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News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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Pet-friendly workplace policy

In the dog-eat-dog world of business, there’s a growing trend of workers bringing their pets to the office. Some companies already welcome man’s best friend (and cats too), while others have not yet realized that there are benefits of allowing employees to bring their furry friends to work.

 

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Introducing our newest guest blogger Michele Glassford

We are very pleased to announce that Michele Glassford, Editor of Human Resources PolicyPro, Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba & Saskatchewan, and Atlantic editions, published by First Reference Inc., will be sharing her expertise with our readers on First Reference Talks, covering issues surrounding HR policies and best practices, starting in September 2012.

 

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Crafting policies is the art of business

company-policies

Policies are crucial to a successful business. Without them, it’s impossible to consistently control and keep track of all the things that happen day to day. It’s great to see others as excited about the topic as we are at First Reference. Last week, Scott Lowe outlined on TechRepublic, “10 things to consider when creating policies.” And it’s not just IT policy he’s interested in.

 

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Making your employee handbook enforceable

A regular issue for employers is whether the provisions in their employee handbook are enforceable in the same manner as an employment contract. Many employers are surprised to find that they are not…

 

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Relying on breach of policy to discipline employees

When an employer seeks to rely on a breach of policy in disciplining an employee, the employer must prove that it clearly communicated the policy to the employee in question and has enforced the policy consistently. The importance of such communication in enforcement of workplace policies was demonstrated in Lambe v. Irving Oil Ltd.

 

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Can I be disciplined for off-duty behaviour?

“I am at a party on my day off and a coworker hurls racial insults at me or makes sexual suggestive comments to me.” Am I protected by my employer’s harassment and discrimination policy? Likewise, if I am the one doing the hurling or suggestive commenting, am I subject to discipline under my employer’s policies?

 

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New Brunswick court of appeal weighs in on alcohol testing

On July 7, 2011 the New Brunswick Court of Appeal handed down a decision regarding an employer’s alcohol testing policy. In Irving Pulp and Paper Limited v. Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada Local 30, 2011 NBCA 58, the Court found that the random alcohol testing policy in the case was reasonable.

 

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Applying overtime rules in Ontario can sometimes be complicated

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act provides that in most circumstance, an employee who works more than 44 hours in a given week shall be paid at least one and one-half times his or her regular rate of pay for overtime hours worked. However, this simple rule can become complicated and lead to lawsuits, as several employers have found out recently due to their failure to pay statutory overtime.

 

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New policy regarding sexual and gender-based harassment

On March 8, 2011, just in time for International Women’s Day, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released a new policy regarding sexual and gender-based harassment. It has been noted that although great strides have been made for women in the past hundred years, there is still a long way to go to eliminate the barriers women face. The new policy deals mainly with sexual harassment in employment, housing and education.

 

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Family day across Canada

All jurisdictions in Canada provide for a number of public (also called statutory or general holidays) holidays each year. Some are common to all jurisdictions; others are specific to individual provinces and territories. Family Day is a public holiday under provincial employment standards legislation, observed the third Monday in February every year in five jurisdictions in Canada.

 

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Alzheimer’s disease/dementia in the workplace

Alzheimer’s/dementia is becoming a nationwide epidemic and impacting the workforce more and more every day. “Alzheimer’s not only touches more and more lives every day but also impacts the workplace, especially as older people are postponing retirement and continuing to work into their 70s…”

 

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How to decide if a religious belief should be accommodated

Under human rights legislation in all jurisdictions in Canada, employers cannot ignore the religious needs or observances of employees but must work with employees to try to accommodate them. In addition, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of religion and expression…

 

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Termination for cause upheld for breach of computer information access policy

Ontario’s Labour Arbitration Board recently held that an employer did not overreact when it terminated an IT employee for cause after he used an employer computer to download, store and share thousands of copyrighted works including movies, TV shows, music tracks, games and pornographic material, totalling over half a terabyte of data. The board found that the employee violated the employer’s trust in him and acted in flagrant disregard for the employer’s computer information access policy over many years.

 

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Firing by email part II: wrongful dismissal implications

Pursuant to my blog post of January 11, 2011 discussing the implications of firing by email when an employee files a complaint under human rights legislation, Is it okay to fire an employee by email? It may depend on what course of legal action your former employee pursues.

 

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Christmas greetings in the workplace may be offensive

You can’t say ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore—they have taken all the fun out of coming to work. What about my human rights? Wow! Where did all this negativity come from? I decided to do some research and look for the origins of this Christmas bashing and I turned up some interesting cases.

 

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