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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

Hello: My Name is…Positional Power. Revisiting Schrenk to understand systemic power inequality in the workplace

9.9 times out of 10, I am the only workplace investigator at a social gathering. At a recent dinner, I explained what I do for a living. I received the usual raised eye-brows and comments that the other guests would start to watch what they were saying, but no investigator jokes.

(After being a lawyer for 23 years, I believe I have heard the gamut of lawyer quotes and cracks, but I have yet to hear a good workplace investigator joke or jab.)

After the initial reaction, I was also asked, “Why, with all the media attention through #MeToo and policies and laws in place, are we still talking about people not knowing how to behave at work?”

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How microaggressions can turn a “compliment” into discrimination and harassment

Examples of problematic workplace behaviours often include the obvious: a racial slur, a homophobic “joke” or inappropriate touching. But what happens when the behaviour in question is less overt? While seemingly innocuous, these types of comments can amount to what has been dubbed “microaggressions”. Named the ‘Top Word of 2015’ by the Global Language Monitor, this term has become increasingly popular in our common parlance. But what are microaggressions and why should employers (and other institutions) be concerned about them?

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But I did an Investigation…: BC Human Rights Tribunal weighs in on investigative gaps in discrimination case

The law on harassment investigations tells us that an employer must conduct an investigation that is “reasonable” and “appropriate in the circumstances.” The challenge is to know what the exact content of a reasonable and appropriate investigation is, particularly when the workplace issue to investigate appears to be like a puzzle with missing pieces whose final picture is constantly shifting.  

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What every employer needs to learn from the CBC’s abuse in Canadian sport report

Policies and procedures serve many roles in the workplace. In simplest terms, a policy sets out the legislation-mandated as well as the expected standards of behaviour for employees and stakeholders. Procedures provide a how-to guide to direct individuals where to go when they question the behavior they see or experience.

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Believing the complaint is not enough: Guidance on appropriate investigations into inappropriate comments

Guidance on appropriate investigations into inappropriate comments
As investigators, we see that harassment often comes in the form of derogatory comments about people’s racial and ethnic background, as well as their sex, gender identity and gender expression. What we do not see as investigators, but can reasonably assume, is that these comments often go uninvestigated. Why?

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Writing policies and procedures in the era of #MeToo

With the second anniversary of the Bill 132 changes fast approaching (September 2018), my hope is that organizations can use some of this insight to shape future iterations of their own workplace harassment policies which, pursuant to the legislation, must be reviewed on (at least) an annual basis.

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Jane Doe and the myth of the “real” victim

The Federal Court of Appeal recently heard an application for judicial review of a decision of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (the Board) in which the Board had found that an employer – the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) – failed to provide a harassment-free workplace for one of its employees.

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