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Hamilton Employment Law

Ed Canning has been practicing exclusively in the areas of employment law and human rights for 23 years in the City of Hamilton, representing both employers and employees. For 20 years, he has been writing a bi-weekly column in The Hamilton Spectator on employment law and human rights issues that are of interest to both employers and employees. In this blog, you can have access to approximately 500 articles on various subject matters ranging from Employment Standards Act issues, wrongful dismissal issues to human rights issues.

More about Ed Canning

Blog Posts

Filing a complaint with the Ministry of Labour

QUESTION: I work as a customer service representative for a small company where I am paid $15 an hour and 7% commission on any extra services I sell to clients. For the three and a half years I have been there I have been paid every second Friday until about six weeks ago when my pay cheque showed up providing me the hourly rate but not my commission. My commission is about a third of my income. When I asked the owner he said he would get back to me but never did and another pay period went by without commission being paid.

Employer no longer generous on over time pay.

QUESTION: When I was hired to be a service technician five years ago, my hiring letter indicated that I would get time and a half after the first 40 hours worked in a week. Last week the company sent out a memo indicating that as of next month, time and a half will only be paid after the first 44 hours. Can they do this?

Employment Standards Act layoffs, terminations and severance pay

The Employment Standards Act says that if you lay an employee off and keep their benefits going, so long as you call them back within 35 weeks, no termination has occurred. This does not apply to employees where the possibility of a layoff is not an accepted part of their terms of employment.

Can my employer ask me to take a lie detector test?

QUESTION: Recently a significant amount of cash went missing from the retail store where I work. Corporate head office has sent in investigators and they are asking us if we would “voluntarily” be willing to take a lie detector test. I am innocent but the thought of taking some sort of lie detector test gives me the creeps. Do I have to?

It's easy to work overtime with a Blackberry, but do you have to?

QUESTION:  The other day I heard a talk by a CEO who recommended that every office/workplace should have some sort of policy about working outside regular business hours. Specifically, he was referring to this day and age of BlackBerrys and Smart Phones where people find themselves responding to or sending verbal or texted instructions outside normal working hours. What are the employees’ or employers’ obligations in these cases? If I receive a message from somebody at work on Sunday afternoon, I usually think they are an idiot or a loser because they are working on the weekend. On the other hand, if I respond to my boss at 10 p.m. on a Friday night, I think I’m a start and hope he thinks the same. In reality, unless it’s really important, he probably thinks I’m an idiot or loser.

Can I get paid for all my overtime?

QUESTION:  Last week I was terminated after nine months of employment in an office position. The demands of the job were extraordinary and for the last four of those nine months I was constantly being warned that if I didn’t keep up with the workload I would be out of a job. As a result, I started showing up an hour early every day and working at least two hours past the time I was meant to go home.  I did this despite the fact that I was only being paid for 40 in an effort to keep my job. Clearly, it didn’t work.

As an employer do I have to pay for all that overtime?

QUESTION:  I have an employee who does a very decent job but keeps showing up early and staying late. I constantly remind her that the extra work is not required. She keeps up with her work load quite well but seems to like it too much. I am not sure the extra time is that productive. Do I run the risk of getting caught having to pay her for this extra time?

Burt the Elf violates employment law!!

See if you can identify the employment law violations which arise in the following story of Burt, the Elf.

What to do when you are overworked

It seems in the last few years that I am increasingly being consulted by overworked employees. No one’s being obviously mean to them. They haven’t been demoted. Their wages have not been cut.

Can an employer take repair costs from my wages?

QUESTION: As part of my job as a sales person for the last five years, I drive a company vehicle. It recently stalled in the middle of the street and when it was taken in to be fixed, the employer had to spend $1,500.00. They said that I had failed to notice that the engine light was on and should have stopped driving as soon as I saw it. Now they are telling me that they are deducting it in three installments from my next three months commission cheques. Can they do this?