April 20th marks the pseudo-international holiday for cannabis culture, known in many communities as “420” (pronounced four-twenty). In several cities around the world, people gather to both celebrate, smoke and peacefully advocate for the legalization of cannabis. In Canada, the largest gatherings on April 20th take place in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton. One only need do a simple Google search to realize the growing following for this festival like gathering of music, vendors, booths, official sponsors and prominent speakers.
When Canadian users gather for this year’s “420” however, they will have a different, long-anticipated reason to celebrate: the April 13th Liberal announcement of the legislation which decriminalized marijuana. This announcement set many Canadian employers ablaze with questions as to how they are required to respond to the changing legal and social Canadian landscape.
What does the legalization of marijuana mean for Canadian employers?
The first thing employers need to realize is that the current legislation is merely a stepping stone for the legalization of recreational marijuana as the actual laws regarding the production, use, sale and distribution will fall to provincial legislation and likely not until July 2018. This means that before Canadian employers become dazed and confused, they have time to prepare their businesses for the pending legal and social changes.
One major change employers should recognize is the social shift away from conservative views on recreational marijuana. Does this mean employers should be prepared to excuse unsafe behaviour of stoned workers? Of course not! It means that employers should review and modify their workplace policies and procedures to reflect the removal of references to marijuana usage as “illegal”. Employers will still have the right to restrict the use and possession of marijuana in the workplace. Specifically, Ontario employers should be aware that the same restrictions of smoking tobacco in the workplace will apply to the smoking of marijuana. Employers also have the right to discipline employees for recreational use of marijuana if the impact of the drug impacts performance, just like with alcohol.
However, also just like with alcohol, employers are required to accommodate disabilities to the point of undue hardship, which means employers need to be mindful of the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions and illnesses. Human Rights legislation would therefore suggest the range of accommodation would depend on an employer’s financial ability to accommodate, the type of work performed and the impact of marijuana use on the employee’s essential duties. Employers should be aware however that such accommodations should be balanced with their broader duty to provide a safe workplace under section 25 of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. This means that with safety-sensitive occupations, such as those involving heavy equipment, a balanced approach is required when accommodating medical marijuana in the workplace.
Employers should also be aware that not every government agency is prepared for the implications and consequences of the Cannabis Act. For instance, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act does not have specific policy regarding the use, distribution or coverage of medical marijuana. Currently, the Tribunal approach to the entitlement for medical marijuana is as follows:
Employers should remember that until all the above potential changes officially come into force, current restrictions remain in place. However, it is in their best interest for employers to begin reviewing and amending their policies and procedures to reflect potential workplace changes.
Do you have questions regarding medical or recreational marijuana in the workplace? Contact Anna Aceto-Guerin at Clear Path Employer Services with your questions or concerns.
PART ONE – CLASSIFICATION
If you’ve read Clear Path’s most recent blog, you know that WSIB is heading toward fundamental change, not only to its method of business classification, but also to its application of premium rates.
So many questions to consider with these new changes. Will my business’ classification change? Will my premiums change? Will I still receive a rebate? We plan to explore all of these questions and more in our three-part blog series that will focus on the new method of Employer Classification (part one), Class Level Premium Rate Settings (part two) and Employer Level Premium Rate Adjustments (part three).
Will my Business’ Classification Change?
The answer to that questions is….maybe. One of the key goals of the proposed Preliminary Rate Framework is to implement a “streamlined and simpler classification structure”. The word “simpler” is key! In order to determine premium rates, WSIB’s current system groups businesses into nine Classes, 155 Rate Groups and 840 Classification Units. The proposed new system would replace this with a simplified 22 Class Structure.
With the elimination of the 155 Rate Groups, WSIB plans on grouping businesses based predominantly on business activity. This change is key!
Unlike the current system, the new system will determine a company’s predominate class (fit) by the largest percentage of your insurable earnings. For example, your company makes cabinets (manufacturing) and 80 per cent of insurable earnings are dedicated to its production. However, you also install cabinets (construction) and 20 per cent of insurable earnings are dedicated to this business activity. Under the new system, your cabinet making company would be classified only under manufacturing. Seems simplified, right? Maybe. But what are the implications to your company?
This change will likely not affect smaller companies who have only ever been classified under one Classification Unit in the current system. However, in the case of the above cabinet making company, WSIB will use the last three years of insurable earnings to determine the company’s predominate class.
If you are a company with multiple business activities, you may wish to think about how your “predominate class” may be categorized. Will this significantly change where you fit in the 22 Classification Structure? Did you move from manufacturing to construction and will one of these categories have primarily higher premiums? Or perhaps you moved to a different classification with historically lower premiums and yet it’s likely you may have higher claims costs simply due to the nature of one of your business activities. How might this affect your experience? Will this be a positive or negative change for your company?
Part Two will explore how WSIB plans to address these potential pitfalls through the implementation of Class Level Premium Rate Settings. Check back soon for that update!
