Workplace Organization & Direction

We rarely think about emergencies before they arrive on our doorstep. Yet, the recent civil unrest in Baltimore has presented another eye-opening reminder that no one can predict how or when an emergency might strike. While it might come as a fire or a flood – rather than a riot – it’s clear that when an unexpected crisis arises, it may take a toll on business. But don’t panic. Remain calm. There is one helpful thing that every employer can do; have a plan.

Few people can think clearly and logically during a crisis, so it is important to prepare thoroughly in advance. While no amount of preparation can eliminate all the risks, careful and meticulous planning will undoubtedly limit the costs of inevitable emergencies, save money in the long run and help get the business back to prospering.
Continue Reading Before Disaster Strikes: Planning for the Worst Instead of Hoping for the Best

It could be a blizzard, a hurricane or a torrential downpour. The fact of the matter is that Mother Nature can, and will, strike; and, no matter what form it comes in, severe weather imposes challenges upon businesses of all sizes. When faced with issues like slippery or flooded roads, it can be tough to balance the needs of a business with the safety of its employees.

We often get questions from employers who are staring into the face of the proverbial tornado and trying to understand their rights and obligations. This blog will address four of the most commonly asked questions.
Continue Reading Weather Permitting? Employer Rights When Faced With Severe Weather

Food & Agribusiness Labour Issues in 2015 & Beyond

Date: March 18, 2015 |  Time: 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST

Labour, employment and immigration topics continue to be hot button issues for companies operating in the food and agribusiness space. To help navigate recent changes, Baker & McKenzie’s top employment lawyers will discuss the following topics during our webinar on Wednesday, March 18, 2015:

  • New NLRB election rules
  • Managing the new era of social media and email
  • Union organizing of fast food workers
  • International Framework Agreements
  • Immigration regulations


Continue Reading Webinar: Food & Agribusiness Labour Issues in 2015

(Canadian businesses with U.S. & international operations should consider this webinar, hosted by our colleagues in Palo Alto, California and Munich, Germany.)

More and more employers are adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs as a cost-effective way to provide their workforces with the most up-to-date smartphones, tablets and laptops. As recent headlines show, these programs can open the doors to substantial data privacy risks and security breaches, as the use of personal devices for business further blurs the lines between work and private activities. What measures should employers take now to minimize these risks?
Continue Reading Webinar: Do You Know Where Your Data Is? BYOD, Social Media, and Other Workplace Tech Developments

Our regular readers will recall our previous posts (here and here) on upcoming changes to the Employment Standards Act.  On February 20, 2015, some of these changes will be coming into effect:

  • There will no longer be a limit on the amount that can be ordered for unpaid wages due to an

Introduction

An employee’s use of intoxicants, like marijuana, can adversely affect the work environment by:

  • compromising the ability of employees to perform their job duties;
  • threatening the health and safety of the employee and his or her co-workers; and
  • undermining the employer’s reputation.

It is no surprise, then, that employees who are found to be under the influence at work often face discipline.

Yet, the rise of marijuana as a treatment for disabling medical conditions (such as epilepsy, chronic pain or post-traumatic stress disorder) has caused this once relatively “clear” issue to become more complex.
Continue Reading Going Green: Medical Marijuana and the Ontario Human Rights Code

The issue of patient confidentiality has come to the forefront for healthcare organizations after a number of recent privacy breaches in Ontario hospitals have come to light, including hospital staff improperly accessing the medical records of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

It is generally accepted that patients seeking healthcare, treatment or advice should be able to expect that their personal information will be kept confidential, and that it will only be disclosed as necessary for their care. Given the sensitive nature of such information, the Government of Ontario passed the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (the “Act”), which provides both guidance to healthcare professionals and peace of mind to patients.

When it first came into force ten years ago, the Act was Canada’s first consent-based health statute. In the years following its enactment, the Act has been highlighted as a model for personal health information laws in Canada and the United States. Moving forward, employers in healthcare settings must continue to be cognizant of the Act’s requirements, as well as its application in our increasingly digital and interconnected age. The increased use of electronic health records and digital record-sharing systems, for example, may require employers to take additional precautions in the future. The modernization of healthcare provision will necessitate the modernization of privacy policies.
Continue Reading Protecting Patient Privacy: What Employers Need to Know

As the festive season gets underway, many employers are in the process of planning their office holiday parties.  While it is someone else’s job to make sure there is enough eggnog, pick the band and make the call as to whether or not spouses should be invited,  it is our job to remind you to take steps to ensure that the Company will be in position to have a holiday party for years to come.

Make your Company’s new years resolution not to be involved in a multi-million dollar social host liability law suit.
Continue Reading Keeping up the festive cheer while keeping your legal liability down – alcohol at your company holiday party

One of the questions we are commonly asked by non-unionized employers is whether they should use written employment agreements with their employees. While written employment agreements are not a replacement for sound human resources planning or judgment, a well-written agreement, tailored to the specifics of the employment relationship, can be an invaluable component of successfully managing employees throughout the life-cycle of the employment relationship, beginning to end.
Continue Reading Early New Year’s Resolutions: Are You Using Written Employment Agreements With Your Canadian Employees?