Avoiding Issues with Seasonal Employment: Seasonal Workers Ramifications

By Chelsea Gibson, BA, LLB and Kevin Thompson, B.Sc.

Generally, the groundskeeping, landscaping, and turfgrass industries are especially vulnerable to the termination provisions of employment legislation as the hiring of seasonal workers is so prevalent. Some employers make a habit of hiring staff for the busy season, then laying off those staff and calling them back to work if they are needed. Unfortunately, Ontario law provides that after 13 weeks of layoff in a 20-week period, the layoff is deemed a ‘termination,’ requiring the laid-off employee to receive termination pay. Further, without an express or implied agreement between the employer and employee permitting the temporary layoff, the courts have deemed such layoffs as akin to ‘constructive dismissal’ for which employers can be liable.

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