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Employment Law during a Pandemic
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"O’Donnell writes with clarity, starting broadly and working toward the specifics of the pandemic in each chapter. He makes concrete recommendations for employers throughout, and the book truly succeeds as a quick reference...Ultimately, the book offers a snapshot of the first two years of the pandemic and the legal issues surrounding employment that arose during that time. Where this book is most likely to be useful is in HR departments, as well as the collections of solo practitioners or small firm employment lawyers."
Reviewed by John Bryans
MLIS candidate, Western University
See the review in 2022 Canadian Law Library Review 47:3 (pages 21-22)
It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything about the world as we know it – the way we work, the way we do business and the way we socialize. And it may be that even the “new normal” will only bear a passing resemblance to the normal that we used to know.
As Sean O’Donnell states in the opening chapter of Employment Law During a Pandemic, “The perpetual alterations in restrictions and shifting prospects of economic and social recovery from COVID-19 have overwhelmed business and individuals to the point where ‘COVID-19 burnout’ and ‘pandemic fatigue’ are unsettlingly familiar terms.” With this new publication, O’Donnell aims to address some of these challenges that have had such a significant impact on both employers and employees while providing invaluable guidance on the way forward.
Developed in response to the pandemic, this handy resource acts as a one-stop reference for employment lawyers, litigators, in-house counsel and other human resources professionals who are charged with dealing with the employment law issues that have arisen during and as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Author O’Donnell, an experienced employment lawyer, is particularly well-positioned to offer general guidelines and best practices for addressing those issues, as well as to provide insight into the relevant legislation and case law related to COVID-19.
Featuring case studies based on the COVID-19 outbreak, this text includes answers to the most pressing employment- and pandemic-related questions that lawyers and other professionals are grappling with at this time.
Who Should Read This Book
Written in a clear and accessible manner, Employment Law During a Pandemic will be a particularly useful acquisition for employment lawyers advising both employers and employees, as well as in-house counsel and human resources professionals who are developing company policy and are required to understand employer rights and obligations during a pandemic. Government officials will return to this volume time and again as a helpful guide and patrons of law libraries will appreciate having access to it.
Table of contents
Chapter 1: The Impact of COVID-19
1. COVID-19 timeline
3. Impact on law
4. Government relief measures
5. Government suspensions of limitation periods
Chapter 2: Wrongful Dismissal
1. Provincial versus federal regulation
2. “Without cause” and “for cause” terminations
3. Employees’ rights upon termination
4. Common law reasonable notice of termination
Chapter 3: Constructive Dismissal and Temporary Layoff
1. Constructive dismissal
2. Temporary layoff
3. Impact of COVID-19 on constructive dismissals and temporary layoffs
Chapter 4: Mitigation of Damages
1. Law on mitigation
2. Mitigation during the COVID-19 pandemic
Chapter 5: Contract Law in a Global Pandemic
1. Commercial contracts
2. Force majeure clauses
3. Doctrine of frustration
Chapter 6: Compliance with Human Rights Law (by Claire Buckley)
1. Sources of human rights law
2. Human rights issues during COVID-19
3. Accommodation and telecommuting
4. Privacy and requesting medical information
Chapter 7: Rights and Obligations from OHSA upon Return to Work
1. Employee rights under occupational health and safety legislation
2. Employer duties under occupational health and safety legislation
3. Health and safety upon return to work
4. Employer measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission
5. Frequent employee management issues related to COVID-19
6. Can an employee refuse to come back to work when a business opens?
7. What are the steps in refusing unsafe work?
8. Accommodating employee requests not to return to work
9. What about childcare considerations?
Chapter 8: Vaccinations and the Workplace
1. COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada
2. Mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace
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