Canadian HR Reporter

March 20, 2017

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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Page 17 of 19

CANADIAN HR REPORTER March 20, 2017 18 INSIGHT QUITE THE RIDE THE PAS, MAN. — Looking to transport prisoners securely — and with the greatest of ease —the RCMP in northern Manitoba is trying out a new mode of trans- port. Large egg-shaped "pods," which look like child carriers pulled behind bikes, are now be- ing pulled by police on ATVs. e pods feature a heated seat and a fl ashing red light on top, according to the CBC, along with four tires that can be switched out for skis. "We're able to help people that are, you know, off the beaten trail, so to speak," said the Pas RCMP Sgt. Brent Mattice. e pods are to be used at remote crime scenes and during rescue missions, and are similar to "snowbulances" used by paramedics in the area. A SIZEABLE SWINDLE SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Em- ployee theft is always a concern, but digital technologies fi rm ABB was hit particularly hard recently when one of its South Korean employees went missing — along with $100 million, according to CNN. The 132,000-employee company — with 800 in South Korea — said it "uncovered a so- phisticated criminal scheme," but only noticed the huge sum was gone after the employee disap- peared. e worker is suspected of forging documents and work- ing with outsiders to make the theft. He is believed to have fl ed to Hong Kong and police are working with Interpol to bring him back to South Korea. e Swedish-Swiss corporation expects to take a pre- tax hit of $100 million on its 2016 results because of the theft. ABB reported net profi t of nearly $2 bil- lion last year on revenue of about $34 billion. 'OOPS. NO REALLY, OOPS' VILLOGNON, FRANCE — Talk about an embarrassing mistake. A sharpshooter in France set off his gun by accident during a recent speech by the country's president — resulting in two people being shot, according to the Daily Mail. François Hollande was speaking in Villognon when the weapon went off . e soldier managed to injure two civilians — a waiter and a railway worker — when the safety catch on his gun failed. Despite the gunfi re, the president only paused, looked over to the area involved, and then continued his speech, saying, "'I hope every- thing is all right." 'OOPS. NO REALLY, OOPS' (TAKE 2) SEATTLE, WASH. — We all do it. Rushing to get an email or document done, we send it out, not realizing there's a typo. But one such misstep by an Amazon employee caused considerable damage recently — a massive cloud- computing outage, to be exact, that caused problems for thousands of websites and apps, according to the Telegraph. During a routine debugging of its billing system, an incorrectly typed command or "fat-finger typo" occurred, leading to a fi ve-hour outage of some Amazon web services. "An authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process. Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended," said Amazon. As a result, the company said it was making changes to prevent a similar incident. "We want to apologize for the impact this event caused for our customers… We will do everything we can to learn from this event and use it to improve our availability even further." W EIRD ORKPLACE THE Vol. 30 No. 5 – March 20, 2017 PUBLISHED BY Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd. One Corporate Plaza 2075 Kennedy Rd. Toronto, ON M1T 3V4 ©Copyright 2017 by Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd. All rights reserved. CANADIAN HR REPORTER is published 21 times a year. Publications Mail – Agreement # 40065782 Registration # 9496 – ISSN 0838-228X Director, Media Solutions, Canada: Karen Lorimer - (416) 649-9411 EDITORIAL Publisher/Editor in Chief: Todd Humber - (416) 298-5196 Editor/Supervisor: Sarah Dobson - (416) 649-7896 News Editor Marcel Vander Wier - (416) 649-7837 Employment Law Editor: Jeffrey R. Smith - (416) 649-7881 Labour Relations News Editor: John Dujay - (416) 298-5129 Web/IT Co-ordinator: Mina Patel - (416) 649-7879 ADVERTISING Sales Manager: Paul Burton - (416) 649-9928 Production Co-ordinator: Pamela Menezes - (416) 649-9298 MARKETING AND CIRCULATION Marketing & Audience Development Manager: Robert Symes - (416) 649-9551 Marketing Co-ordinator: Keith Fulford - (416) 649-9585 PRODUCTION Manager, Media Production: Lisa Drummond - (416) 649-9415 Art Director: Dave Escuadro SUBSCRIPTIONS Annual subscription: $175 (plus GST) GST#: 897 176 350 RT To subscribe, call one of the customer service numbers listed below or visit Address changes and returns: Send changes and undeliverable Canadian addresses to: SUBSCRIBER SERVICES Canadian HR Reporter One Corporate Plaza 2075 Kennedy Rd. Toronto, ON M1T 3V4 CUSTOMER SERVICE Call: (416) 609-3800 (Toronto) (800) 387-5164 (outside Toronto) Fax: (416) 298-5082 (Toronto) (877) 750-9041 (outside Toronto) Email: customersupport. