Employment Law Case Studies

Rubin Thomlinson LLP supports its employer and employee clients with a practical and preemptive approach that aims to avoid costly litigation whenever possible but litigate effectively when required. Our lawyers respond quickly and work collaboratively to provide our clients with the resolution that best serves their interests.

The following case studies illustrate our solutions-focused approach:

Help for American Employer Doing Business in Canada

The Challenge:
A large American employer, operating across Canada, needed help understanding Canadian rules governing the workplace. Their internal counsel and senior human resources staff were located in the United States. With several thousand employees in Canada, they needed expertise and counsel on a wide variety of workplace issues.

The Solution:
Janice Rubin provided the American company with legal counsel pertaining to their operations across Canada. She provided expertise on Ontario workplace and human rights law, and drew on a network of legal resources outside of Ontario. Counsel continues to be provided, often on a daily basis, on matters such as employment agreements, overtime and leaves. The organization now has full access to the counsel and expertise needed to operate within the Canadian marketplace.

Disability Management

The Challenge:
A large retail organization fired a sales employee whose epileptic seizures were upsetting customers and staff, and causing disruption in the workplace. The employee contacted the Human Rights Commission (now the Human Rights Tribunal), and the Commission mandated the company take her back. Morale in the store was very low, the seizures continued, and the employer felt powerless. How to reconcile the duty to accommodate with the undue hardship it may cause in the workplace?

The Solution:
Christine Thomlinson took a three-pronged approach. First, she collected data over a six-month period to document the cost the business incurred as a direct result of these seizures. Second, she examined alternate sources of funding, consulting with organizations like Epilepsy Canada. Finally, since accommodation is a multi-party responsibility, Christine advised the client to contact the employee’s doctor and inquire about any potential risk to others and how to minimize workplace seizures for the employee. Armed with this information, she helped the client put in place an accommodation agreement, committing the employer to accommodating as long as the employee fulfilled a set of conditions. The employer had a satisfactory solution to its duty to accommodate.

Mass Terminations

The Challenge:
A large national retail organization decided to discontinue its manufacturing operations. Although, 200 employees were to be terminated, many of whom had long service records, hundreds of employees were to remain. The organization needed help managing the terminations and severances, wanting to appear fair to the remaining employees. They also needed to mitigate the financial risk by keeping liabilities in check and carefully managing the cost of severance packages.

The Solution:
With extensive client input, Janice Rubin helped the client develop a severance formula broad enough to apply to the majority of employees while flexible enough to address unique circumstances (e.g., employees on pregnancy, parental or disability leave). Janice also recommended the use of outplacement counseling and financial planning for the terminated employees. As a result of careful and thorough planning, they mitigated the risk of what could have been a costly and devastating human resource situation. The mass termination was executed smoothly by the human resource team.