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Due diligence

11 HR policies you need right now for legal compliance

I learned a new way of looking at policies recently. The standard ways that you do things at your workplace, how you treat and manage your employees, your day-to-day practices—these are your HR policies and procedures, regardless of whether you’ve written them down or not.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Whether an employee may deduct the cost of a basic cellular service plan; just cause to fire an employee for forging signatures on sick notes; and employer violation of health and safety legislation after failing to take precautions after employee complaint.

 

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Employees, corporate transactions and the entrepreneur

An entrepreneur’s workforce grows either through fresh hires or through the acquisition of companies that bring along new employees.  Whether your organization is a large multi-national in a complex mergers and acquisitions (M;&A) transaction or a start-up looking to acquire a 2-person corporation with a new development line or skill set, the employment law implications are complex, yet largely the same.

 

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HR lessons from Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens is shattering box office records around the world. In addition to being an exciting thrill ride, we noticed a number of intriguing HR lessons in the film that can be applied at every workplace.

 

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Project manager convicted of criminal charges in Christmas Eve swing stage collapse

The tragic Christmas Eve 2009 swing stage collapse which led to the deaths of four workers and the serious injury of another at a west Toronto construction site continues to have legal repercussions and break new ground in health and safety law.

 

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Swing N Scaff Inc. and company director fined a total of $400,000 in deaths of four workers

Last January, I wrote about fatalities at work, and in particular, the Metron Construction and Swartz decisions. Since then, there has been some developments.

 

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Is an employer’s duty to accommodate becoming too much?

After a recent Federal Court of Appeal ruling, employers are now faced with the responsibility of accommodating employee requests relating to childcare – providing it does not cause the employer undue hardship. This is the first time a ruling seems to clarify what employers’ obligations are when it comes to accommodation based on family status under human rights legislation. But is this too much for employers?

 

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From the desk of the HR manager: Spring cleaning – Performing an HR audit

As spring is upon us, it is an appropriate time of the year for an organization to perform an audit of its human resources process. HR audits ensure regulatory and organizational policy compliance, while proactively pursuing internal efficiencies and excellence. Regular and systematic audits demonstrate due-diligence to regulatory bodies (e.g. Ministry of Labour) and promote a proactive, preventative approach to HR issues, subsequently reducing risk and liabilities.

 

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Ontario Court of Appeal rules on distracted driving and handheld devices

The Ontario Court of Appeal has recently ruled on the issue of distracted driving caused by “holding” handheld devices in two companion decisions: R. v. Kazemi 2013 ONCA 585 and R. v. Pizzurro, 2013 ONCA 584. In both cases, the Court of Appeal has strictly interpreted the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (“HTA”) to mean that holding a handheld device while driving constitutes a breach of the statute because it results in distracted driving that should be avoided at all costs.

 

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Number of arrests in the NFL: one too many bad apples?

If you’ve been following sports at all this month, you’ve likely heard about the number of high profile arrests involving members of the National Football League. This string of charges leads us to the question of how much responsibility, if any, an employer has for an employee’s behaviour outside of the workplace.

 

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Assessing the risk of violence at work

Companies have had almost 3 years to implement violence and harassment prevention in the workplace provisions under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act , OHSA (also known as Bill 168). Like other items in the OHSA, obligations on employers to prevent workplace violence and harassment with written policies and programs require ongoing commitment, training, and review. A few highlights of some of the requirements that employers with five or more employees must demonstrate include:

 

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What managers can learn from selection of new Pope

The mantra “Hire Slow and Fire Quickly” has been a favourite of business writers for years. However, an increasing number of thinkers are disagreeing with its sentiment. Danny Boce from Fast Company recently wrote “that catchphrase isn’t just dumb, it’s counterproductive,” particularly for start-ups.

 

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Returning from parental leave and accommodating family status

After 20 weeks of parental leave, I’m back in front of my computer, checking my email, catching up on workplace changes, putting together a schedule and generally getting back into the swing of things. Per the law, my employer has reinstated me to the same position I left (at the same wage), although with some accommodation to ease my transition, and I will no doubt be expected to perform up to my previous standard. I know I’ll need the help!

 

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Refreshing statement on employers’ OHS due diligence obligations

As an Ontario employer, it is sometimes hard to shake the impression the standard of OH&S due diligence applied by the courts is so high that defendants are guilty until proven innocent. Our court of appeal has found employers to be “the virtual insurers” of employee health and safety.

 

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Understanding employee privacy and work-issued computers

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Last week, Alison J. Bird wrote for the First Reference Talks blog about the R. v. Cole case, involving a high school teacher who had kept photos of a naked, underage student on his work computer. In the several days, there have been a flurry of news stories calling attention to privacy boundaries employees can expect regarding work-licensed technology.

 

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