policies and procedures
Who doesn’t like to give or receive a gift, especially around holiday times? It is common practice (even expected practice) in some industries to recognize clients or customers with some sort of gift. Employers should ensure that it has adequate policies to inform and advise employees of the conduct and behaviour that is expected of them in the context of the industry in which the employer operates.
The Nova Scotia government website publishes information on employer convictions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations. For 2012-2013, there are 9 convictions listed to date. They include fines ranging from $1,500.00 to $77,600 plus a $5,000 alternative fine:
Cold and flu season has arrived. Cold and flu spread more easily in the cold winter months because they thrive in colder, less humid environments. Thus, between October and February of each year, virtually thousands of employees get sick with the cold and/or flu, and that translates into lost work time, reduced productivity and disruption of workplace operations. As we all know, the flu can wreak havoc in the workplace as it spreads very quickly. What can employers do to minimize the impact of colds and influenzas (flus) on the workplace?
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.
HRinfodesk poll result and commentary: Can you hold employees financially responsible for damaged workplace equipment (e.g., cellphone, laptop)?
Four hundred and sixty-two people responded to our recent poll, Can you hold employees financially responsible for damaged workplace equipment (e.g., cellphone, laptop)? Of the respondents, 167 (36.15 percent) indicated yes. However, 148 (32.03 percent) disagreed and 147 (31.82 percent) were not sure. So, what is the right answer?
I am fortunate in my practice to work with clients in different industries, ranging from healthcare and social services to traditional manufacturing. Although employment laws generally apply to all industries in much the same way, there are usually certain issues that some industries face more than others. This is true of many clients I assist in the retail industry.
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.
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.
Employers are increasingly drafting and implementing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies for their employees. And they should be, since employees are increasingly using their personal digital devices—phones, tablets, laptops—to perform work, both in and out of the workplace. But employees may have trouble trusting their employers to stay out of their personal information…
A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, confirming a trial decision, once again demonstrates the difficulty employers will face in satisfying courts in this province that there was cause for dismissal.