First Reference company logo

First Reference Talks

News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

decorative image

workplace policies

Family Day in British Columbia, February 13

In British Columbia, Family Day is a statutory (public) holiday that is celebrated the second Monday in February each year. On Monday, February 13, 2017, British Columbians will be celebrating their fifth Family Day.

 

, , , , , , , , ,

Online HR resources: Tips for more effective use

Why reinvent the wheel? Drafting employment contracts, policies, termination letters and releases based on a past precedent is often a good place to start. It is usually both time and cost efficient, and for someone unfamiliar with the document, it’s a great learning opportunity. When using a precedent or online resource, here are the top 3 tips to ensure the document is legally enforceable in your workplace.

 

, , , , , , , , ,

Little judicial tolerance for zero tolerance policies

Employers often adopt zero tolerance policies and assume that doing so will give them the right to immediately fire someone for a breach. These are often used for transgressions that are considered particularly egregious, such as harassment. Although we consistently advise employers to address misconduct such as harassment and make it clear that such behaviour is unacceptable, the reality is that courts will not be bound by zero tolerance policies and will conduct their own assessment of whether summary dismissal is warranted. Saying that “we have a zero tolerance policy” will not be the end of the story.

 

, , , , , , , , , ,

Definition of disability and the Ontario Human Rights Commission

When creating policies that make statements about accessibility, attempts should be made to view disability as a social system instead of a schedule of impairments in order to align an organization’s forward movement with principles of Human Rights. Also, the time is long past due for an evaluation of how intersecting identities can create unique accessibility and accommodation needs.

 

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

February 8 deemed Family Day in British Columbia

Family Day is a statutory (public) holiday that is celebrated, in British Columbia (BC), the second Monday in February each year. In 2016, Monday, February 8 has been deemed Family Day in BC.

 

, , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

, , , , , , , , ,

Differentiated discipline in the workplace

In a recent decision in an Ontario labour arbitration, at issue was a fight that broke out amongst a few employees. The employer terminated all of those employees that were involved in the fight citing that they had violated the company policy by participating in such aggressive behaviour.

 

, , , , , , , , , ,

Terminated casino dealer twice lucky in court

Mike Majewski’s profane outburst at his co-worker John Maracle was not sufficient cause for termination on its own or as a cumulative event, Ontario’s Small Claims Court recently decided—for the second time.

 

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

Zero tolerance for zero tolerance policies

Rarely has a phrase been so well-intentioned yet so fraught with pitfalls as “zero tolerance”.

 

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

New leaves coming under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act

On April 29, 2014, Bill 21, the Employment Standards Amendments Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2014, received royal assent and will come into force six months after assent, on October 29, 2014.

 

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

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.

 

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

Learn the latest! — What you need to know about the new voluntary workplace mental health standard

The Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – Prevention, promotion and guidance to staged implementation was released by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Bureau de Normalization du Québec and the Canadian Standards Association on January 16, 2013. The Standard provides employers with a framework to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy and safe workplace, through the identification and elimination of hazards in the workplace, the assessment and control of the risks in the workplace, the implementation of structures and practices to facilitate psychological health, and the fostering of a workplace culture that promotes psychological well-being.

 

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

OLRB rules that Ontario employer liable for failing to comply with Bill 168

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has recently found a Company to be in breach of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to comply with its duties under the workplace violence and harassment provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (section 32) (formerly Bill 168).

 

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

Workplace policies to avoid the holiday party hangover

holiday-party-hangover

With the holiday season fast approaching, employers are consistently reminded of the additional risks and liabilities which may result from an employer-sponsored holiday event. Nevertheless, holiday parties and events are often considered to be an essential “benefit” expected by employees.

 

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

Understanding employee privacy and work-issued computers

computer-security-at-work

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.

 

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

Previous Posts