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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

Put on your lens! The importance of having a critical race theory (CRT) lens when conducting a race-based workplace investigation

Like many of you, over the last couple of years, I have been hearing the buzz around the ban of the now controversial critical race theory (CRT) from some of our neighbours south of the border.

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When policies overlap

As more workplaces fill up and public life fills in again, we have no shortage of investigations involving conflicts between individuals who do not fit into the usual employment relationship category. Our firm also assesses and investigates conflicts within workplaces like membership organizations, municipalities, and service providers who deal with the public.

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Raising allegations of discrimination in the workplace: Is it what you say, or how you say it?

In October 2021, my colleague Dana Campbell-Stevens wrote a blog in which she addressed how the law views an individual’s gut feeling about being a victim of discrimination. A recent case from the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, Thomas v. Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority Inc., raises issues respecting the potential implications of an individual voicing such a gut feeling.

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Workplace harassment 2.0

Remote work was once considered a privilege. Requests to work from home were largely denied and granted only in special cases. As the March 2020 lockdown went into full effect and office buildings emptied, once bustling downtown cores became near ghost towns. For the last fifteen months, remote work has been the status quo. Fears of low employee productivity have largely been allayed. In fact, some organizations have spent in the millions building up VPNs and infrastructure to enable remote work.

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“Missing and Missed”: 5 takeaways for systemic reviews

We are often asked to determine whether systemic issues exist in workplaces, focussing on issues like sexual misconduct, harassment, racism, and alcohol and substance use. Unlike investigations, systemic reviews don’t examine isolated error or fault. Systemic reviews don’t uncover misconduct or wrongdoing of a particular person, or flag potential civil or criminal liability. Systemic reviews are different. Designed to identify issues involving an institution’s systems, policies, and practices, they can also scrutinize group behaviours, norms, and actions – in ways that an investigation or a court proceeding can’t.

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Part 1: Restoring the workplace before a harassment or discrimination investigation

Fortunately, or unfortunately, harassment and discrimination investigations have become quite prevalent in the workplace in recent years. Notwithstanding the legislative mandate, it is a positive indication when organizations are responding to complaints of harassment and discrimination within their workplace. However, in my experience as a workplace investigator, I often see quite clearly that, before an organization decides to pursue an investigation, there are multiple opportunities to address some of the issues by using less adversarial means.

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Maybe not that GIF: Digital blackface and other ways in which anti-Black racism may present in the workplace

Call it a job perk? As a workplace investigator, I not infrequently get questions from friends, family, people I’ve just met, about whether Situation XYZ may be an example of discrimination and/or harassment. A recent discussion about digital blackface led me to think of other possible examples of how anti-Black stereotypes and microaggressions can manifest in the modern workplace.

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