Navigating Workplace Power Dynamics: Cautionary Insights for Employers

In recent news, NHL coach Mike Babcock’s actions have sparked discussions about the delicate balance of power within workplaces. While Babcock may have believed he was fostering camaraderie with his players, experts argue that he may have unintentionally crossed ethical boundaries.

Upon joining the Columbus Blue Jackets, Babcock faced scrutiny for allegedly requesting that players share family photos from their phones, raising concerns about privacy and the misuse of his authority as head coach.

Experts emphasize the significance of recognizing the influence of positional power in such scenarios. Muneeza Sheikh, an employment lawyer at Levitt Sheikh LLP, explains that employees often feel compelled to comply with requests from superiors, even if they find them uncomfortable due to concerns about job security or workplace treatment.

Ex-NHL player Paul Bissonnette revealed on the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast that he was informed by an anonymous player that Babcock had asked team members to share personal photos, which he would then display on a television. In response to these allegations, the NHL Players’ Association dispatched its executive directors to investigate the matter.

Sheikh clarifies that it is not inherently wrong for an employer to express interest in employees’ personal lives, such as family photos. However, she underscores that positional power significantly influences workplace conversations, whether they are personal or professional.

According to Michael Walter of Walter Law Group, even when employers have good intentions of fostering a positive work environment, they must exercise caution when delving into personal matters. He highlights the importance of context and the potential for employers to inadvertently make their subordinates uncomfortable.

Walter emphasizes that there exists a delicate balance in the interactions between managers and employees. Employers must be mindful not to inquire too deeply into personal lives or relationships. Employees should not feel pressured to share personal information that they are uncomfortable disclosing.

Regarding employees’ devices, Sheikh notes that employers have a right to monitor devices used for both personal and professional purposes. However, she distinguishes between device monitoring and the invasion of personal photos. Privacy rights in Canada are not as extensive as commonly believed.

Stuart Rudner of Rudner Law observes that there is no current legislation preventing employers from making similar requests for personal photos or phone access. He acknowledges that employees may feel compelled to comply due to fear of job loss.

Rudner emphasizes the importance of simplicity in employers’ day-to-day interactions with employees. He advises against asking specific questions that could disclose sensitive information related to age, family status, religion, disability, or sexual orientation, as this could trigger human rights concerns.

Remote work has also introduced new dynamics to professional interactions. With virtual meetings, individuals may inadvertently reveal aspects of their personal lives, such as pets or family members in the background. However, Rudner emphasizes that discrimination based on protected characteristics remains unacceptable, even in remote work environments.

In conclusion, the evolving workplace landscape requires employers to navigate power dynamics with care and sensitivity, respecting employees’ boundaries while fostering a positive work environment. Balancing curiosity with respect for privacy is essential in creating a harmonious workplace.

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Navigating Insurance Claims: A Comprehensive Guide for Accident Victims

If you have ever been in an accident, you understand how complicated the automobile insurance compensation system is. It can be challenging to determine and access the applicable accident benefits. Accident benefits are a crucial part of the automobile compensation system. However, understanding what you are entitled to and how to access the benefits can be overwhelming. After an accident, you may be wondering what the first step of submitting a claim in Canada is. A lawyer can answer your questions and guide you through the claim process.

How Long Do You Have to Make an Insurance Claim?

After an accident, you should report to your insurance agent, broker, or company within seven days. If you do not report the accident within a reasonable time, the insurance company can fail to honour your claim. You should have the following information when calling insurance after an accident:

  • Make, model, and licence plate number of your vehicle
  • Your insurance policy number
  • Date, time, and location of the accident
  • The location of vehicle damage
  • The list of your injuries

Police / accident Report

  • Whether passengers were involved
  • The names and licence numbers of other drivers involved in the accident
  • Your description of the accident

How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Investigate a Claim in Ontario?

Insurance companies must act fast to investigate cases and make determinations. The insurance company should complete the investigation within 30 days. The insurer must provide a written explanation if it can’t complete the investigation within this period. After the initial letter, the insurer will give you a case update every 45 days.

How Much Money Do You Get from a Car Accident Settlement in Ontario?

Your claim for Accident Benefits cannot be settled prior to the one year Anniversary of the accident date.  The amount you can get after an accident will vary depending on the circumstances of the accident and a variety of other complex factors. That’s why you need an experienced lawyer to work on your behalf and ensure you receive as much as possible in each case.

