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Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility & Legal

Marijuana and the Workplace: You Can’t Necessarily “Smoke ’em if you got ’em”

Marijuana and the Workplace

On the auspicious date of April 20, 2017, otherwise known as 4/20 or the high holiday of marijuana culture, Verity hosted a sober but engaging presentation: “Up in Smoke: The New Era of Workplace Drug Management”.

Lawyers Shana French and Ashley B. Brown from Sherrard Kuzz LLP, a leading employment and labour law firm exclusively representing management, discussed the implications for employers of the proposed decriminalization of recreational marijuana use and the already legal use of marijuana for medical purposes.  While the focus was on marijuana, the discussion encompassed and was informed by best practices relating to alcohol and drugs generally. Continue Reading

Not-so-Private – Employees in the Wired World

Employees in the Wired World

 

One of the most striking ways in which modern communication technology has changed the world, including the workplace, has to do with the blurring of distinctions between public and private life. The Internet, social media, email, texts, and cellphone cameras have come together to create fertile soil for a broad-scale social experiment in which it sometimes seems that there is no thought or deed which is not recorded, stored, and often shared.

The Internet can be a virtual paper trail, exposing employees doing things “on their own time” in a way that can end their present employment or potentially their entire career. Continue Reading

Controlling Excessive Work-Related Communication

Controlling Excessive Work Communication

Highly skilled office workers spend an alarming portion of their work week managing email and other digital communications. Moreover, they spend a substantial amount of time trying to get “back on task” after dealing with countless electronic and personal interruptions throughout each work day. But they cannot escape by simply leaving the workplace. Digital communications follow people wherever they go, from morning to night, meaning that many employees – whether by necessity or by choice – are never disconnected. Continue Reading

CANADIAN TERMINATION & SEVERANCE PRACTICES – PART 2

In our previous blog, we discussed a survey by VF Career Management on Termination & Severance Practices In Canada (2016), which was presented at an event hosted by Verity on September 30, 2016.

In this blog, we will discuss another presentation from that event by guest Speaker Madeleine Loewenberg, co-founder of Loewenberg Psarris Workplace Law LLP.  Madeleine reviewed some of the statutory and case law in Ontario regarding notice of termination and severance pay.  In the process, she also responded to questions from the attendees which reflected specific real-world concerns.  The following are only selected points from Madeleine’s well-considered review of the law. Continue Reading

Termination & Severance Practices In Canada: Part 1

While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence about how organizations deal with issues of termination and severance, VF Career Management, Verity’s national partnership, has gone one step further by gathering survey data from over 270 Canadian organizations of varying sizes and involved in all industries: Termination & Severance Practices In Canada (2016).

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Trends in Employment Termination as Presented by John Carruthers

While there are basic legal principles that apply to employee termination, the law does not remain static as it is continually being reinterpreted by the courts.

This reality was made clear to those who attended a presentation by John Carruthers which was hosted by Verity this past May: “Remember the Bear: Five New Traps to Avoid in an Employment Termination”. John is a lawyer with Cattanach Hindson Sutton VanVeldhuzen LLP. His practice focuses on litigation, dispute resolution and dispute prevention. Continue Reading

Six Practical Steps to Avoid Workplace Age Discrimination (Part 2)

In the previous blog on how to show good judgement by preventing age discrimination in the workplace, these three tips were covered: (1) define age discrimination, develop a policy and distribute it to all employees; (2) emphasize your policy’s importance by having senior leaders facilitate training sessions; and (3) nurture a culture of non-discrimination, support and mutual respect. We continue with a few more tips. Continue Reading

Six Practical Steps to Avoid Age Discrimination in the Workplace (Part 1)

 

The word “discrimination” has what seems like conflicting definitions.  It can mean the unjust or prejudicial treatment of people on grounds such as their age.  But it can also mean having the ability to exercise good judgement and taste.  If one considers that engaging in discrimination based on older age reflects both prejudicial treatment and bad judgement, then the definitions can be easily reconciled.

The following are three practical tips on showing good judgement by preventing age discrimination in the workplace.  A few more suggestions will be addressed in the next blog.  More detailed discussions regarding legislative and regulatory requirements are left for another time (though the tips will help to meet such obligations).

The aim is to enhance everyone’s experience in the workplace.  The increase in the average age of the overall workforce makes age discrimination a critical issue for most organizations.  Since aging is inevitable, younger employees also have a stake in the matter.  Young workers may also have parents or other people in their life who are dealing with getting older while still working.  (The issue of discrimination based on youth, while possibly less of a problem in the workplace, is something that may be considered in a future article). Continue Reading

Succession Planning and Transparency (Part 2) — Why You Should Inform Employees of Their Part

The first part of this series examined some reasons why organizations might not want to let employees know about their part in a succession plan, but it also discussed how the potential negative consequences of disclosure can be avoided or lessened.  This installment will examine the reasons for telling employees about their part in a succession plan. Continue Reading

Succession Plan Transparency (Part 1) — Why Not To Inform Employees of Their Part

Organizations tend not to disclose details of their succession plans or inform individual employees that they may be chosen to take on critical roles in the future.  The discussion below examines a number of reasons why organizations elect not to inform candidates about their part in the succession plan.  However, the discussion also touches on how the potential negative consequences of disclosure can be avoided or lessened.

A subsequent installment, “Succession Plan Transparency (Part 2): Why You Should Inform Employees of Their Part”, will examine the reasons why companies should tell employees about their part in the succession plan. Continue Reading

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