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CHRR reserves the right to edit for length and clarity. Todd Humber EDiTOR'S NOTeS Three stories all touch on respect T here's a theme to the stories on the cover of this issue, and it all boils down to one word: Respect. As employers, we need to give respect to staff . As businesses, we need to ensure customers receive it and return the favour — not just to staff , but to all the other cus- tomers as well. Not to tar every- one with the same brush, but we seem to be heading down a road where respect for individuals is becoming murky or downright disappearing. Ugly is the only word that can describe what happened at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, when lawyer Priti Shah was al- legedly told to "Go back to your country" by another customer. While news editor Marcel Vander Wier couldn't confi rm the exact details of what happened for his article — there are always two sides — it does raise the issue of how employees, both front-line and management, need to react when customer confl ict erupts. is isn't a pithy conversation. In February, three people were shot at a restaurant in Kansas by a man who allegedly yelled "Get of my country." He yelled racial slurs at Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, both 32-year-old engi- neers originally from India who worked for Garmin, the tech fi rm best known for GPS devices. Customers and staff asked the perpetrator, 51-year-old Adam Purinton, to leave. He did — but then allegedly returned and opened fi re, killing Kuchibhotla and injuring Madasani along with a Good Samaritan who tried to intervene. Do you think this is only a Trump-era American problem? One need look no further than Quebec City and the mass shoot- ing at a mosque that killed six and wounded 19 others in January. Alan Dutton, national direc- tor of the Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society in Vancouver, told Canadian HR Reporter that recent rhetoric had emboldened hate-mongers. e society's website has seen a spike in complaints about racism to the point where they can't handle the number, he said. is is all spilling over into your workplaces — among employees, and customers. HR needs to take charge and ensure formal con- fl ict management policies are in place. Don't beat yourself up over not having one yet — many fi rms don't. ey're not a cure-all, but can go a long way in preventing an incident from escalating into unfortunate or violent situations. Worker anxiety over unsecure work e second bullet point from this issue's cover is Prime Minister Jus- tin Trudeau's call for real action on the changing economy and the toll it is taking on workers. He chided an era that sees companies making record profi ts while at the same time refusing to create full-time jobs, relying in- stead on a contingent workforce to push balance sheets even high- er into the black. Mallika Banerjee, an academic at Montreal's McGill University, argues that employee uncertainty has given rise to populist move- ments across Great Britain (see Brexit) and the United States (see Donald Trump.) If you're not sure where your next paycheque is coming from or can't land secure employment, it's not out of the realm for protectionist sentiments to come to the forefront: "If I can't get a job, if my kids can't fi nd work, why are we letting anyone else in?" We know employers aren't generally altruistic, nor should we expect them to be — corpora- tions exist to make a profi t. What we have to show, and we have the numbers and metrics to do it, is that the best long-term strategy is to hire, retain and train the best workers. In short, respect your workforce and you'll be rewarded in spades. It's HR 101 to people in the know, but there's still a lot of education to be done. Probationary periods e third cover story looks at pro- bationary periods for new hires in the light of a recent court ruling in British Columbia. A worker on a six-month probation, let go after two months, was awarded three months' pay. e average HR pro- fessional — or person on the street for that matter — would fi nd that to be a bit of a head-scratcher. Isn't the entire point of a probationary period so employers can evaluate the worker and turn her loose if it doesn't work out? Apparently, courts don't see it that way. And the logic is pretty sound. If you're taking a worker's right to notice of termination away, you're introducing an obli- gation to ensure you act in good faith in evaluating her suitability for the job. And if the contract doesn't specify a notice period if dismissal happens during proba- tion — and most don't — then it's up to the judge to sort it out. It begs the question: Why do employers bother? And the an- swer is simple: ey shouldn't. Instead, use an enforceable em- ployment contract with defi ned notice periods that adhere to em- ployment standards legislation. It's cleaner. Plus, you've done your due diligence in the hiring process and this new worker has made a commitment to the organization — why spoil all that with a poten- tially unenforceable clause? ere are few sacred cows in this world, and the probationary period isn't one of them. Fire it, for cause, without notice. TENNIS, ANYONE? NAPLES, ITALY — What employee wouldn't like to play hooky, skipping out on work to enjoy some much-needed rest or hang out with friends? Well, employees at an Italian hospital in Naples may have taken the concept a bit too far — one supervisor at the Loreto Mare hospital was found working as a chef at a hotel, while an on-duty doctor was seen playing tennis and going shopping. Two health workers were caught clocking in 20 colleagues to make it look like they were on the job each day. In total, 94 workers have been placed un- der investigation of suspicion of repeatedly skipping work, accord- ing to Reuters, with 55 placed under house arrest. Public sector workers caught skipping work can be immediately suspended in Italy as part of the government's recent eff orts to cut down on the behaviour. Credit:Pavel Fiadkevich (Shutterstock)

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