Generally, independent contractors are excluded from collective bargaining. It is believed that they are financially independent enough such that they do not require the protection of collective bargaining. Either of the tests above can be applied to determine if an individual is a contractor or an employee.
Compensation Wrongful Dismissal
The measure of damages for wrongful dismissal is governed by the length of the notice period in the contract of employment, because what makes the dismissal unlawful at common law is the employer’s failure to give due notice or wages in lieu of. Therefore, the employer can recover only for wages and benefits that he or she would have been legally entitled to during the contractual notice period.
If the employer acted in a particularly repulsive way in the manner of dismissal, there is no additional recourse for the employee unless the employee can show that the employer’s conduct constituted an independently actionable tort such as mental distress (Honda v. Keays).
Dismissal for Cause
An employer can dismiss an employee if there is a valid cause. The test for valid cause is if the employee dishonestly violates an essential condition of the employment contract, breaches the faith inherent to the work relationship, or is fundamentally or directly inconsistent with the employee’s obligations to his or her employer (McKinley).
Constructive dismissal is a doctrine that states when an employer unilaterally and drastically alters the terms of an employee’s employment, the employee is entitled to quit their job and sue the employer from wrongful dismissal. In other words, an employer is not allowed to unilaterally change an employment contract, unless the employee explicitly accepts. If an employer continues to work even after the drastic change, this does not necessarily constitute acceptance. Bad faith is not a requirement for an employer to commit a repudiatory breach (Farber v. Royal Trust).
Wrongful Dismissal – Reasonable Notice
When it comes to wrongful dismissal, the main job of the court is to determine what is reasonable notice (i.e. you get paid money to compensate you). This is an implied term of the employment contract as per common law. There are two main approaches to determine reasonable notice. The oft-cited Bardal approach where the court considers such factors as the character of employment, length of service of the servant, age of the servant and availability of similar employment (most important) having regard to the experience, training, and qualifications of the servant. The Bardal approach is augmented with by the Lazarowicz approach, approved by the SK QB in Bartlam. Here, the court imagines that the employer and the employee had sat down at had a chat at the time the employee was hired. How much of a notice period would they have agreed upon? This approach is useful because it takes it flexibly takes into account factors such as the economic situation, norms of the industry and so on.
Implied Terms in Labour Common Law
As per common law, there are certain terms that are implied to be in all employment contracts. Most notably, reasonable notice for wrongful dismissal. There is a rebuttal presumption that such a right exists, unless the employer can show evidence that the parties agreed otherwise. Based on the inherent power imbalance between employers and employees, ambiguous terms of employment contracts will be interpreted in a way that is favourable to the employee (Ceccol). An implied term is something that the employer and employee would have agreed to if they had sat down and had a chat at the beginning of the employment relationship (McNamara).
Employee Status in Common law Contract
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:
Customary International Law in US litigation under the Alien Tort Claims Act
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.
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The Exceptions to Universality of Customary International Law
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.
Pulling the Plug When Family and Health Care Providers Disagree on Care
Some are curious what the law has to say when it comes to making a decision about the care of someone who’s incapacitated. When it comes to the critically ill, when family members and health care providers disagree on the plan of the care, what is the appropriate role of the courts to intervene? Some thoughts.
You could: a) Do what the families say.
- This would mean removal of life support measures without consent constitutes battery. (However, any interference with the body without consent is battery.)
– the law is also obsessed with the autonomy of the individual. The needs of the family is largely irrelevant within the legal model.
Another scenario b) Do what the doctors say.
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