Laura Williams

Laura Williams
WIlliams HR Law
Founder and Principal
Employment & Labour

Laura Williams, founder and principal of Williams HR Law and Williams HR Consulting in Markham, Ont., has more than 16 years of experience providing advice and legal representation to employers on a full range of labour and employment law matters.

Ms. Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Western University before graduating with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Windsor.

She is also an instructor in the Human Resources Management program at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies.

Ms. Williams is a member of several professional and community service organizations, including the Women Presidents’ Organization, and acts as the vice-chair of MicroSkills Development Centre, and as a governor of Holy Trinity School in Richmond Hill.

Laura Williams In The News
Conflicting statutory obligations do not absolve employer of duties

By Laura Williams . Employers in Canada are subject to a variety of legislation that governs the way they conduct business in areas ranging from environmental compliance to employee relations. What does an employer do when two of those statutory obligations seem to be at odds? While most employment-related legislation interacts with little difficulty, on occasion fulfilling one statutory obligation may cause the employer to violate another obligation at law. Read more

Can an employer rely on the findings of a criminal trial?

By Laura Williams . When an employee is convicted of a criminal offence, employers can be left wondering what to do. Depending on the nature of the crime, an employer may feel that the worker’s continued employment is not tenable and may wish to end that relationship for that reason. Read more

Frustration of contract may be claimed by employees

By Laura Williams . When an employee is on a long-term or indefinite medical leave of absence, many employers find themselves wondering what to do. It can be challenging for employers to understand when they can end the employment relationship of an employee on a medical leave without violating the  Human Rights Code .  Read more

OCA confirms false allegations of cause can be costly

By Laura Williams . Ontario’s Court of Appeal has upheld the trial court decision in  this case , which we initially blogged about  here ,  sending a strong message to employers who make allegations of cause when dismissing their employees. The case involved an employee at an oil and petrochemical company who was dismissed by his employer and received a large compensatory award in a wrongful dismissal suit. Read more

It's essential to keep up with changes on labour front: Williams

“Seismic” changes in workplace law mean employers must stay informed to stay ahead, Markham-based employment lawyer  Laura Williams  tells Read more

No ‘tort of harassment’ in Ontario

By Laura Williams . The Ontario Court of Appeal has found in  this case that there is no “tort of harassment” in Ontario. The Court of Appeal reversed the 2017 Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision that recognized a free-standing tort of harassment, which we wrote about  here . Recognizing a free-standing tort of harassment meant that a civil claim in Ontario could be based on the mere fact that a plaintiff experienced harassment. Read more

Just cause is a high threshold: Williams

By Laura Williams . A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal provides an example of the level of employee misconduct that warrants an employer dismissing an employee for just cause, without notice or pay in lieu. Read more

Ontario court weighs in on termination clauses again

By Laura Williams . Since 2017, Ontario courts, including the Court of Appeal, have had a great deal to say about the enforceability of termination clauses in employment agreements. However, the majority of these cases have focused on what constitutes a valid “without cause” termination clause and have not considered what makes a “for cause” termination clause enforceable. Read more

New harassment damages — be mindful of potential liability

By Laura Williams . Recently, Ontario courts have been faced with an increase of claims for harassment damages by employees claiming they have been mistreated by their employers. Previously, the courts had not definitively recognized harassment as a standalone tort, or wrongful act giving rise to liability. Instead, employees would receive damages related to workplace harassment only indirectly, such as by claiming punitive or aggravated damages. Read more

'Not business as usual' when workplace investigation ends: Williams

What follows after a workplace investigation is just as important as the inquiry itself, Markham-based employment lawyer  Laura Williams  tells Read more

Circumstances of hiring can lead to long reasonable notice periods

By Laura Williams . Employment relationships, like most relationships, typically start off with the best of intentions in both parties’ minds. Unfortunately, the expectations of one or both parties are not always met and on occasion, the employment relationship must be cut short earlier than both parties intended. Usually, this will not result in major costs for an employer but a recent case from British Columbia highlights how short-lived employment relationships can sometimes result in major awards for dismissed employees. Read more

Ontario Divisional Court offers another take on termination clauses

By Laura Williams . A series of Ontario decisions in 2017 and 2018 demonstrated that termination clauses are tricky business! Many employers include termination clauses in employment agreements, which set out the entitlements of employees upon the termination of their employment. Read more

New developments on the doctrine of frustration

By Laura Williams . In two 2018 decisions, Canadian courts considered the boundaries of the doctrine of frustration. Frustration occurs when two parties can no longer meet their contractual obligations, through no fault of their own, due to an unforeseen “frustrating event” that precludes the execution of the duties under the contract. Read more

New employer-friendly legislation on the horizon

By Laura Williams . Since its election this summer, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has been busy reforming Ontario’s labour and employment laws to make them more employer-friendly as part of a campaign aimed at bringing business back to Ontario. The government first passed Bill 47, repealing many of the new entitlements introduced by the previous Liberal government, then stalled implementation of the province’s  Pay Transparency Act . Read more

Pay Transparency Act delayed indefinitely

By Laura Williams . On the heels of the major set of employment law changes introduced by  Bill 47 , the Ontario government recently passed Bill 57, the  Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018 , which stalls implementation of the  Pay Transparency Act  (the PTA) on an indefinite basis, among various other legislative changes. Read more

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