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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

An $800,000 cautionary investigation tale from Alberta

In what the arbitration panel called a tragic case, an employee of the City of Calgary has been awarded $800,000 in damages (The City of Calgary and CUPE, Local 38, 2013 CanLII 88297). The employee, who worked as a clerk in the City’s Roads division, was sexually assaulted on a number of occasions by a

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He said WHAT about me?! Defamation in the workplace investigation context

In a workplace investigation, it is not uncommon for complainants and potential witnesses to express concerns about job-related reprisals before speaking to the investigator. Recently, however, I had witnesses in two separate investigations tell me that they did not want to participate for fear of being sued by the respondent, with one witness specifically referencing

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The cost of discrimination and harassment: $65,000.00; the cost of a failure to investigate: $6000.00; legal lessons learned … Priceless.

In the recent case of Islam v. Big Inc., 2013 HRTO 2009 (CanLII), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruled that a Toronto restaurant, Le Papillion on the Park (the employer), created a poisoned work environment by: a)  forcing three Muslim restaurant workers to eat pork despite knowing that it was against their religious beliefs

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The IQ principles

Recently my colleague and I had the opportunity to travel to Iqaluit, Nunavut in order to provide workplace investigation training. As part of my preparation for our trip, I was introduced to the concept of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, a term for Inuit traditional knowledge and information that is passed down through oral history, customs and traditions.

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Avoiding the sticker shock of a workplace investigation

There seem to be no shortage of articles and blogs these days touting the merits of conducting workplace investigations in many circumstances (we know because we write a lot of them). You read about how they can improve the workplace and help employers avoid legal liability. What you don’t often see written about is how

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No just cause after employer fails to investigate allegations of anti-Semitic remarks

An employer alleges that an employee made anti-Semitic remarks about the employer’s owners, the employer reacts and terminates the employee for cause, an investigation is not conducted, and the employee is not given an opportunity to respond to the allegations before he is terminated. This was the case in Ludchen v. Stelcrete Industries Ltd., where

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An alternative to the traditional investigation model

In addition to traditional workplace investigations, sometimes we are asked to conduct broader inquiries into concerns of systemic barriers and discriminatory policies and practices. To do so, we use a variety of information gathering techniques such as policy reviews, data analysis, questionnaires, focus groups and one-on-one interviews. As the variety of matters for which organizations

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Help! I have a terrible workplace investigation report on my desk

Unfortunately, for those of us who support employers through workplace investigations, it is almost inevitable that one day, a truly terrible workplace investigation report will land on our desks. These reports may be prepared by people internal to our clients’ workplaces, or they may be prepared by an external investigator. What do I mean by

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