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 Posts

Sweeping changes to Canada Labour Code coming into force on Sept. 1

By Laura Williams On June 13, 2019, the federal government proclaimed Sept. 1, 2019, as the coming into force date for a number of amendments to the Canada Labour Code [Code]. Read more

Frustration of contract: Williams

By Laura Williams The doctrine of frustration of contract is one which many employers struggle with when it comes to determining whether or not they are justified in ending an employment relationship. Read more

Failure to take harassment complaints seriously can be costly

By Laura Williams Employers who fail to take allegations of harassment and violence seriously and fail to deal with employee complaints in good faith can face major cost consequences if the matter is brought before a court in Ontario. Read more

Language to limit incentive compensation on termination

By Laura Williams Without an enforceable employment agreement, upon a without-cause dismissal, an employee is entitled to be provided with pay in lieu of reasonable notice including his or her full compensation package during the (often lengthy) common law reasonable notice period, including base salary, benefits, bonuses, stock options and more. Read more

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