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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

The wall: Tearing down poisoned work environments

“CSI-style wall…Creepy…I was horrified…Very evil…Disturbing behaviour.” These are phrases that might be used to describe an episode of Homeland or a big-budget suspense movie. In fact, these were statements uttered by individuals who worked with the Mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Justin Altmann, regarding his behaviour in office. Mr. Altmann was the subject of a recent highly-publicized

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The outsiders: Recent decision addresses a municipality’s duty to protect employees from external harassment

By now, most employers are well aware of the duty to protect employees from workplace harassment. However, what happens when the harasser is outside the workplace? Is the duty to protect still triggered? Most employment lawyers in Ontario would advise that an employer can (and should) take to protect its employees from workplace-related harassment, regardless

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Poisoned work environment: An employer’s responsibility

I am often asked what “poisoned work environment” means. My thought is that while many people have heard the term and may even use it occasionally, they are not really sure what it is. A recent HRTO decision provides some clear guidance as to what a poisoned work environment is, how it often arises, and

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Sometimes all you have to do is ask

In February of this year, the federal government launched a survey open to all Canadians asking them about their opinions and experiences relating to harassment and sexual violence in the workplace. Participants were also encouraged to offer suggestions on how to improve workplaces in relation to these issues. The stated goals of the process were

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A Schrenk explainer: The case before the Supreme Court of Canada and why it matters

This past Tuesday, on March 28, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada (the “Court”) heard arguments in British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal v. Edward Schrenk.[i] The case raises very important issues as to who is entitled to protections against harassment and discrimination in the workplace and in what workplace settings and employment-related relationships.  The Court

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“FHRITP” = Career-limiting move

For those unfamiliar with this vulgar form of harassment, “FHRITP” refers to the offensive trend of female reporters being heckled on-air by some miscreant shouting “f**k her right in the p***y!” When CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt was targeted with that nonsense while interviewing fans outside a Toronto FC game this past Sunday, she challenged a

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Atlantic provincial governments’ respectful workplace policies – the must haves

A client recently asked if I knew of any Respectful Workplace Policies that could be used as a framework for creating their own policy. While I am familiar with a number of large organizations’ policies, I began wondering where I would turn if I was to begin searching for greater insight into what should go

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“Piecemeal” response to harassment not enough for Alberta Human Rights Commission

A recent decision of the Alberta Human Rights Commission takes a close look at the extent to which employers will need to address harassment to satisfy their obligations under the Alberta Human Rights Act (“Act”). The case dealt with the harassment of an Edmonton teacher who was harassed for two years by a Grade 8

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