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
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

Plan ahead to ensure office holiday party is festive — and safe

Office holiday parties are meant to be fun events to foster a collegial environment, but they can turn into disasters for employers who fail to plan adequately, Markham, Ont.-based employment lawyer Laura Williams tells . Read more

Unfounded allegations against dismissed employees can be costly

By Laura Williams . Dismissing an employee from their position can be one of the most challenging aspects of workplace management faced by employers. When an employer decides to dismiss an employee several organizational and legal risks can arise. Accordingly, it is important that terminations are conducted properly and in good faith to ease the transition for the employee and mitigate any risks to the employer.  Read more

Cannabis and the workplace: what employers need to know

By Laura Williams . Recreational cannabis use is now legal across Canada. Many employers are concerned about the impact of legalization on the workplace and how they can navigate the new landscape. Fortunately, the legalization of cannabis is unlikely to result in the hassles, headaches and liability some employers are worried about, provided that employers carefully consider and communicate conduct expectations. Read more

Legal cannabis in the workplace manageable with proactive approach

With the historic legalization of cannabis for recreational use, organizations across Canada are still grappling with the potential workplace fallout, Markham, Ont.-based employment lawyer Laura Williams writes in The Lawyer’s Daily . Read more

Finding suitable workplace accommodation is a two-way street

By Laura Williams . Employers in Ontario are increasingly receiving accommodation requests based on employees’ childcare obligations. Many employees have children and other relatives who require care or who have special needs that need to be attended to. Read more

An employee is not entitled to retract an accepted resignation

By Laura Williams . For employees who resign from their positions and whose resignation is accepted, the decision is final. In this case , the Ontario Superior Court of Justice considered the case of an employee who resigned from her position when she learned that her employer planned to move its customer information to a new computer system. Read more

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