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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

Unhappy holidays! The hangover, the law suit and the human rights complaint

The holiday season is full of cheer, celebration, hangovers…and legal implications for employers.  Canadian courts have established that in some cases, employers are liable for the harm and damages caused by intoxicated/impaired employees after an employer-sponsored party. Those cases are ones in which: The employer provided the alcohol to the employee; The employer knew the

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Ho ho ho hold it – When does celebrating Christmas in the workplace cross a line?

This time of year we find ourselves answering questions about what type of workplace celebrations are appropriate. Is wishing colleagues “Merry Christmas” a neutral greeting or is it offensive?  Is it acceptable to have a Christmas tree in the office?  Is Secret Santa a human rights problem? The reality is that not everyone celebrates Christmas.

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You started it! When the victim is the instigator of harassment

We often hear from our clients, or through the course of investigations, that the incidents now being alleged to be harassment are part of the workplace culture, and that an employee’s active participation in the harassing behaviour means that the conduct should not constitute harassment for that employee. Is the employee’s participation in the harassing

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Don’t stay “mum” when accommodating a mom

The past year has seen family status accommodation become a hot topic, and at times, a challenging employment law issue for many employers and human resources professionals. Adding to the law on family status, a recent Ontario arbitration reaffirms the legal obligation of an employer to address an employee’s accommodation request. In this case, Renee

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How not to conduct an investigation…yet another example

The number of decisions dealing with how not to conduct workplace investigations continues to grow. One of these decisions, Ditomene v Boulanger, 2013 QCCQ 842, comes from the Quebec Court and while the case was decided under the Civil Code of Quebec, it provides a laundry list of flaws that should be avoided in a

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Let’s talk workplace incivility

Last week, I traveled to York University to give a lecture on workplace incivility to students in the Human Resources Management program. Other than marveling at some of the new buildings on my old university campus, I was also surprised by the discussion that was occurring in the classroom about incivility. The solutions that these

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Trick or treat or legal issues?

Halloween usually brings out the creative side in all of us, whether through designing costumes, putting up decorations, or at times the choice of what treat to hand out to eager trick-or-treaters (I personally still recall the lady on our street who handed out a six-pack of Sprite!). Although Halloween is meant to be a

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Protections for unpaid interns not coming fast enough

This week, the CBC reported on a family in Alberta who is voicing concern over the lack of protection afforded to interns in Canada. Their story stems from the death of their son, Andy Ferguson, who crashed his car after falling asleep at the wheel. The Ferguson family believes Andy was exhausted from the long

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