad

There is a legal prescription for firing employees, but not all employers care to follow it. Eyebrows were raised last week when the chief executive officer of AOL Inc., Tim Armstrong, fired a staffer during a mass conference call. He later apologized, but the damage was done. This raises the legal question, what is the right and wrong way to fire an employee?

Tips for a lawsuit-free holiday party

Office holiday parties can be a risky business – especially for employers. Given the courts’ increased willingness to place a legal onus on employers to ensure the safety of their employees, mixing an open bar with a workplace event can be a recipe for disaster. Here are some of the potential risks that employers face with holiday parties and other after-work events:

Speaking your mind can hurt your career

“In publicly challenging the direction given to you by both the president of the university and the provost, you have demonstrated egregious conduct and insubordination and have destroyed your relationship with the senior leadership team of the university.”

Our boss harasses us. What can we do?

I work for a retail chain and recently a new employer took over. From day one, we have worked under the threat of dismissal, unnecessary reprimands, unreasonable demands and we are constantly insulted by our boss. We all fear for our jobs. Does this conduct run contrary to Bill 168, Ontario’s legislation to prevent workplace violence and harassment? What steps should I take to get the Ministry of Labour involved? What will they do?

My ‘sick’ employee posted pictures of herself out partying

I have an employee who gave me a note on a Friday stating that as of Monday she will be on sick leave for the summer as she requires bed rest prior to surgery at the end of the summer. Recently she has been posting pictures of herself on Facebook out fishing and partying and she has attended company events outside of work. Can I fire this employee?

My employer isn’t protecting me

A client came into my workplace threatening that he wanted to “speak with me.” I fear that he wanted to harm me. I don’t believe my employer is taking appropriate steps to protect me. What rights and options do I have regarding my safety?

Legal pendulum swings toward workers

Whether it was a collective belief among judges that current workplace laws favoured employers, or recognition that too many companies dealt unfairly with their employees, 2013 saw the employment law pendulum swing decidedly toward workers. A number of judgments last year demonstrate the shifting legal landscape and its impact on the Canadian workplace: