Legal Words

Recent ruling on harassment by the Ontario Superior Court is a wakeup call for employers

By Donna Marshall, M.A.

Employers in Ontario are at greater risk of litigation from employees who have been harassed in their workplace. Referred to as the “tort of harassment” and “harassment as an independent cause of action,” the Superior Court ruling makes it easier for employees to sue their employer for damages resulting from harassment.

Unifor delivered message at a Hamilton hearing on Bill 148 Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act that income inequality and the dramatic rise in insecure work must end.

"The current low-wage, part-time and contract-to-contract job market has led to a grim reality of precarious work and inequality," said Unifor Ontario regional director Naureen Rizvi. "Bill 148 takes important steps to address the gaps that characterizes so much of today's workplace but the legislation needs to go further to protect Ontario workers."

On behalf of its more than 160,000 Ontario members, Unifor also organized members to speak at hearings around the province in Thunder Bay, North Bay, Ottawa, Kingston, Windsor, London and Niagara. Today the union submitted its written recommendations on Bill 148 to the Standing Committee of Finance and Economic Affairs urging the government to adopt some meaningful improvements to the legislation to fully achieve fairness.

Unifor's key recommendations include:

  • Extending card-based certification to all sectors: the example of retail
  • Extending successorship rights to all contracted services: the example of school bus services
  • Extending broader based collective bargaining structures
  • Establishing a designated paid leave for survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence
  • Protecting injured workers from unintended consequences of higher minimum wages

Read Unifor's full submission to the Standing Committee of Finance and Economic Affairs at www.unifor.org/bill148

"Unifor is calling on the government to ensure that the Fair Workplace, Better Jobs Act truly raises the floor for all Ontario workers and creates lasting conditions for decent work and that starts with the implementation of a $15 minimum wage," said Rizvi. "Let this be an important moment in Ontario's history."

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights; fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad; and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Words of warning

By Ruben R. Goulart and Sreya Roy

Providing a reference to a past or present employee is often a balancing act. On one hand, providing a reference or recommendation can significantly assist a departing employee in their search for new employment, as the employer benefits from the past employee’s mitigation efforts. Further, in wrongful dismissal actions, a court may award additional damages against an employer if it finds that the employer refused to provide a reference to an employee deserving of one.

What does HR have to do with customer experience? More than you may think.

By Karen Stone, CHRE

We know that the role of human resources includes stewarding effective recruitment functions, professional career development and performance management programs within the workplace.

And yet many of us may not often consider HR’s contribution and impact on the day-to-day experience of the clients, customers and business partners in workplaces.

An expensive roller coaster ride for employers –  and an action plan

By George Vassos

This has been a roller coaster ride like no other for HR professionals.

The ride started in May 2015 when the Ontario government appointed two special advisors to conduct the “Changing Workplaces Review.” The top of the ride came two years later on May 23, 2017, when the special advisors issued their extensive final report (and a summary report) with 173 recommendations

Employers need to be prepared in order to come out on top

By Michael Mazzuca

It’s sometimes said that mediation has no winners. It’s not true. Mediation is rarely all or nothing, but that doesn’t mean that one side doesn’t win. How do you “win” a mediation? As with many things in life, winning at mediation comes from doing your homework. By following the five key steps below, HR professionals can win before they even set foot in the mediation room.