What is an employer to do when it discovers that one of their employees has been arrested? In many cases, the employer's knee-jerk reaction will be to dismiss the employee, particularly where the charges relate to more unsavoury conduct. However, the law is clear that like most off-duty conduct, being charged with a criminal offence will not, in and of itself, be just cause for dismissal.
Recent court decisions changed how the law applies to employment contracts, most importantly terminations, but also off-duty conduct, consideration and restrictive covenants. Important lessons from the changes are that employers need to review their employment contracts, you can update them or change their terms while complying with the law, and failing to do so can damage your organization's finances and reputation.
While at the First Reference Conference one year, an interesting conversation arose among attendees at my lunch table, where more than one complained that her workplace refused to implement an anti-bullying policy (as was required under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act), apparently because doing so would open the floodgates (as the HR Manager was the alleged bully).