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Author Archive - Michele Glassford

Michele Glassford, is a lawyer, researcher and policy analyst with a background in employment and labour law. In addition to a part-time law practice in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Michele has worked in the field of labour adjustment for the Health Sector Training and Adjustment Program and has been a Researcher for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Michele also holds the position of President and Managing Editor at D.R. Hancocks & Associates Inc., author of the Human Resources PolicyPros. Read more

Keeping abreast of discriminatory dress codes

There remains a puritanical discomfort with women’s breasts in public, evident in numerous cases of discrimination against mothers breastfeeding in public and high school dress codes prohibiting bra straps from showing. In September the issue spilled over into the workplace.

 

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Workplace politics of politics in the workplace

workplace partisan political arguments

I drove past a house flying a confederate flag last week and asked myself, “Could I live beside that person?” You can’t do anything about the politics of your neighbour, although you don’t have to invite him or her to your backyard BBQ. The workplace, however is another story. How does an employer deal with an employee’s unpopular politics?

 

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Major issues with minor provisions – Child leaves

Ontario’s Bill 148 “Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017″ was introduced on June 1, 2017 and it is assumed that with the Liberal majority, it will pass into law in the fall. The bill proposes a few changes to leave entitlements in Ontario which are a step in the right direction but which in my opinion still contain an inexplicable flaw, common in most provinces.

 

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Ontario takes on part-time employment

In Minister Flynn’s address to the conference participants, it was evident that one of the objectives of Bill 148 was to discourage the growth of part-time employment at the expense of full-time employment by introducing a number of measures to reduce or eliminate any savings employers might achieve by hiring part-time employees rather than full-time employees.

 

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Rewriting employment standards: Gearing up for policy revisions

On Wednesday May 24, 2017, Alberta introduced Bill 17, Fair and Family Friendly Workplace Act, which is its first major overhaul of employment standards in that province since 1996. The proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Code include unpaid leaves for employees (including domestic violence leave), reduced qualification periods for leaves, increased overtime banking rates and amended vacation entitlements, to name a few.

 

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Dealing with domestic violence in the workplace

A policy specifically providing domestic violence leave, even if there is no legislation requiring it, would not only provide employees with some protections and benefits during a crisis, but would have the indirect effect of providing the employer with key information to better assess risks of violence to employees in the workplace and to better protect their safety.

 

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Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program update: Part 2

As you may recall, we at Human Resources PolicyPro have been following up on the Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program (CERP) since 2015. On February 3, 2017, the federal government announced the roll–out of the CERP.

 

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EI waiting period changes January 1, 2017

As reported by Yosie Saint-Cyr in the October 24, 2016 edition of HR Infodesk, the federal Employment Insurance Act was amended on June 22, 2016, in part to decrease the waiting period for benefits to commence from two weeks to one week. The new waiting period is to commence on January 1, 2017. The change, in effect, reduces the total benefit entitlement period under EI, although it doesn’t change the maximum benefit period, or weeks of benefits payable.

 

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Update on Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program

In late November 2015 we were advised by the Department of National Defence that it was “working with Employment and Social Development Canada to finalize all elements of the Program to ensure a seamless and comprehensive roll-out…., it is projected that web-based information for CERP will be fully accessible online through the Canada.gc.ca website in winter 2016.” In July I was still unable to find any further information on the program, and so I contacted the Department of National Defence and asked them for an update.

 

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The standard of decency

I have an internal debate with myself over whether most of the new or amended legal obligations answer a real need of employers and employees, or are borne of a need of legislators to justify their existence, or appear to addressing crises which really aren’t. And just as soon as I have convinced myself that additional laws and regulations are, for the most part, too onerous to justify their limited value, I read numerous news reports on the prevalency of wage theft in Ontario and workplace employment standards violations.

 

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Is it hot enough for you… to have an extreme heat policy?

Work in extreme weather conditions, such as heat or direct sunlight, for extended periods of time creates risk to employees. 2016 is shaping up to be the hottest summer on record, creating extreme working conditions for many. Most jurisdictions have specific regulatory provisions regarding thermal conditions or heat exposure, in addition to the general duty in all jurisdictions for employers to take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances for the protection of workers under occupational health and safety provisions.

 

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Loose lips sink shifts?

A recent online article reported that two seventeen-year-old employees were fired from a Kansas City pizza joint for talking about their pay rates. Both were new employees with the same experience, and the female employee discovered she was earning $0.25/hour less than her male co-worker. When she contacted her employer for an explanation, she was fired for discussing wages with a co-worker, as was the male co-worker. The employer advised that discussing pay was against employer policy, even though both employees stated that such policy was never disclosed to them.

 

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Sick employees left to twist in the wind?

The recent increase to Employment Insurance benefits for Compassionate Care Leave from 8 weeks to 28 weeks has given most employees in Canada the ability to care for seriously ill loved ones without jeopardizing their employment for up to 28 weeks. In addition to compassionate care leave most provinces also provide for critically-ill child care leave and some family responsibility leave enabling employees to cover the periods of illness of family members. So why don’t most provinces offer the same job protection to sick employees?

 

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Tempest in a teapot – How to make your employees boil over

A recent news report stated that DavidsTea, and several popular retailers, have been asked by multiple US jurisdictions to provide information regarding the use of “on-call” shifts. According to the article “DavidsTea under fire for scheduling of staff,” the practice of “on-call” scheduling requires employees to call in to the employer prior to shift to confirm if they are required to come in.

 

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Don’t take your kids to work today

On the heels of the most exciting baseball season in over twenty years for Canadian baseball fans, a few of us are paying more attention to spring training. And although there is little comparison between the working conditions of major leaguers and the rest of us, the “retirement” of Adam LaRoche from the Chicago White Sox, allegedly because he was asked not to bring his son to the clubhouse as much, raises the question of whether it is ever appropriate to bring your kids to work.

 

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