Canadian HR Reporter

August 8, 2016

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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CANADIAN HR REPORTER August 8, 2016 2 NEWS Recent stories posted on Check the website daily for quick news hits from across Canada and around the world. WEB O N T H E ACROSS CANADA Purple hair? Starbucks doesn't care. Coffee chain relaxes employee dress code 'What we want is for our partners to have more individuality behind the apron' ConocoPhillips Canada plans to cut 300 staff Part of global staff realignment Alberta sees 12 per cent jump in May EI recipients Applications soar 70 per cent after Fort McMurray wildfire Canada's economic growth outlook downgraded due to GDP contraction, wildfires Growth projections at 1.4 per cent Adapting easily to change necessary trait to get ahead: CFOs Being motivated to learn, interpersonal skills also important AROUND THE WORLD Fox News chief resigns after sexual harassment claims Receives severance package of US$40 million Style or sexism? Female leaders face focus on appearance Focus on sartorial choices 'trivializes' women leaders: Expert U.S. unemployment applications dip to 253,000 Latest numbers ease worries that employment growth slowing: Report Bill in India allowing children to work for their families attacked by activists Would ban employment of those under 14 Uber driver tells U.K. tribunal he earned less than minimum wage Employment tribunal cases could threaten app's business model: Report Canadian HR Reporter Roundtable: Drug plans — Past, present & future (episode 2) Canadian HR Reporter recently moderated a roundtable, sponsored by Sun Life Financial, that brought together several experts to discuss the challenges of drug plans and provide possible solutions FEATURED VIDEO Termination for allergic reaction puts training gaps in spotlight OHS training critical in industries with high turnover, fast pace BY LIZ BERNIER AN EMPLOYEE at a Saska- toon Urban Planet store was re- cently let go — not because she wanted to quit or because of any performance issues, but because she left during her shift to deal with a life-threatening allergic reaction. Danielle Duperreault had a number of serious allergies but during one of her shifts, she inad- vertently came into contact with pepper powder, to which she was severely allergic. Duperreault began to suffer an allergic reaction and did not have an EpiPen on her as usual. She promptly informed her manager of the situation. "I called a manager upstairs and one came up asking me what was wrong — at that point my airway was already closing. She proceeded to show a tremendous amount of attitude. I did not have an EpiPen on me at the time be- cause mine was expired and I needed to get a prescription for a new one," said Duperreault in a Facebook post. "She told me to go look in my car, then proceeded to wan- der off. Meanwhile, I'm getting fainty and I'm vomiting, I went out to my car and searched for (an EpiPen) but no luck. So I go back into the store, gurgling and clutching my throat while cus- tomers and a few staff around me were freaking out and that same manager stood calmly at the computer, typing away." A co-worker drove Duper- reault to receive emergency medical treatment. While on the way to the hospital, Duperreault said she received a text message from the manager informing her that her employment had been terminated. Knowledge gaps ere is a good chance this man- ager, like many in retail environ- ments, did not spend adequate time being trained around health and safety, said Janet Salopek, partner and senior specialist at HR consultants Salopek and As- sociates in Calgary. "The manager probably just wasn't aware of their responsibil- ity to accommodate and what they need to be doing when employees do get ill or present with issues." Employers need to thoroughly understand their obligations when it comes to employees with a medical condition — even a rela- tively common one such as aller- gies, said Laura Williams, founder and principal of Williams HR Law in Markham, Ont. "When it comes to accom- modation obligations from the employer's standpoint, essentially if the employee can provide some medical justification as to the fact that they're unable to perform work entirely — or they require accommodations to perform work — due to a medical condi- tion, then it is incumbent on the employer to assess the medical (information) that the employee provides to determine what ac- commodations, what modifica- tions to the work are possible," she said. "If an employee — such as in the case of this employee with al- lergies — is overwhelmed with a condition or symptoms and can't complete his or her shift, the em- ployer has to be careful because if the employee can justify the inability to perform work that is related to a medical condition that would fall within the definition of a disability under human rights legislation, then that triggers the employer's obligations." Where a lot of employers mis- step is they don't educate front- line staff on the extent to which the employer will be held to cer- tain requirements under human rights legislation and health and safety legislation, said Williams. When a front-line supervisor or manager encounters a circum- stance where an employee is un- able to complete some work, the manager may sometimes doubt his sincerity. "Sometimes what happens is the manager is suspicious or doesn't take a request or an asser- tion about an illness on a good- faith basis," she said. In some cases, that suspi- cion could be because she has a bias toward an individual employee, said Williams. "ey don't like the employee or they feel that the employee doesn't genuinely embrace per- forming work, so they approach it with bias." But employers are obligated to accept an accommodation need in good faith, she said. "Sometimes what we see is this failure to accept an accommoda- tion need in good faith is where an employer may create some obliga- tions for itself." Environments such as retail, when shifts need to be covered by staff, can put a line manager in a tough position if an employee needs to leave halfway through a shift, said Salopek. "(But) health and safety should always come first. So they're going to be short-staffed that shift, but that's when the manager needs to step in. e manager needs to, first and foremost, make sure the employee is looked after and, sec- ond of all, then chip in and help out that shift — all hands on deck," she said. "But definitely the health and safety of the employees should come first." However, it can be challenging in industries with high turnover to keep managers trained up, said Salopek. "It's so important for our man- agers, for our supervisors, for our people to be properly trained," she said. "e thing is, training is look- ing different nowadays than it did years ago. Training is relevant in the moment — it's shorter bursts. So in retail, where you've got high turnover, basically what you're do- ing is short bursts of training for your managers." One quick, easy and inexpen- sive idea is holding lunch-and- learns, said Salopek. "Pick a topic, do a lunch-and- learn. And health and safety is a really good one," she said. "Pull your managers together — even in retail — and do a little 20-minute talk about health and safety." ere are key topics that need to be covered with employees, particularly managers. "It's about looking out for what's really important to your people," she said. "You can do it cost-effec- tively, it doesn't have to take a lot of time, but you're always teaching your managers." e challenges are quite similar "It's about looking out for what's really important to your people. You can do it cost-effectively, it doesn't have to take a lot of time." CARVE > pg. 6

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