COVID-19 and the Workplace: What you need to know
The COVID-19 virus has turned our world upside down. We are in a state of emergency, people have been told to self-isolate or socially distance, and non-essential businesses have been ordered to close. Businesses that remain open have seen dramatic drops in revenue. While legislation has been amended to provide for new leaves and increased eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits and other support, employers are struggling to understand their rights. Although many are turning to temporary layoffs or salary reductions, the reality is that those may constitute constructive dismissals and expose the company to liability that exceeds any cost savings.
The experts from Rudner Law will lead a session in which they will discuss options for reducing labour costs and how to implement them, the assistance available to employers and employees, and the laws regarding the duty to maintain a safe workplace in this unprecedented situation.
9 Apr 2020, 2:00 PM
1 CPD hours
Outline of topics discussed:
- Options to reduce labour costs / staffing
- Reduced Hours/Wages
- Frustration of Contract
- Risk: Constructive Dismissal
- Assistance for Employers and Employees
- Keeping workplaces Safe
We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events. Should you have any ideas for topics, speakers, sponsorship or anything else, feel free to contact Melanie Russell, CPA, CA, CBV, CIM, CFE, CFF, ABV at 416-488-9590 x 225.
Please note: For best audio quality, we recommend using external speakers or headphones.
About the Instructor(s)
Called to Ontario Bar: 1999
B.A. (Hons): Industrial Relations: 1996
I am not one of those lawyers that is ideologically married to one side. While many individuals have their rights trampled on, I have also seen employees take advantage of those same rights to the detriment of their employer. I realize that there is good and bad in every group, and that is why my firm works with both employers and employees. We are able to see every situation from both sides.
Since I have also been trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques and act as a Mediator in Employment matters, I am able to see things from a third side: that of a neutral third party, working with those involved to achieve a reasonable resolution to their issues.
I chair and teach at conferences, and I am the founding Program Director of Osgoode Professional Development’s HR Law for HR Professionals course and the co-founding Program Director of their Advanced HR Law for HR Professionals course.
As a firm and with my family, I support a number of worthwhile causes including 360Kids , Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation , United Way, One Voice Network, Job Skills, Family Education Centre, Lawyers International Food Enterprise (LIFE), and Volunteer Lawyers Network. I am currently a member of the HR Committee at 360Kids.
I also believe in giving back to the professional communities that I am part of. Since the start of my career, I have been actively involved in the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations and have held several leadership positions. I have also volunteered countless hours leading sessions on HR Law topics and serving on committees for the HRPA. Since our firm is based in York Region, I take particular pride in sponsoring the York Region Chapter of the HRPA and presenting an annual Employment Law update for our membership.
With two active children, much of my time is spent in dance studios and hockey arenas (and, of course, in my car driving them to and from games, practices, tournaments and competitions). I am a firm believer in using technology to make my life easier without sacrificing the needs of my clients. Rather than being chained to my desk, I can be out and about with my family. I may be at the rink, but you will find me if you need help.
Advocacy began for me at the age of 14. I was the youngest speaker invited to a conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka to advocate on environmental stewardship. A few years later, I had another fulfilling experience as a volunteer at the Police Hospital in Accra, Ghana, where I assisted in establishing the Child Abuse Network. I continued my passion for advocacy through my heavy involvement with UNICEF at the University of Toronto where I was the Co-Director of the Youth Engagement Program. I taught students with learning disabilities about children’s rights and developed the youth engagement curriculum to be used across community centres in Toronto.
Prior to joining Rudner Law, I articled at a leading, national full-service Toronto law firm. During my articles, I thoroughly enjoyed working on employment law files, ranging from preparing for a trial before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to negotiating a wrongful dismissal settlement. I realized that employment law is the perfect nexus between business, law, and people –– and that is why I am so drawn to it. It is an exciting area of practice given its breadth and given that the law is constantly evolving. As an Employment Lawyer, I can be proactive by providing strategic advice to employers on minimizing liability as well as advocate on behalf of employees and directly impact their working lives. There is a real human component and often there are complex relationships to navigate. I am thrilled to be a part of the employment bar and have been elected to the executive committee of the Ontario Bar Association’s Labour and Employment Law Section, where I serve the interests of the profession and the public.
I obtained my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. As a law student, I developed written accommodation policies to promote mental health awareness as Equity Officer; guided prospective students as Student Ambassador; reviewed papers for publication as Senior Editor of the Journal of Law & Equality; and actively managed files for low-income clients at the Downtown Legal Services Clinic. Prior to law school, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Trinity College, University of Toronto with a double major in Criminology and Ethics, Society & Law. I served as the President of the Ethics, Society & Law Students’ Association, and was honoured to receive the Brian Morgan Scholarship in Law and the Magdalena Gryc Award.
In my spare time, I enjoy drawing and spending time with family and friends. My current favourite medium to draw with is ink, and I have drawn with and on all sorts of different mediums, including twigs and cork boards. I also like writing, including poetry, and have performed spoken word poetry in the past. I am passionate about learning and experiencing new things, which is where my love of traveling and exploring food and culture comes from.