Labour & Employment Law Blog

Insurer gets off the hook as a result of a deal struck between the employer and the employee

Zeilikman Law

Zeilikman Law

Case Summary

The doctrine of “privity of contract” stands for the proposition that only parties to a contract can enforce it. What happens, however, when parties contract to release a third party from liability? Can the third party, who has never even seen the contract, rely on its terms? The Supreme Court of Canada answered this question in the affirmative in the London Drugs and Fraser Rivers decisions. In certain circumstances, the Court ruled, exceptions are allowed. This rule was revisited in an employment context where as a result of a release entered into by the employer and the employee the third party insurance company was excluded from liability.

Zelsman v. Meridian Credit Union Ltd. 2012 ONCA 358 involved a plaintiff (the “plaintiff”) who was employed by the College of Family Physicians (the “College”). The plaintiff was terminated in 2008 and was denied long-term disability benefits (“LTD”) twice under the available group coverage. Having been terminated, the plaintiff also launched a complaint for discrimination pursuant to the Ontario Human Rights Code. The human rights complaint was settled and in 2010 the plaintiff applied for LTD for the third time, this time successfully. The insurer then discovered that the plaintiff and the College had signed minutes of settlement releasing the College and the insurer from further liability. Not surprisingly, the insurer decided to discontinue the benefits, which caused the plaintiff to bring a motion for a declaration that the release involving the insurer was unenforceable. The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the motion judge’s decision and benefits under the policy were denied.

The Zelsman decision is a potent reminder that counsel should be attentive to the details of releases signed in the furtherance of settlements. Employment releases that involve terms specific enough as to exclude a third party from liability may be enforceable by the third party even if the third party does not partake in the execution or formulation thereof.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.