Canadian HR Reporter

October 2019 CAN

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.

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THE NATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT October 2019 PM41261516 SHOULD PEOPLE TALK POLITICS AT WORK? Google's clampdown on 'disruptive' conversations and federal election put issue in spotlight BY JOHN DUJAY G oogle recently warned employees to cease all political talk while on the job due to its "disruptive" nature. e move was a sur- prising deviation for a company that formerly trum- peted its open and frank workplace culture. In updating the company's "community guide- lines," CEO Sundar Pichai urged employees to "do the work" and "not to spend working time on de- bates about non-work topics," according to Vox. com, which received a copy of the email. "While sharing information and ideas with col- leagues helps build community, disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story does not," wrote Pichai. With a federal election in Canada, and a contro- versial leader in the U.S., should workers be discour- aged from discussing politics openly at work? Polarizing politics While the issue of political discussions in Canadian workplaces hasn't been a big concern in the past, events south of the border have intensified in recent years, says Laura Williams, founder and principal of Williams HR Law Professional and Williams HR Consulting in Markham, Ont. "ere have been cases that we've been engaged in discussions, for example, on [President Donald] Trump [that] have led to escalations and policies that indirectly affects us," says Williams. "But that is something that employers should be vigilant [about], because they do happen and they do create not only culturally derailing types of incidents that can escalate but also they create legal exposures." Employers should think about how they can re- inforce what's appropriate when it comes to dis- cussions, including political discussions within the workplace, she says. "It's wise for employers to use perhaps the real- ity of an election being on the horizon as a time Credit: Bing Wen (Shutterstock) SENIOR > pg. 8 STAY UP TO DATE, AND OUT OF COURT. Defining a 'dependent' contractor Ontario court further clarifies characterization Pg. 3 Banning tattoos at work Canadian military's recent move puts spotlight on human rights Pg. 6 Conservative leader Andrew Scheer speaks in Ottawa on Aug. 21 Sexual harassment linked to declines in profitability Employers with higher 'scores' see lower future stock returns: study BY SARAH DOBSON WHILE THE negative impacts of sexual harassment have become well known in recent years — rang- ing from lower productivity and morale to increased legal costs and absenteeism — establishing a di- rect connection to the bottom line should provide further impetus for employers to act. at's according to a recent study that found firms in the United States with greater incidence of sexual ha- rassment see lower future stock returns. In looking at the years 2011 to 2017, the Canadian researchers found that employers with higher "scores" of sexual harassment saw an annual shareholder value loss rang- ing from US$1 billion to $2.4 billion. ey also found these companies were associated with sharp declines in operating profitability and in- creases in labour costs. "We wanted to show that if you were a CEO of a firm, and you were just a profit-maximizing son of a bitch, would you care about this? So, we basically wanted to show to those people that 'Yes, you should care about this, because allowing this rot in your company means that it's going to hurt you, in terms of stock returns, profitability and labour ex- penses — it's very expensive, very costly to allow this stuff to continue,'" says Shiu-Yik Au, assistant professor in the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba in Win- nipeg and co-author of the study Me Too: Does Workplace Sexual Harass- ment Hurt Firm Value? "Respecting people and making money go hand in hand — this is not something where it's in opposition. It's not a cost centre; it's an invest- ment into your company's future." If there's any takeaway from the #MeToo movement, it's that sexual harassment is pervasive — much more than was initially thought, says Andréanne Tremblay, assistant professor in the department of fi- nance, insurance and real estate at HR > pg. 10 Putting people first A successful restructuring is about managing the process so it's dignified and respectful Pg. 25 Focus on mental health Plan sponsors need to consider generational preferences in designing wellness programs Pg. 21

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