Canadian Employment Law Today

October 30, 2013

Focuses on human resources law from a business perspective, featuring news and cases from the courts, in-depth articles on legal trends and insights from top employment lawyers across Canada.

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CANADIAN EMPLOYMENT LAW TODAY MORE CASES COMPILED BY JEFFREY R. SMITH ...continued from page 1 passing in a narrow aisle in the store. In late March 2009, the customer commented to Garland that he imagined raping her. Garland complained to the owner of the store, Scott Tackaberry. Tackaberry met with the customer — with whom he was friendly — and cautioned him to keep his distance from Garland. He also asked another female coworker about the customer. The customer later testified that he hadn't meant anything malicious and had only tried to joke with Garland, but not in a sexual way. He said Garland didn't appreciate his jokes, so he stopped speaking to her whenever he came in the store. The customer also said he made "teasing and flirty" jokes to the other female employee in the store, who seemed to understand the spirit of the jokes. However, Garland claimed the customer continued to sexually harass her and she told Tackaberry about it "once every four or five weeks." Tackaberry claimed she said nothing to him, though a male employee testified he had repeated Garland's concerns about the customer to him. On May 8, 2010, Garland and Tackaberry had a loud argument. According to Garland, it was about her employer's lack of action in dealing with the harassment. According to Tackaberry, it was about changes to the work schedule. Following the argument, Garland's employment was terminated and she was given two weeks' wages in lieu of notice. In October 2010, Garland filed a human rights complaint. The commission didn't hold much weight to the customer's claims he merely joked with Garland, as he acknowledged he made teasing and flirty jokes with her co-worker, so it was likely he did so with Garland as well. Additionally, the commission found it unlikely the customer didn't speak to Garland after her complaint to Tackaberry, since he was a regular and had to deal with her to make purchases. Since the commission accepted Garland's account along with the testimony of her co-workers, it found it was likely she reported the continued harassment and Tackaberry didn't do anything further about it. It was also not possible Tackaberry might reasonably have thought his discussion with the customer had resolved the problem when he should have known the harassment was continuing. This violated the Manitoba Human Rights Code by failing to live up to the employer's obligation to end harassment in the workplace, said the commission. The commission ordered Tackaberry to pay Garland $7,500 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect and attend a workshop on harassment in the workplace. It denied Garland's claim for an additional four weeks' wages, as the two weeks' wages she was paid was in accordance with employment standards legislation and there was no evidence she suffered any loss as a result of the termination. See Garland and Tackaberry, Re, 2013 CarswellMan 435 (Man. Human Rights Comm.). CELT Unpaid internships cut workforce ...continued from page 7 "Increasingly, what we're seeing is people going to the media or going onto social media," he said. "Beyond the legal ramifications, increasingly there is a reputational cost to having unpaid internships." Moving forward Career Edge, a Toronto-based notfor-profit with about 20 employees — including four paid interns — has helped match close to 12,000 people with paid internships in the public and private sector since it was founded in 1996. It deals with more than 1,000 employers that find paid internships to be a costeffective talent solution, said Naguib Gouda, the organization's president. "There are countless advantages," he said, citing reputation and ethics, socio-economic responsibility, motivation and retention as only a few. "It's helpful to the bottom line of the employers in that it is a really costeffective and low-risk way of hiring and finding good talent," he said. And compensation is still a factor when it comes to getting the best work out of employees. "If workers don't feel that they're getting compensated fairly for the work they do, they may not be giving you 100 per cent," said Gouda. "So you get what you pay for." Employers that don't pay interns may be excluding some excellent talent who just can't afford to work for free, he said. "Many people simply can't afford to accept a job without pay," said Gouda. "This is a concerning thought because it means that unpaid intern- ships cut a significant population out of the workforce. One way of looking at it is that organizations could be systematically filtering out some dedicated, hard-working candidates who have to financially support themselves." To remain a responsible, reputable and ethical business, creating accessible and fair internship programs is absolutely essential, he said. "The practice of unpaid internships has been common among Canadian businesses for decades, and especially when (employers) are faced with unpredictable economic climates," said Gouda. "(But) economic uncertainty can never be an excuse for the unjust employment of young people … really, this shouldn't even be a debate." CELT Liz Bernier is a news editor with Canadian HR Reporter. Published by Canadian HR Reporter, a Thomson Reuters business 2013 11

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