Are Employment Contracts Signed After You’ve Started Working Enforceable?

The employment relationship is governed by legislation as well as, in most cases, an employment contract. An employment contract can determine many of an employee’s and employer’s rights and obligations in the employment relationship, with some of the most significant issues arising at the end of the employment relationship.

The enforceability of employment contracts accounts for a significant amount of employment disputes, and there can be a number of reasons as to why a particular employment contract may or may not be enforceable. One such issue that can significantly impact the enforceability of an employment contract that many employers and employees are unaware of is when an employee signs a contract of employment.

Consideration & Employment Contracts

Employment contracts can be either written or oral, with written contracts being the preferred choice for clarity and legal certainty. A written employment contract typically outlines the terms and conditions of employment, including … Continue reading

Dependent Contractors in British Columbia

In British Columbia, the classification of workers as employees, independent contractors, or dependent contractors carries legal implications which can be hugely significant to employers and workers alike. While employees and independent contractors are widely known and understood the category of workers, dependent contractors occupy a unique position in the realm of employment law and are often not understood by the public at large.

What is a Dependent Contractor?

Dependent contractors are workers who are in an employment relationship with a business that falls somewhere between that of an employee and an independent contractor. Unlike independent contractors, who maintain a higher degree of independence and control over their work and often have multiple clients, dependent contractors often work exclusively or primarily for one business and rely on that business for a significant portion of their income, if not all of it.

Under British Columbia employment law, dependent contractors are entitled … Continue reading

Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors

The landscape of the modern workplace is constantly evolving from changes in laws to changes in how we work whether remotely or digitally. With these changes, the legal complexities that businesses must navigate are also evolving. One such challenge is the potential misclassification of employees as independent contractors and vice versa. While some view this issue as nothing more than an administrative oversight, the reality is such misclassification can have serious legal implications for businesses, including lawsuits and potentially significant monetary damages.

What Is The Difference Between Employees & Independent Contractors?

To understand the implications of misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor, it is first necessary to look at the differences between them. While there are nuances that come into play, the main thing which distinguishes an employee from an independent contractor is the degree of control an employer has over the individual’s work.

An employee is subject … Continue reading

Employee Entitlements for Terminated Federally Regulated Employees Change Starting in February 2024

As of February 1, 2024, federally regulated employees will benefit from new entitlements upon termination of their employment further to changes to the Canada Labour Code. These changes are important for employers and employees alike to be aware of.

These changes are part of a larger campaign to introduce new regulatory initiatives that will impact federally regulated employers and employees under the Canada Labour Code. Many of these initiatives are still under development and are planned for gradual release through the end of 2025.

Federally Regulated Employees

A federally regulated employee is an employee who works in an industry or workplace which is regulated by the Canada Labour Code. While not an exhaustive list, some federally regulated industries are:

  • Air Transportation 
  • Television and Radio Broadcasting
  • Some Crown Corporations 
  • Telecommunications
  • Banking
  • Some Mining and Processing Industries
  • Postal Services
  • Port Services and Marine Shipping
  • Rail and Road transportation that crosses Provincial
Continue reading

Tax Implications in Employment Law Settlements

As with most areas of law, the vast majority of disputes between employers and employees are often resolved through negotiated settlements, whether via direct negotiations or mediation, without the need for a trial. Unlike settlements with respect to other areas of law, such as personal injury claims, or denied life insurance claims, when an employment law claim is settled there are tax implications that need to be considered by all parties involved.

Tax Treatment of Settlement Payments

When an employee receives a payment as a result of the settlement of an employment law dispute, the tax implications can vary depending on the nature of the settlement. The general rule of thumb is that if a payment is intended to replace income, or if it is contemplated in the employment agreement, then it is likely taxable. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) usually treats settlement payments as follows:

  • Termination and Severance Pay
Continue reading