Employers often state that promoting DEIB initiatives is a top priority, and they ask us how best to improve on the start they’ve made (or how to get on board in a meaningful way for the first time). For those less versed in this space, DEIB stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. The ‘belonging’ component is a more recent addition to the acronym. According to Gallup, in a ‘culture of belonging’ employees are appreciated for what they bring to the group, there is a genuine desire for meaningful relationships, and there is an appreciation for the differences between people. In addition to leading to a happier workplace, it’s no surprise that fostering a culture of belonging makes good business sense. Gallup found that if more employees believed that their opinions counted, “organizations could reduce turnover by as much as 27%, safety incidents by 40%, and increase productivity by 12%.”Continue Reading Respect in the Workplace Policies: An Employer’s Starting Point for DEIB Initiatives
While there’s info that can help employers navigate employment issues DIY, there are still situations where you need an employment lawyer. …
Continue Reading Time to Call in the Pros: When Do You Need an Employment Lawyer?
Toronto Mayor John Tory shocked the city last week by announcing his resignation due to an intimate relationship with one of his staff. Whatever your opinions about infidelity or John Tory may be, the scandal is a reminder to employers that workplace relationships may develop outside of professional boundaries. At best, these professional-turned-personal connections lead to a healthy and happy relationship for the employees in question. They put up professional boundaries while at work, you get a wedding invitation in the mail and, bonus, they can now carpool to the office. Not all relationships will not follow such a seamless trajectory, however, and can lead to significant disruption and ethical and legal conundrums for an employer. A Relationships at Work policy sets expectations to help avoid those bumpier roads.Continue Reading When Professional and Personal Lives Mingle: Managing Workplace Romances
Every February, Canadians across the country celebrate the incredible achievements and honour the legacy of Black Canadians during Black History Month. The official theme of this year’s Black History Month is “Ours to tell”. This theme is all about engaging in an open dialogue and committing to learning more about the stories Black Canadians and Black communities have to tell about their histories, successes, sacrifices and triumphs. With a commitment to open dialogue in mind, let’s talk about creating an equitable, inclusive and safe workplace.
What do Equity, Diversity and Inclusion really mean?
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) are often talked about, but what do these words really mean when it comes to the workplace? By way of definition, diversity is about a workplace’s composition, inclusion ensures everyone has a voice and is heard, and equity is about making sure everyone has what they need to succeed. This does not mean employees are all treated equally. Employers need to be aware of disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalized workers and ensure they have fair opportunities at work. Continue Reading An Open Dialogue: Black History Month
Post #MeToo we have more and more dialogue about sexual harassment and sexual assault. There has been significant discussion in the areas of what constitutes consent and the power imbalances that exist in the workplace. For those reasons, some employers prohibit intimate contact between employees. Employers take this stance, because they know they could be liable for the sexual misconduct of an employee, whether the misconduct was perpetrated against another employee, a client, or otherwise.
Sexual assault is often discussed as a criminal offence however, frequently we see these allegations arise in the workplace as sexual harassment. Employees can report the conduct in the workplace and/or to the police and pursue a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator and their employer. This can lead to investigations, police involvement, and defending a civil lawsuit. It is best to speak to counsel early in the process, involve your insurer if you have employer insurance or litigation insurance, and educate yourself about the process. Burying your head in the sand will not be effective when dealing with these types of serious allegations.
Continue Reading Employer Liability Post #MeToo
Hello Friends of SpringLaw!
We hope your summer has gone well!
For many of our employer clients, it’s time to get back to business, solidify HR law systems and post-pandemic norms and to gear up for a busy fall.
We want to make that easy for you – we’re excited to announce the launch of our new Boss Law Bootcamp. This comprehensive online program is designed for both new employers not sure where to start as well as boss pros who all need to keep their legal templates and resources up to date.
The Bootcamp includes the up-to-date core HR law contracts and policies you must have in place today, plus bonus guides & checklists AND time with our employment lawyers to customize and help you with the how of implementing the legal infrastructure. We want this to be effortless and quick for you.
And we have an Early Bird price until Sept 15!
Packed with practical knowledge, templates, policies and practices!
To kick off the start of Pride Month in Ontario, we encourage you to make sure your workplace policies are up to date and address the important values of equity, diversity, and inclusion. While most employers know discrimination in the workplace on any protected ground within the Ontario Human Rights Code is a big no-no, equity, diversity, and inclusion may not always be top of mind in the day-to-day running of a business. Promoting these principles within your company creates a safe and welcoming workspace and promotes different perspectives, innovative ideas, and greater collaboration and is important for the retention of the talent you have.
Continue Reading Happy Pride Month! What Employers Need to Know about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Work
In this webinar, SpringLaw’s Lisa Stam and Danielle Murray will discuss how you can support women leaders in the workplace, common challenges women leaders face, and how employers can ensure equitable exits if needed.
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Time: 10:30-11:00 am EST
Register today: Click here!Continue Reading Free webinar: Barriers & Biases – Supporting Women Leaders
If you missed the Oscars last night, you missed viewing a crime in real-time. The live and at-home viewing audience witnessed an assault. If you haven’t seen it, you can view the clip here. Chris Rock told a joke about Jada Pinkett, and her husband, Will Smith, then walked onto the stage, hit Chris Rock across the face, and went on to retort with profanity on live television. What’s more shocking than the act itself, is that the Oscars live broadcast continued without acknowledgement of the incident and later gave Will Smith an award.
Let’s talk about the law of assault (at least the Canadian definition). Section 265 of the Criminal Code of Canada says a person commits assault when: without the consent of another person, they apply force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly. Simply put, it is an assault, if one is making, or attempting to make, contact with another person without their consent. This is sometimes referred to as a common assault or simple assault because it is not aggravated (serious injuries) or with a weapon.
Continue Reading No Award for Violence
Introduction – Part II
During Part I of this blog, we outlined three initial legal options for survivors of sexual assault and/or harassment in the workplace context. These included filing a workplace complaint, filing a grievance if you are in a unionized setting, or submitting an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). Here, we continue to outline the remaining three options for legal redress in this context.
Asserting a Constructive Dismissal
Per Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, your employer is responsible for ensuring a safe, harassment-free work environment. If you resign from your employment you typically will not be entitled to any compensation from your employer. If you are terminated, you will typically be entitled to notice of termination – colloquially known as a “severance package”. However, the law has carved out an exception in circumstances where the employer’s conduct has been so bad that you essentially have no choice but to quit. This is called a “constructive dismissal.’” Depending on the facts of each case, asserting a successful constructive dismissal claim could result in a damages (compensation) award comparable to what you would have been entitled to had you been terminated. If your constructive dismissal arose out of the context of being sexually harassed or assaulted at work, you may also be entitled to additional forms of compensation including human rights or general damages.
Continue Reading Sexual Harassment and Assault at Work: Options for Legal Redress – Part 2