When No Insurance Coverage Is Available

It is illegal to operate a vehicle without insurance coverage. What happens if you are injured in an accident, and no other insurance is available? In this case, the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund is the go-to option for compensation. You may be eligible for compensation for the injuries you suffer and property damage. You can claim:

  • Accident benefits if you suffer an injury in the accident
  • Death and funeral expenses compensation on behalf of a victim who dies in the accident
  • Personal injury compensation or Income Loss Claim

Applying For The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund

You can seek compensation from the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund only if you have no access to any other insurance and you meet the following requirements:

  • You reside in Ontario
  • You were involved in a vehicle accident in Ontario, and the involved parties had no auto insurance
  • You suffered injuries.

Perhaps you do not have insurance, and you suffered injuries in a car accident. You might be eligible for compensation if:

  • You were not in the vehicle at the time of the accident. For example, you could have been cycling or walking, and a vehicle driver without insurance hit you.
  • You were a passenger in a car where the driver was uninsured.
  • You were involved in a hit-and-run accident, whereby you cannot identify the other vehicle.

How To Apply for Accident Benefits

When applying for accident benefits, you will need the following documents:

  • A duly filled and signed Statutory Accident Benefits Application, abbreviated as OCF-1
  • A copy of the police report
  • A completed Disability Certificate (OCF-3)

A Completed Employer’s Confirmation (OCF-2)

Recovering Death and Funeral Benefits

If your loved one dies in a vehicle accident, you can seek compensation on their behalf. When seeking death and funeral benefits, you will need the following:

  • A duly filled and signed OCF-1
  • OCF-4 (An application for Death and Funeral Benefits)
  • Copy of the police receipt
  • Invoice and receipt from the funeral home
  • Death certificate or the coroner’s report

When Your Vehicle is Damaged in an Accident

You can apply for compensation for property damaged because of the accident. You will need the following when making a claim for vehicle damage against your own Insurance Company:

  • A copy of the police report
  • Repair invoice or damage estimate
  • Pictures of the vehicle damage.

Insurance companies assign different adjusters to vehicle damage claims vs. personal injury claims and it is important to understand how to handle each one to make sure your interests are protected.

Contact An Experienced Lawyer Today

If you have been involved in a car accident in Mississauga, you should not face insurance adjusters on your own. Instead, you should contact an experienced lawyer to guide you through the insurance claim requirements and process. At Walter Law Group, we have helped many accident victims to seek compensation for their damages. Contact us today to speak to one of our lawyers.

The Legal Rights of Executives in Compensation Negotiations

After years of work and a lengthy interview process, you have been offered an Executive position, congratulations! Executive-level compensation is often complex.  Even if your employer’s initial compensation seems generous, you should not ignore the fine print. Don’t be fearful of negotiating executive compensation because you might end up missing out significantly. Read on to understand the art of negotiating high-ranking executive positions.

What Factors Should Be Considered When Determining Executive Compensation?

Negotiating terms prior to accepting a position is always a careful dance.  You want to ensure you obtain the best possible terms while balancing the relationship with your new employer. Hiring a lawyer to help you through this process ensures your rights are protected in a professional and straightforward way and that any negotiation is done by your lawyer and not between you and your new team.

Expert legal advice and guidance help uncover any issues or things to consider before the deal is done.  Before you sign employment, executive compensation, non-solicitation, non-competition, and severance agreements, seek expert legal advice to ensure you are accepting terms that are clear and favourable and that any gaps or loopholes are closed.

Why Executive Compensation Is An Issue

Employment contracts for executives are more complex than regular contracts. Understanding the compensation you are entitled to and the industry standards can help you make an informed negotiation.

If an employer offers you an executive compensation package, you will likely encounter several complexities like tax and other issues. These issues need to be reviewed by a lawyer before you sign the contract. The common issues that arise in executive compensation include:

  • Taxes
  • Deferred compensation and stock options
  • Restricted stock
  • Release of legal rights and claims
  • Bonuses and bonus structures
  • Travel privileges and expense reimbursements
  • Retirement benefits, including medical, disability, dental, and life insurance
  • Legal and tax fee reimbursement
  • Change of control provisions
  • For-cause termination & delineated severance benefits
  • Restrictive covenants like non-solicitation, non-competition, confidentiality clauses, and trade secrets

Executive Compensation Negotiation Checklist

Executive compensation contracts differ from normal contracts. Several compensation categories are used to ensure that executives receive competitive compensation. What are the four elements of compensation for top executives within organizations? Here’s what you should focus on when negotiating an executive compensation package:

Base Salary

This is the easiest element of executive compensation that requires the least explanation. Who are the key players in setting executive compensation? The compensation trends in the industry or in a company’s geographical area play a main role in determining an executive’s annual salary. Many companies are leaning toward incentive-based compensation, but base salary still remains relevant. Incentive-based compensation ensures that executives act in the company’s best interests and meet their target goals.


