Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.
Issue link: http://digital.hrreporter.com/i/796194
PM40065782 RO9496 March 20, 2017 INSIDE Tightening recruitment costs The time has come to take a closer look at what's causing the expansion of hiring budgets — and the cost of turnover is one place to start Cybersecurity Mobile phones pose biggest potential threat to employers page 2 Missing dollars Circumstantial evidence not enough for dismissal page 5 Curbing obesity A look at how to combat health-care costs page 16 page 13 STAY UP TO DATE AND OUT OF COURT Emplo y ment Law Today Canad a ian EmploymentLawToday.com Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a town hall in Hamburg, Germany, on Feb. 17, where he said inequality has made citizens distrust their governments and their employers: "It turns into 'us versus them.'" Credit: Morris Mac Matzen (Reuters) PM focuses on worker unrest Says we need to 'get real' about impact of changing economy BY MARCEL VANDER WIER AN impassioned call to ac- tion from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has put worker unrest fi rmly in the spotlight. On Feb. 17, Trudeau told a gath- ering of 400 politicians and busi- ness leaders in Hamburg, Germa- ny, that worker anxiety needs to be addressed as employees begin to endure the harsher eff ects of a globalized labour market. "No more brushing aside the concerns of our workers and our citizens," said Trudeau, according to the Canadian Press. "We have to address the root cause of their worries, and get real about how the changing economy is impact- ing people's lives." "When companies post record profi ts on the backs of workers consistently refused full-time work — and the job security that comes with it — people get defeat- ed," he said. "Inequality has made citizens distrust their govern- ments, distrust their employers. It turns into 'us versus them.'" Trudeau also asked that em- ployers refrain from leaving em- ployees "overworked and under- valued," while enabling workers to modernize their skill-sets. Causes of worker unrest Employers simply haven't been paying enough attention to em- ployee concerns, according to Linda Duxbury, a work-life bal- ance expert in Ottawa. WORKER > pg. 9 Rise of racial incidents challenging employers Customer complaints highlight need for training BY MARCEL VANDER WIER ALLEGATIONS of a racist en- counter at Winnipeg's historic Fort Garry Hotel have lawyers urging companies to prepare for the possibility of public racism at their establishments. Winnipeg lawyer Priti Shah, 51, said she was the subject of racist comments from another female patron in February after Shah ap- proached a waitress to discuss an issue with her meal. "She said that I should go back to my own country," said Shah, who was born in Canada. "I was in shock." An apparent "35-minute" delay for the manager to intervene and subsequent "haphazard" investiga- tion did nothing to relieve the ten- sion, nor did the decision by man- agement to request the perpetrator to move tables, she said. While Fort Garry Hotel owner Ida Albo said staff had trouble con- fi rming the story due to "too many inconsistencies," she said the hotel does not have formal confl ict man- agement training in place. The alleged incident isn't an isolated one. In December, an Asian customer at a TD Bank in Toronto was the subject of another customer's racial slur — met by silence from onlookers and bank staff , according to media reports. And a Kansas bar was the scene of a racially motivated shoot- ing in late February, leaving one immigrant dead and another injured. Shah said she chose to go pub- lic about her experience in hopes it can help create a more tolerant society. "We need to fi gure out how to do it better," she said. "A hotel or any business has not only a right but a responsibility to set the tone for a respectful environment, and then create those boundaries around respect." "People need to think about what they're going to do when one of these situations arises. We do need to prepare proactively." Racially charged society Reports of racist incidents have es- calated over recent years, accord- ing to Alan Dutton, national direc- tor of the Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society in Vancouver. "We have more complaints of racist incidents on our website," he said. "In fact, it's to the point where we can't handle the number that we receive." e election campaign of Unit- ed States President Donald Trump served to unleash racist senti- ments in America and Canada, INCIDENTS > pg. 12 B.C. case highlights downsides of probation While popular, clause not recommended by experts BY SARAH DOBSON AS COMMON as they may be, probationary periods just don't make a lot of sense, according to legal experts — an opinion seem- ingly reinforced by a recent deci- sion from the Supreme Court of British Columbia. e case involved a man who was on a six-month probation and was let go after two months. He was given no notice so he sued for wrongful dismissal — and the court agreed, awarding damages that included three months' pay. The case begs the question: Why bother with probation? said Erin Brandt, barrister and solici- tor at Kent Employment Law in Vancouver. "My recommendation is gen- erally not to have a probationary clause at all," she said. "I ask em- ployers 'What's the purpose of including it? Why are you adding additional obligations onto your- self that's making it more diffi cult and more vague?'" In this case, the man was on probation but the fact that his con- tract was silent on his severance rights on dismissal left the em- ployer open to a damages award if it failed to act in good faith in as- sessing whether the man was suit- able for the job, she said. "Putting an employee on proba- tion actually made the employer vulnerable." This case is probably sur- prising to a lot of employers because many are not evaluat- ing for suitability, said Doug MacLeod, principal of Mac- Leod Law Firm in Toronto. " ey don't treat the (new) em- ployee any diff erently than a lon- ger-term employee, so they don't have enhanced supervision or mentoring or any kind of assess- ment process." Background Phuc Ly was hired by the Interior Health Authority (IHA) to be- gin working on Nov. 6, 2014, as a EMPLOYEE > pg. 8