Can an employer hire replacement workers during a strike?
Yes, during a lawful strike an employer has the right to hire temporary replacement workers. Replacement workers must be temporary, because within 6 months of a lawful strike, any employee who makes a written, unconditional application to return to work, MUST be returned to work. After the 6-month period, an employee can still get his or her job back by relying on the rule that an employer cannot dismiss an employee for exercising a legal right, which includes striking. Thus, employers can hire replacement workers, but only on a temporary basis. It is important to note, however, that during an unlawful/illegal strike, an employer has the right to hire permanent replacement workers. Citation/References: Labour Relations Act, S.O. 1995, c. 1, Sch. A, ss. 72(a), 80.