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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

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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Warming up for work

A friend recently mentioned that his workplace was implementing a warm-up/stretching requirement at the beginning of shift. It appeared that the program was being met with some raised eyebrows and even some verbal resistance from employees. The workplace was one of physical labour and so, once you get past the novelty of the idea, common sense suggests this may be a good idea.

 

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Tipping is not a city in China, it is now a regulated practice in many provinces

On December 7, 2015 Ontario passed an amendment to its Employment Standards Act to protect employees’ tips from being usurped by business managers and owners. The amendment will come into effect six months after it receives Royal Assent. In most provinces, tips and gratuities are specifically excluded from the definition of “wages” in employment standards laws…

 

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2016 – Looking forward, looking back

As the first blog post of the year, I thought it apt to first wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and second, to take the opportunity to take a quick look back and a long look forward at what might be coming down the road this year in human resources policy.

 

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When is it time to hire independent HR consultants?

A friend recently told me about his (manufacturing) workplace where most of the equipment is broken, production lousy and new employees last “sometimes four hours, sometimes a week” but rarely longer than that. He reported that the business owner had recently woken up and hired an independent consultant to take a look and make recommendations for the business. I don’t know if this company has any HR personnel, but many small to medium companies do not have dedicated HR personnel, save and except for payroll, and may have a general manager or owner who is oblivious to what goes on the shop floor. So what are the warning signs of a workplace that needs attention?

 

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The pay gap — Women’s social subsidy

The wage gap appears to be on the agenda. On October 8, Ontario Labour Minister announced that a Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee will commence public consultations across the province to examine the wage gap and how the role of women at work, at home and in the community are affected by the gender wage gap, as well as to “assess how government, business, labour, other organizations, and individual leaders can work together to resolve issues that may cause the wage gap.”

 

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Do you need a transgender policy?

The recent well-publicized transgender celebrities, and Emmy wins for the Amazon show Transparent, have put gender identity, gender expression, transsexual and transgender issues on the social and political agenda. Most employers should already have general anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and accommodation policies recognizing protected human rights grounds. So if an employer doesn’t have a transsexual or transgender employee, how important is it to have a specific policy dealing with transsexual, transgender, gender identity and gender expression? For some employers, it may be essential.

 

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The dark side of pay raises

A few weeks ago there were well-publicized reports of the planned and implemented increase to Wal-Mart’s minimum starting pay rate having a very negative effect in the workplace.

 

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Compensation for employers of reservists program – fact or fiction?

The Canadian Forces website states that there are currently 26,000 Reservists in the Forces, from all walks of life. Chances are many employers will have reservists on their payroll as employees. Indeed, since 2007 all provinces and territories, in addition to the federal government, have enacted legislation to provide for unpaid leave for reservists.

 

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Working families is more than political platitude for employers

Statistics show that the duty to accommodate employees on the basis of family status is an issue which will become a critical one over the coming years for almost all employees and employers.

 

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Workplace disclosure of disabilities

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The tragedy of the ill-fated Germanwings flight in March, and speculation about the reasons why the co-pilot may have intentionally crashed the airplane, has raised troubling issues for employers. Amid speculation that the co-pilot may have been depressed and suicidal, and may even have obtained a doctor’s note to not report for work on the fated day, many in the media and around the water cooler have wondered, “How did the employer not know?”

 

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Religion and politics – dangerous topics for employers

Can an employer ask an employee or job candidate about his or her religious beliefs? Most employers know, or should know, that they should never ask questions on an application or during an interview in regards to any of the protected grounds of the various human rights codes. To do so could lead to discrimination (or the perception of discrimination) on the basis of a protected ground. As with everything in law and policy, however, the above advice does not reflect the whole story. And the answer, as usual, is yes and no.

 

Betting you don’t have a gambling policy

We have recently survived the Superbowl and the Oscars. Over the next few weeks you may also experience some March Madness amongst your employees. And we have all heard the story of a mega-jackpot win by a group of employees who, despite their good fortune, left their employer bereft of employees overnight.

 

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Will you get a February holiday?

As of 2015, six provinces have implemented statutory holidays (also known as public holidays) in February.

 

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Recognizing obesity as a disability – Slippery slope or basic human dignity?

On December 18, 2014, the European Court of Justice decided that while obesity, in itself, is not necessarily a disability, where obesity hinders a person’s ability to engage in “full and effective participation” in the workplace, it could warrant the protection of disability legislation. So what is the status of obesity as a disability in Canada?

 

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