The BC Labour Relations Board has refused to declare Target a
successor to Zellers for a location in Burnaby.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1518 was
seeking to extend its bargaining rights for the Zellers employees
at Brentwood Mall. That location was one of 220 leasehold
interests across the country that Target could acquire from
The Board rejected the union application, essentially because
the union had not shown a sufficient continuity between the former
Zellers business and the projected Target business. The Board
Target is different from Zellers in its brand, its market and
the Brentwood Mall leasehold interest was important to Target,
not because it had been a Zellers, but because of the
characteristics of the location itself;
there will be gap of six months to three years between the
Zellers closure on March 14, 2013 and the Target opening;
Target did not need Zellers for anything but the location; in
fact, it was in Target's best interests to distance itself from
Zellers as much as possible.
The decision gives appropriate significance to the concept
of the transfer of a business or part of it. It would have
been easy to point to the location, the carrying on of the same
"type" of business, the transfer of some pharmacy assets
and the acquisition of rights to one brand carried by Zellers, and
find that Target was a successor. But by properly focusing on
the need for a discernible continuity in the business the Board
reached the right decision: Target is not
Zellers. (And if Target's market research is
correct, it appears the Canadian consumer agrees and can't wait
for Target to open.)
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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