First Reference company logo

First Reference Talks

News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

decorative image

employee handbook

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.

 

, , , , , , , ,

Severance limiting clauses CAN work especially in employment agreements

A recent Ontario Superior Court decision reinforces some basic principles previously discussed on this Blog (and unfortunately often missed or forgotten by employers). In Asgari v 975866 Ontario Ltd, a motion for summary judgment was decided in the Plaintiff’s favour. One issue was whether a clause, purporting to limit the Plaintiff’s pay in lieu of notice entitlements to the statutory minimum, was enforceable.

 

, , , , , , , , ,

Putting employee handbooks in their proper organizational context

Does your organization have an employee handbook?  Are you thinking about creating one?  Do employees and managers have questions or conflicting beliefs about your current handbook?  The following overview discusses what an employee handbook is not, highlights the key purpose of an effective handbook and outlines some tips for effective employee handbooks.

 

, , , , , , , , ,

Nova Scotia to increase access to pregnancy/parental leave in 2015

On September 2, 2013, Premier Darrell Dexter announced plans to amend the Labour Standards Code to allow someone employed for six months with an employer to qualify for pregnancy/parental leave.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Politics over pragmatism? Job-protected leaves for the death and disappearance of child due to crime or a critically ill child

On December 14, 2012, the federal Helping Families in Need Act (formerly Bill C–44) received Royal Assent and provisions were proclaimed in effect on March 24, 2013 and June 9, 2013. That Act among other things, amended the Canada Labour Code to permit an employee to take a job-protected leave of absence without pay if the employee is the parent of a child who has disappeared or died and it is probable, considering the circumstances, that the child disappeared or died as a result of a crime.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HR policies as prevention

At a conference a few years back, there was a session about steps an employer can legally take to oppose a union organizing campaign. I recall my initial reaction to the topic was once a union organizing campaign begins, “it’s too late”. I believe that most union organizing is borne of long-time employee dissatisfaction and insecurity regarding working conditions and management. While there may be some workplaces where union organization results from a political ideology, in most cases, few employees would sign up for the paying of union dues if they did not see the union as an answer to substandard or uncertain workplace policies.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do you need a social media policy?

It is understandably frustrating for employers and human resources managers to try keep up with social media trends. It seems that as soon as employers (or anyone over the age of 25) has figured out the latest social media tool, the masses have moved on to the next one. Likewise it is almost impossible to amend or adapt a “social media” policy with each shift in trend.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No cause for termination without policy and discipline

It seems that employers must continually learn that it is crucial to have clear written policies in place governing employee conduct and discipline, and to apply those policies consistently. An Alberta Employment Standards Umpire recently heard a case that reiterates the simple lesson.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Winter-weather policy, do you need one?

Our last poll asked readers: Do you have a winter-weather policy to handle challenges the weather will bring that might prevent employees from getting to work? Out of 319 respondents, 161 (50.47%) of respondents said no and 90 (28.21%) said yes (29/9.9% of respondents already cover it in policy). Only 68 (21.32%) answered they did not know they needed one. So do you need one or not?

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Must vacation time be given in consecutive weeks?

Does your vacation policy require employees to take time off in consecutive weeks? What does the law say? The answer: it depends on the jurisdiction.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The misconceptions of suspensions in non-unionized workplaces

Perhaps because of the increased press directed to union conflicts, or perhaps due solely to a misunderstanding of the employment relationship, many HR professionals perceive that they have the right to suspend an employee based on some perceived or actual misconduct by that employee. However, while most union contracts do provide the right of suspension to the employer, there is no similar right available at common law.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thinking of vacation? You’re not alone

Thinking of vacation? You’re not alone. Both Expedia and Mercer consultants recently published studies shedding light on employees’ views on vacation time.

 

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Employers ask: what conduct by an employee constitutes cause for dismissal

frustrated-cause-for-dismissal

I am frequently asked by employer clients to describe what type of conduct by an employee will be held by the courts to qualify as cause for dismissal. Employers are often frustrated by the answer they receive – that it seems that nothing less than stealing money from the company will suffice. In the case of long time employees without prior instances of misconduct, theft may still be insufficient. A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court has fortunately clarified the circumstances in which courts will find cause for dismissal as a result of dishonesty. What is striking about the decision is the reliance of the judge on a seemingly insignificant act committed by a nineteen year employee.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Social media policy – if you don’t have one, get one!

social media policy

The story about the Ontario man fired from a retail store due to insensitive online posts about the death of Amanda Todd, is not the first time we’ve seen a story like this.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Employee privacy update: Supreme Court of Canada releases decision in R v Cole

The Supreme Court of Canada released its much-awaited decision in R. v. Cole, 2012 SCC 53, on October 19. This criminal law case is notable for employers because it provides commentary on an employee’s right to privacy when using an employer-supplied laptop.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Previous Posts