The rules of employment contracts are similar to the rules of contract in general. For example, as per the freedom of contract, one is fully entitled to choose whether or not they want to enter into a contract. This applies to employment contracts as well. Employers are free to decide whether or not they want to enter into a contract with you i.e. hire you. Just like in regular contracts, the principles of offer, acceptance, consensus ad idem, etc are necessary to form an employment contract. An employer cannot unilaterally impose a contractual term onto an employee.
Here is a broad overview of various topics in labour and employment law. This would come out predominantly from a Canadian context.
If you work for somebody, then by definition you have an employment contract, i.e. the common law contract of employment. Generally, there is an explicit contract written out between employer and employee, other times the contract is just implied to exist at common law. The common law contract of employment is basic which is why employees prefer to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement. That being said, the courts have attempted to build a “floor of rights” into the common law contract of employment. A barrier they have encountered is that there is no room for the common law and statute to develop in tandem, i.e. if a right is covered as per statute then that right cannot exist at common law.
The common law contract of employment is poor because at common law there aren’t many developments that create substantive or procedural rights for employees, there is a huge imbalance of power between employers and employees which undermine the freedom to contract; civil litigation is a costly and time-consuming process.
The common law contract of employment only applies to employees. Independent contractors are not subject to the common law protections of the common law contract of employment (because it is believed that independent contractors are better situated economically to protect their own interests). Thus the first threshold question is often to determine if the plaintiff is an employee. The leading test to distinguish employees from independent contractors is the Montreal v. Montreal Locomotive Works Test:
Here are some introductory points on the tort of negligence.
The Elements of a Negligence Action –
Remember, the plaintiff usually has the burden of proving the first five, while the defendant has the burden of proving the sixth.
1. Duty of Care (limiting step) – there are policy considerations that can lead to the finding and non finding of a duty of care; this duty of care exists when it is reasonably foreseeable that your actions will have an effect on another person.
2. Standard of Care and its Breach – in most (but not all) negligence actions, the standard of care is the reasonable person standard .
3. Causation – has the breach of the duty of care caused an injury to the plaintiff? But for the breach of the duty of care, would the injury have occurred?
4. Remoteness of Damages (limiting step) – also called legal causation; if the damages are found to be too remote from the breach of the standard of care, then the plaintiff will not win the case.
5. Actual Loss – without loss, the plaintiff will not be successful (as opposed to intentional torts)
6. Defences – voluntary assumption of risk, illegality
Downward trends in the economy that lead to job losses also increase the number of new business startups. Losing your job coupled with some low interest rates make the idea of entrepreneurship attractive for a variety of reason.
In fact, with more people out of work recession in fact see an increase in people launching their own small businesses.
The law governing treaties: Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969 “treaty means an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by IL, whether embodied in a single instrument, or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation”.
The goals of treaty section of course: the ability to dissect meaning of news reports
-has treaty law actually been created yet?
-what obligations arise when in the treat treaty making process?
Customary law considerations regarding treaty-making
– The doctrine of intertemporal law – how we look at laws made a long time ago thru the lenses of today. This arose in the case concerning the right of passage over Indian territory between Portugal and India.
States can make treaties and international organizations can make treaties. For example, there is a treaty between the UN and Cambodia to establish the special criminal tribunal.
What are treaties? Treaties are instruments that establish international rights and obligations. Treaties go by many names: conventions; memorandums, etc. at the root at ii if it’s a binding instrument subject to international law then it’s a treaty.
Where does the legal weight of treaties come from? Pacta servanta – there ought to be an obligation amongst states to adhere to their treaty obligations.
The Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) was originally passed as anti-piracy statute back in the 1800s. However, it came back to prominence in the 1980s. The -act states that if you are a non-US citizen your claim can be heard in a federal court, but your claim has to vis either a violation of treaty or a violation of custom.
A type of custom that cannot be avoided.
E.g. a persistent objector cannot opt out of a jus cogens norm.
Jus cogens is in contravention on a strict positivist approach because it does not seem to based on state consent because states are bound by these norms even if they do not consent to them. The existence of jus cogens still remains somewhat controversial, however they have achieved quite an wide scope of acceptance. The notion of jus cogens is that these norms are owed by states to all of the international law community.
1. Regional Custom
Asylum case – court examines if there was a customary rule that allowed asylum to be sought in this fashion. First court determined that regional custom had to comprise the dual contents of state practice and opinion juris. Important, however, that Silence CANNOT Constitute State Practice in regional custom. One must create regional customs actively, not passively.
2. Persistent Objection
If one objects persistently, then one is not subject to custom. For example, the USA has persistently objected to Canada’s claim that northwest passage is part of internal waters.