Like regular employees, executives also receive benefits. The benefits include health benefits, life insurance, and long-term disability coverage. Other benefits include life insurance, long-term disability coverage, increased holiday days, and increased vacation days.


These are commonly known as non-cash privileges or perks. Executives receive perks in addition to financial compensation. Perquisites can include a wide range of benefits and are tailored to the unique needs of an executive. The common perks include gym memberships, trips abroad with family, cell phones or other technology, education reimbursement plans, club membership, vacations, and others.

Severance & Change-In-Control Agreements

An executive compensation plan can also outline what you are entitled to if your employment is terminated. It also outlines what will happen if there is a change in the control or ownership of the company. According to the Employment Standards Act, an executive is entitled to severance pay in case of termination without cause. However, the severance pay in an executive compensation plan will likely be significantly higher than the amount owed under the Act. For example, instead of receiving a week of pay per year of service, an executive might receive a month of pay per year of service.

Another executive contract example can outline that if an executive is terminated without cause within the first year of employment, the executive receives a severance package. The severance package will include one month of pay per year of service. The service will not just be with the current employer but the year of service to the previous employer as well. With these arrangements, executives will be comfortable leaving their companies and joining new ones without worrying about what will happen if the new deal turns sour.

Golden Parachute

Executive compensation contracts can also include a golden parachute. The provisions of a golden parachute outline that in the event of a change of control or ownership of a company, the executive will receive certain compensation. The compensation can be in the form of a sum of money, stock option, property, pension proceeds, or annuity or insurance proceeds. In addition to compensating the executive, these measures prevent hostile takeovers of companies by increasing the costs associated with acquiring a company.

Short-term Incentives

These include annual bonuses and incentives incorporated into executive pay. These benefits are awarded at the end of the year. They vary depending on the executive’s performance in their role. The bonuses and incentives can be a fixed amount or a percentage of the executive’s pay. Bonuses can be tiered, whereby an executive receives a target bonus upon performing well and a stretch bonus when the executive performs extraordinarily.

Long-term Incentives

Long-term incentives are mainly awarded to top-level executives whose contribution directly affects the company’s performance. Unlike short-term incentives that mainly promote good performance, long-term incentives encourage loyalty to the company. They include stock option plans, non-qualified stock options, and golden handcuffs. For a golden handcuff, an executive receives a certain sum of money, but only after staying with the company for a predetermined period. The golden handcuffs ensure that executives don’t just stay in their positions for short stints. It ensures that executives work with the company for more than a transient period.

Negotiating Private Equity Compensation

The C-level position negotiation strategies for private equity portfolio company executives differ from those of a public company. For a private equity company, you will be negotiating employment terms driven by performance, time, and achieving liquidity and growth. The driving forces in an executive team’s compensation structure are the exit and liquidity upon exit. Other legal definitions like “good reason,” “cause,” “dispute resolution provisions,” and “restrictions” are similar to any executive contract. These standard terms are mainly negotiated based on market terms.

Other Executive Negotiation Points

In addition to negotiating for executive salary, you should negotiate on the following:

Due Diligence

As an executive, you should have ample due diligence on the organization’s performance and expectations before you sign the contract. The company must also give you sufficient time to review your offer. You should review the offer with an experienced lawyer. Only a small percentage of executives consult lawyers when reviewing offers from companies. You should not make this mistake. Hiring a lawyer might look like an additional expense. However, it will pay up in the future. With legal guidance, you are assured that the executive contract will set you up for success.

Equity Structure

You must look beyond the bonus potential and give yourself an opportunity for a guaranteed income. Here are some terms that you should understand and negotiate for:

  • Double trigger
  • Cashless exercise
  • Extended exercise
  • Milestone payments

Aligned Compensation

When working as an executive, you have a right to market-driven, fully aligned salaries and commissions. An executive has a significant role in the success of the business. Aligned compensation indicates that an executive understands how the business generates income and its role in achieving this objective.

Right to Consult

You can build your wealth through advisory or consulting work. When negotiating executive compensation, you should ensure that it has a right-to-consult clause. Your employer should not restrict you from using your hard-earned expertise to generate income through consulting agreements.

Our Lawyers Can Help

It is crucial to understand the components of an executive compensation contract. It helps you ensure that you receive appropriate compensation and that your interests are safeguarded in the long term. You should always consult an experienced lawyer before signing any contract. A lawyer will help you identify areas you can negotiate in your favour and the problematic clauses that you should be aware of. Your lawyer also helps you to determine the enforceability of the punitive portions of your executive compensation contract. A lawyer can also be helpful if you have been terminated from an executive position. If you need guidance on how to negotiate executive compensation, contact Walter Law Group and discuss your case with experienced lawyers.