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News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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Municipal Integrity Commissioners and Workplace Investigators: Who does what when council members are accused of harassment?

Bill 68, the Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, 2017, received Royal Assent on May 30, 2017. One of the biggest changes introduced by the Bill is the requirement that all municipalities in Ontario have a Code of Conduct and either appoint an Integrity Commissioner, or make arrangements for the Commissioner of another municipality to fulfill the relevant duties.


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Secret recordings in the workplace: A review of legal and practical consequences

While it may be legal to surreptitiously record your own workplace conversations, it is another question altogether as to whether it is a good idea. Canadian courts have acknowledged time and again that trust is at the heart of the employment relationship.


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Dial “D” for dismissal: Employee fired after “pocket-dial”

Most people have received (or sent) a “pocket-dial”, which is an unintentional cell phone call that is made by a phone when it is in a person’s pocket. In a recent decision from Alberta, an employee’s pocket-dial revealed that he was performing work for his own personal business on company time, leading to his dismissal for cause.


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The low-down on workplace gossip

A recent poll from recruitment marketing firm Employment Office has revealed that most employees don’t appreciate office gossip. In fact, a surprising 63 percent feel that a colleague has taken gossip too far on more than one occasion. Not only does this put a damper on employee morale, office gossip also impacts productivity levels and can lead to resentment among some employees.


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Supervisor circulated pornography, damaged employment relationship, terminated for cause

When a workplace supervisor accessed pornographic, racist and other inappropriate material via a work computer and circulated it to employees and employer contacts, the employer had just cause to dismiss him. The employee claimed he was wrongfully dismissed, but the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench was not convinced and acceded to the employer’s request to dismiss the employee’s claim without trial.


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Update on the poor working conditions at Apple’s factories in China

In a previous FR Talks post, we discussed alleged poor working conditions found at Apple Inc.’s factories in China. Since then, at the request of certain parties, the Fair Labour Association (FLA) got involved and proceeded to audit these factories which resulted in an investigation report in March, 2012 and a verification status report in August 2012, substantiating the claims of poor work conditions in said factories.


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Can employers prevent workplace suicide?

I was recently reading an issue of SafetyNewsAlert, which indicated that there were over 20 attempted suicides over one year in a single Chinese technology factory—one that manufactures products for Apple, including the iPad, among other things. Out of the 20 attempts, 9 suicides were successful within a period of five months. According to the article, questions are being raised about the sustainability of China’s manufacturing model, which relies on long hours from its workers. Typical workweeks include seven days of twelve hours.


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