Canadian HR Reporter

May 19, 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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PM40065782 RO9496 May 19, 2014 INSIDE READING BETWEEN THE LINES With the advent of e-reading and online retailing, Indigo's strategy had to evolve quickly to keep up Changing roles 6-month notice of resignation upheld for BlackBerry exec page 5 Calculating HR 4 CEOs discuss the HR metrics they count on page 11 Tough answers What do you do when a star performer is a bit of a jerk? page 19 page page 8 CANADA'S MOST ATTRACTIVE EMPLOYER Credit: Todd Korol (Reuters) WestJet has created a culture where people are empowered, respected and valued, according to Gregg Saretsky, president and CEO. "We have a dedicated department devoted to upholding our model of employee engagement in addition to profit-share, flexible work hours and, in some cases, the ability to work from home. The model may be simple but it isn't easy, it is just the right thing to do." WestJet was given the Randstad Award for Canada's most attractive employer for the third year in a row. Poor HR Poor HR practices under practices under microscope microscope Ombudsman report details fl awed Ombudsman report details fl awed recruitment, promotions and comp recruitment, promotions and comp practices at Toronto Community Housing practices at Toronto Community Housing BY SARAH DOBSON A SCATHING report from the City of Toronto's Office of the Ombudsman looking at Toronto Community Housing (TCH) has led to the departure of its CEO and vice-president of HR — and pressing concerns about its HR practices. e report followed an investi- gation that began in August 2013 after the ombudsman received complaints from former and cur- rent TCH employees, ranging from improper hiring and pro- motions to irregular compensa- tion and unfair terminations. In the end, "it is an alarming tale of senior executives ignoring policy CHAOS > pg. 2 Quitting for money Quitting for money Pay-to-quit schemes off ered by some U.S. Pay-to-quit schemes off ered by some U.S. fi rms may not be practical in Canada fi rms may not be practical in Canada BY SARAH DOBSON WOULD YOU off er your employ- ees money to quit? Every year, staff could have the option of taking a lump sum payment and leaving the company. It's an intriguing idea, one that Amazon and Zappos in the Unit- ed States have embraced. Zappos off ers new hires $2,000 to quit — though less than two per cent of its employees have accepted the off er. "We really want everyone at Zappos to be here because they want to be and because they be- lieve in the culture. If they know they don't quite mesh with our culture, we don't want them to feel stuck here, so we give them an option," said the Zappos website. And Amazon, which acquired Zappos in 2009, has followed suit. Its Pay to Quit program, for Ama- zon fulfi llment centre employees in North America, off ers employ- ees $2,000 to start and up to $1,000 per year, until $5,000 is reached. And, again, only a small percent- age of workers participate. " e headline on the off er is 'Please Don't Take is Off er.' We hope they don't take the off er; we want them to stay," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, in a letter to shareholders. " e goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long run, an employee staying some- where they don't want to be isn't healthy for the employee or the company." It might sound simple, but there are a few hitches when it comes to Canada. For example, if an em- ployee quits his job, he is unlikely to receive employment insurance (EI) benefi ts. So any worker who takes his employer up on the of- fer forfeits that security — unless he conveniently has another job lined up. ere's also the possibility an employee could later claim she re- signed under duress, according to Claudine Kapel, principal of Kapel and Associates, a Toronto-based HR and communications consult- ing fi rm. " ere are some complexities and because of the whole EI eligi- bility, there is the possibility that there might not be a big uptake from the employee side, as well as some risks from employment standards and human rights and whatnot on the employer side, that might make such a program not necessarily as readily appealing than might be the case in the U.S." If, somehow, the off er was treat- ed as a layoff , with a $5,000 payoff , there are all kinds of legislative considerations in terms of notice and severance that could yield the employee a bigger dollar value than the payout, she said. " e theory would be if they could quit on their own, it would save you the aggravation of hav- ing to deal with a disgruntled em- ployee and, potentially, save you money because you wouldn't have to sever them and pay severance and all those kinds of things, so it's kind of like an avoidance strategy for some of those other types of interventions." GIVES > pg. 16 New policy shields New policy shields transgender rights transgender rights OHRC gender identity policy OHRC gender identity policy provides guidelines, best practices provides guidelines, best practices BY LIZ BERNIER THEY'RE AMONG the most marginalized groups in society, routinely facing harassment, dis- crimination and even violence. But individuals who identify as "trans" or have diverse gender identities are explicitly protected under On- tario's human rights legislation, according to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), which released a new policy on gender identity. In 2012, all three parties in the Ontario legislature co-sponsored Toby's Act, a bill that explicitly added "gender identity" and "gen- der expression" to the protected grounds of discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code. "Before, we had read it into the ground of sex — but it wasn't men- tioned itself, and so many trans people didn't know they were protected by the code, and many others who had responsibility vis- à-vis gender identity issues weren't aware of their responsibility," said Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of the OHRC in Toronto. Last month, the OHRC's gender identity policy was revised partly as a response to that, said Hall. e new policy helps further protect the rights of trans individuals, and revises and updates the OHRC's initial policy around gender iden- tity, which was written in 2000. "Issues related to gender identi- ty are not well-known throughout society. Many people don't know what's being referred to when you talk about gender identity, gender expression — they don't know the language to use in discussing the issue," said Hall. "So the policy partially gives that sort of assistance to people, and then goes on to provide best practices and how-to advice for people that are dealing with the various issues that come up in the context of transgender people." EDUCATION > pg. 3

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