Canadian HR Reporter

January 13, 2014

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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INSIDE KEEP THOSE RECORDS Worker tries to get pension payments — after 30 years page 3 LOOKING BACK AT 2013 Marissa Mayer's work-at-home ban, HMV's tweet and Alberta's historic floods 'ROCKY' RELATIONSHIP How Calgary equipment maker chose its new HR technology page 7 page 10 TOUGHEST HR QUESTION Employee plays disability card after being terminated page 15 January 13, 2014 Interns, foreign workers may get more protection Is board gender parity a pipe dream? Ontario could expand rights under OHSA, employment standards BY LIZ BERNIER ers get paid for the work that they have done, and give businesses that play by the rules a competitive advantage." The bill includes an amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that would change the definition of "worker" to include interns and co-op students. It also includes changes for temporary foreign workers and workers who find employment through temp agencies. As of press time, the bill had passed first reading in the provin- NEW > pg. 6 BY SARAH DOBSON END OF AN ERA PHOTO: CHRIS WATTIE (REUTERS) The year ended with plenty of employment news — some good, some bad. Canada Post announced plans to end door-to-door delivery in the next five years, resulting in the loss of 8,000 jobs. And a Kellogg's plant in London, Ont., said it was closing, with a loss of 500 jobs. On the plus side, though, Cisco announced plans to hire 4,000 workers in Ontario and the Ford Motor Company announced its most aggressive expansion plan in 50 years. So there is reason for optimism. 'Flexibility stigma' hampering work-life balance programs: Expert Flexible work arrangements carry hidden — and overt — career penalties BY LIZ BERNIER IN THEORY, it seems like a great option: Workplace flexibility policies create better work-life balance, allowing employees more control over their time. But, in reality, flex options are not as widely used as one might expect. "We thought that once these (flexibility programs) were introduced, there would be a flood of people wanting to adopt these kinds of schedules," said Joan Williams, founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. But that flood of people never came, for one simple reason: There often is a not-so-subtle stigma attached to using flexibility programs, said Williams. "I hear all the time that the rea- son people don't adopt flexible work arrangements is that they're worried about the stigma," she said. That "flexibility stigma" — a term Williams coined to describe the trend — can result in career penalties, such as being passed over for promotion, and reputational penalties in regards to the way an employee is viewed by coworkers and supervisors. While these penalties can be subtle, they are often pretty blatant — particularly for men, she said. "It is very overt," said Williams. "We hear all the time, 'Oh, bias is now subtle.' Well, it just isn't true. Not this kind of bias — this kind of bias is often really overt." Studies on the issue have consistently shown employees fear the stigma and penalties they associate with flex arrangements, according to Stephen Sweet, visiting fellow at the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. "If you actually avail yourself of using flexibility, the job erodes to being the less rewarding tasks and more of the housekeeping tasks — the work that has to be done rather than the discretionary work that many employees find fulfilling," he said. "(So) employees oftentimes censor themselves from asking for flexible work. Sometimes it's because the culture within the organization sends a very clear message that using flexibility is going to be penalized, or that it's just not what people do." In many cases, that fear of being penalized is well-founded, said Williams, who organized researchers to study the issue. They found there are prevalent negative attitudes toward workers with flexible arrangements. "There is a very serious stigma for men as well as women," she said. "In both cases, it's very strong and, in both cases, the flexibility stigma is a form of gender bias." WHEN THE BOARD of directors at Intact Financial opened a search for a talented new member, it easily found Janet Da Silva. She was among several candidates listed on Diversity 50, a collection of board-ready candidates who are women, minorities and Aboriginal Peoples, compiled by the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC). Intact has used the list in looking for specific competencies that match the needs of its board, now and in the future, said Claude Dussault, chairman of Intact's board and president of ACVA Investing in Quebec City. "It has been really of help because of the current environment where the natural network, especially at the board level, is built on the base of males," he said. "If you look at the education system, who's coming out of universities, it's certainly not restricted to one category. But within organizations, we need to find ways of adapting to that and be more creative in finding the best talent available." Gender discrimination The stigma and penalties associated with flexible work actually stem from systemically entrenched stereotypes about gender roles, according to Williams. For women, the stigma is tied to workplace attitudes around motherhood. "Adopting a flexible work arrangement makes people focus on the fact that you're a mother who is limiting her hours because of motherhood. And so the flexibility stigma is very strong for women Representation creeping higher The percentage of women on FP500 boards is creeping up very slowly — even backtracking at times — going from 10.9 per cent in 2001, 12.9 per cent in 2007, 14.6 per cent in 2011 and 14.4 per cent in 2012 to, most recently, 15.6 per cent in 2013, according to the CBDC's annual report card. If the current rate of change stays the same, at 4.7 percentage points over 12 years, gender parity (48.5 per cent) will not be achieved until roughly 2097, it said. "The pool of diverse board candidates is large and only growing, MANAGERS > pg. 2 QUOTAS > pg. 2 PM40065782 RO9496 INTERNS, COOP students and temporary foreign workers in Ontario could soon have more of the same legislative protections afforded to regular workers in the province. In December, Minister of Labour Yasir Naqvi tabled the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, which amends five existing statues to incorporate better protections for unpaid and precarious workers. "The mark of any compassionate society is to protect the vulnerable workers," said Naqvi. "What we want to do is ensure that work-

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