In 2017, Rubin Thomlinson conducted the Workplace Bystander Survey to gather insight into workplace bystanders (individuals who personally witnessed, heard of, or heard about harassment and discrimination in their workplaces).
Language discrimination is a harmful reality in many workplaces, and employers need to be proactive in not only preventing it, but in celebrating and promoting language diversity. In a world where 281 million people live in countries other than where they were born, and with a record number of Canadians (13%) reporting a first language other than English or French, this issue is more important than ever. The rise of controversial new voice-altering technology, which perpetuates existing hierarchies about who speaks English with the “right” accent and who does not, adds to this urgency.
If you are an investigator like me, you may have noticed the term “white fragility” has emerged in some of your cases, especially when the investigation involves claims of race-based harassment and/or discrimination. This may be as part of a complainant’s allegation, as in the respondent engaged in “white fragility,” or as part of a respondent’s response, as in “this is not a case of ‘white fragility’.” The concept has sparked much debate, as not everyone agrees with it.
As awareness and understanding of gender diversity grows, more transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons are feeling supported and empowered to express their gender identities in the workplace.
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.
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.
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.
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.