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Author Archive - Lisa Stam, Spring Law

Lisa Stam is founder of Spring Law, a virtual law firm advising exclusively on workplace legal issues for employers and executives. She practices all aspects of employment, labour, privacy, and human rights law, with a particular interest in legal issues arising from technology in the workplace. Lisa’s practice includes a wide range of entrepreneurs in the tech space, as well as global companies with smaller operations in Canada. In addition to the day to day workplace issues from hiring to firing, Lisa frequently blogs and speaks on both the impact, risks and opportunities of social media and technology issues in (and out of) the workplace, as well as the novel ways in which changing expectations of privacy continues to evolve employment law. Read more here.

Costs and legal tech

At SpringLaw we love legal tech and consequently a few recent cost decisions have caught our eye. In both Cass v. 1410088 Ontario Inc. (“Cass”) and Drummond v. The Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. (“Drummond”) justices of the Ontario Superior Court made comments about artificial intelligence and legal research.

 

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Cannabis at the office holiday party

The season of the office holiday party is upon us! In addition to merriment, this time of year can bring a lot of risk for employers. And there’s a new risk this year.

 

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Even robots are a little bit racist: Al bias in recruitment

How would you like to perform only the most high-level and uniquely human elements of your job? Are your skills really best utilized on data entry, rote memorization and pushing paper? Artificial Intelligence (AI) promises to delegate all the drudgery of your job to machines while freeing you up to mingle with clients on the golf course and answer phone calls from your private yacht in the Adriatic Sea.

 

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To google or not to google? Candidate background checks

In the information age it’s usually relatively easy to find out all about someone by doing a simple Google search. The burning question of online daters, “do I google my date before the date?” applies equally to employers. Can, and should, an employer background check a candidate? If so when? And how deep can and should they go?

 

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Legislating the right to disconnect

In France, the right to disconnect was enshrined in law in 2017. French workers in companies of more than 50 people have the right to turn off their work devices outside of working hours. Will Canada follow that path?

 

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When key employees leave

The departure of a key employee can create uncertainty and destabilize the rest of the office, let alone impact the value of the company if the key employee is particularly high profile. Employers should have a plan in place to provide the right messaging to employees.

 

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Millennials at Work: Common Legal Issues

This emerging new workforce of millennials is as engaged as ever, keen to participate in a meaningful way without merely clock-punching, and can bring an important perspective to any workplace looking to continue being relevant in the modern workforce.

 

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Remote workers: Pros, cons and tips

Workflow and infrastructure will need to adjust if employees are working remotely. The more paperless and automated, the easier it is to make the transition to remote work. Video conferencing, phone calls and some sort of in-person meeting on a regular basis are all good practices to make sure that employees working from home still have an opportunity for in-person communication with other employees.

 

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Social media and recruitment

Social media is now a part of our lives, including our work lives. While it can be an important tool, employers need to use their good judgment and use it wisely.

 

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Update on random drug testing in the workplace

It’s clear that in unionized environments the invasion of privacy imposed by random drug and alcohol testing will not be taken lying down. The drug and alcohol testing landscape is likely to get more complicated with the legalization of marijuana.

 

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Employee benefits: Government health insurance and employer benefit plans

Health and Dental Benefits are valuable to employees, even in the land of free health care. This is especially true for those employees who have dependants, as benefit plans will typically insure the employee’s family.

 

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Sexual harassment and Valentine’s Day

Employers need to be aware of the sexual tensions at play in an office, or risk being held liable for failing to address a poisoned work environment. For example, if two co-workers had a relationship and then broke up, and one is now showing revealing photos of the other around the office, this likely creates a poisoned work environment for the depicted employee. Though a manager may be tempted to deem the matter personal, the employer has an obligation to protect the employee.

 

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recruiting

artificial intelligence

Stories about artificial intelligence (AI) stealing our jobs and robots going rogue have been in our collective consciousness for years. Elon Musk has also sounded the alarm bells’, calling AI the “biggest risk we face as a civilization”. While he may know a few things I don’t, I can’t say that I agree. Always one to embrace technology, I think AI has great potential to be used by businesses in the HR space, such as to make hiring practices more efficient and more fair.

 

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Choosing a new Supreme Court judge

Last week a new judge was put forward as the recommended candidate to replace our current Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who will be retiring this month. The candidate, Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Sheilah Martin, would fill a seat that some had expected to go to an Indigenous judge, or a judge for British Columbia.

 

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Post-termination bonus entitlement

Bonus entitlement is always a juicy topic. In September the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a decision that shed some light on the issue of how entitlement to a bonus will be treated where an employer has no formal bonus policy, but a consistent past practice.

 

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