As Jeff explains, “When professional and personal lives co-mingle, it’s only natural that romantic work relationships happen. While merging romance and work might sound like an ideal situation, navigating office politics and HR policies present
Rideau Hall is the latest workplace to become famous for its toxicity. The story of Julie Payette’s reign and downfall serves as an important reminder for workplaces. The law attempts to protect employees from violence and harassment in the workplace with both proactive and reactive requirements. However, when the offending behaviour comes from the very top, as was the case for the Rideau Hall employees, feelings of powerlessness are pervasive.
The independent workplace report resulting from a review of the circumstances at Rideau Hall reported that 43 employees described the work environment as “hostile.” Out of 93 current and former employees interviewed, only 10 described the work environment in neutral or positive terms. …
Continue Reading Workplace Lessons from Rideau Hall
What a wild ride 2020 has been. Our offices are closed this week and our team is (hopefully) enjoying a well-deserved vacation. While most of our 2020 blogging has been Covid-19 related, and while much of our blogging does tend to revolve around legal updates, occasionally a “fun” employment topic makes its way onto the blog. For today’s post, I thought I’d pick out a few of my all-time (definitely non-Covid-19) favourite posts to revisit.
This blog attracted a lot of eyeballs – thank you Google Analytics! Dress codes are one of the sneaky ways that employers often still discriminate. I know it’s been awhile since we’ve all been to a Jack Astors or a Hooters, but you should know that legally the female waitresses should be allowed to dress exactly like the men and vice versa.
With so much hot news swirling around, some may have missed the story of the Arctic research mission MOSAiC’s dress code. Apparently, women on board the ship were told not to dress in tight-fitting clothing, and specifically no leggings, no crop tops, no short shorts, no hot pants and “nothing too revealing.” The leader of the mission apparently felt that this was a “safety issue,” as “there are a lot of men on board this ship … and some of them are going to be on board this ship for months at a time.” Ah hem.
It’s been reported that the dress code policy followed allegations of sexual harassment made by several women on the ship.
In these challenging times, in the midst of the pandemic, as workplaces re-open, pivot and change, we see the importance and immense value of having strategic employment and workplace law advice. Just a small allocation of thought space and time to being proactive could have changed the outcome of so many situations. We see it now in our firm in many ways.
Having run a small business for over a decade, I can appreciate that employers are often triaging the urgent demand of finding solutions to client’s needs. Rarely did I have the time or opportunity to “smell the roses” let alone try to proactively anticipate the workplace law needs of my growing organization. However, I now see the critical importance of taking a proactive approach.…
Continue Reading Workplace Law: It Pays To Be Proactive
When it comes to workplace violence and prevention, the federal government has been playing catch up with the provinces. Starting in 2017, the feds have been working on amendments to the Canada Labour Code (CLC) to more fully address workplace violence and harassment. While Bill-65 – snappily named An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 – establishing the amendments was passed in 2018, the changes had not come into effect nor had a date for their coming into effect been announced. New regulations were announced on June 24, 2020, which provide employers with more details regarding what will be required of them and setting out an effective date of January 1, 2021, for the changes. There are also requirements that employers need to meet before January 1, 2021. More details can be found on the government site here. …
Continue Reading New Federal Anti-Workplace Violence and Harassment Requirements
So you’ve received a harassment complaint from one employee about another employee. What do you do? Do you have to investigate? Can you use your common sense and just discipline? Is the complaint clearly BS in the first place? What if the complaint is about a break-the-company level fraud by your CFO?
Workplace investigations are usually an unwelcome but necessary business diversion. Many employers would rather avoid them and will attempt, or seek counsel’s validation for, a quick and dirty alternative such as a quick-release termination of the alleged wrongdoer or relocation of the complainant. But these are not alternatives to investigating, are never the upfront solution and often fail to satisfy the legal obligation to properly investigate. These responses are more likely to expose an employer to greater liability.
A complaint of workplace misconduct needs to move quickly, and yet is no time for fast thinking. Employers should instead think carefully about the substance of the complaint, the impact on the involved parties and the business fallout if their response is the wrong one. …
Continue Reading Do I have to hire a super expensive external investigator? Maybe. Maybe not.
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd and in the midst of protests and heightened awareness of anti-black racism across the world, two prominent Canadians have been “cancelled.”
Earlier this month Sasha Exeter, lifestyle blogger and influencer, called out Jessica Mulroney for “textbook white privilege.” Exeter explained, calling out Mulroney by name, that Mulroney took offence to her call to action for people with large public followings to use their platforms to address racial inequality and then proceeded to threaten Exeter and her brand. Soon after Mulroney’s reality show, “I Do, Redo” had been cancelled by CTV, and Cityline, Good Morning America, Hudson’s Bay and apparently Meghan Markle, had all cut their ties with the star.
Outraged protesters took to the streets across the US to demonstrate against the unnecessary loss of life and the complete lack of empathy shown by police officers for a Black man pleading to hold on to his life. George Floyd’s death could have been prevented if there were stricter policies limiting police use of force in Minneapolis. In Minneapolis police are allowed to use chokeholds and that’s how George Floyd was killed. A 30-year study examining police use of force shows that a ban on chokeholds and strangleholds results in 22% fewer police killings.
Continue Reading The Deaths of George Floyd & Regis Korchinski-Paquet
McDonald’s is in the news this week after their Board told their CEO, Steve Easterbrook, to “move on” after learning that he had been engaging in a romantic relationship with an employee. While the relationship was “consensual,” McDonald’s policy forbids managers from having romantic relationships with subordinates – whether they directly supervise them or …