We want to hear from you! Should WSIB consider other factors when determining a predominate class? What about risk? What do you think? Contact Anna Aceto-Guerin from Clear Path Employer Services with your opinion or any questions on how the Proposed Rate Framework’s classification method.
Want to learn more about how to get yourself in a prime position on your NEER prior to the implementation of this new system? Join us at one of our spring NEER workshops to learn more.
What’s being proposed and how you can prepare
There’s no better time than the present to get a firm handle on the brand new system being proposed by Ontario's Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB), which will replace the existing NEER, CAD7 and MAP programs. The new system is slated to come into effect as early as January 2019 and would be the most significant change to the WSIB in decades.
This new system, when introduced, will impact employers across Ontario. Most importantly, your results on your September 2017 and September 2018 review will affect where you enter on the new system. By acting now, you still have time to better your position by improving your NEER results.
SOME OF THE PROPOSED CHANGES INCLUDE:
WHY YOU NEED TO ACT NOW
As the WSIB transitions to the new system, it will need to determine your company’s new rate group by placing it along the new "Risk Band" range. This decision will be made by looking at your historical experience and claim costs, so it is important to improve your company's NEER experience now and increase your chances for lower premiums in the new system.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR NEER EXPERIENCE
Here are a few ways to positively impact your NEER experience:
The workshop is jam-packed with useful information and dives into 10 real-world scenarios to help demonstrate how everyday decisions can significantly impact your NEER claim costs. It also delves into the proposed Rate Framework changes so you'll have a better understanding of what's coming in the future and how you can prepare.
Cambridge – May 3, 2017
Clear Path Employer Services training room
295 Thompson Drive, Unit 2
Register for this Workshop
Mississauga – May 4, 2017
Holiday Inn Mississauga West - Meadowvale
2565 Argentia Road
Register for this Workshop
For more information on the workshops, visit our website here.
Earlier this month, Bill 55 (also known as the Remembrance Week Act), was passed in the Ontario provincial legislature with unanimous consent. Considered to be an expansion of the Remembrance Day Observance Act, in effect since 1997, Bill 55 proclaims the seven-day period of November 5th to 11th to be an annual period of reflection and memorialization throughout the province.
Remembrance Day itself will remain the same – two minutes of silence, starting at 11 a.m., with all people encouraged to participate – while the days preceding will legitimize, support, and augment existing memorial practices. John Fraser, Ottawa South Liberal MPP and co-sponsor of the legislation, said to Ottawa Community News that “it is a reflection of what is happening in communities, and it’s to acknowledge that and promote that.”
With this recent development, it seems prudent to reflect on a couple of considerations for HR managers and business owners in terms of incorporating remembrance into a company’s business.
The Cost of Making it a Statutory Holiday:
In the province of Ontario, Remembrance Day continues to persist as a non-statutory memorial holiday. Although some believe that it should be a statutory holiday, many argue that the spirit of the day is better preserved by having children participate in Remembrance Day activities at their schools and adults being able to attend ceremonies either at work or at a local cenotaph. In fact, the Royal Canadian Legion has publicly opposed efforts to make it a statutory holiday, stating that it would become "just another day off."
In a Nov. 11, 2014 column for The Hamilton Spectator, Howard Elliott noted that “the Conference Board of Canada has said the cost of a national statutory holiday…includes employer costs of $206 per full-time worker and $62 per part timer, as well as loss of productivity [estimated] at about $3.6 billion.” On the other hand, it is worth noting that other provinces have their ways of getting around such losses. In Nova Scotia, for example, all companies (barring specific exemptions) must close on Remembrance Day – but employees who do not work are not entitled to holiday pay, thus leaving it at the discretion of employers. So for an HR department wrestling with the idea of granting time off for a day (or more) to remember the sacrifices of the past, it’s important to remember that there are no obligations and there are ways of making it work.
Granting Time Off to Attend a Ceremony:
Some employees may request time off for part of the day to attend a ceremony at a local cenotaph or school. Granting this permission is at the discretion of the employer, but the cost of not agreeing may be poor employee morale and the accusation of being unpatriotic. That being said, it is important that the employer be consistent in their approach to granting time off for Remembrance Day and set specific expectations around the length of time granted. Allowing certain employees to attend and not others may bring accusations of discrimination, unless you openly communicate in advance that someone has been designated to represent your company. Making it paid time off versus unpaid is also at the discretion of the employer.
Observing Time of Silence:
Participation in the two minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m. is voluntary. Bill 55 itself makes this very clear: “The silence can only be achieved through voluntary observance and through our collective desire to remember.” For those companies wishing to incorporate the observance into their workplaces, however, it can be a struggle to find ways to do this effectively. Fortunately, the bill also provides guidance in this regard, depending on a company’s business needs. Among numerous suggestions are pulling vehicles to the side of the road and sitting quietly (if driving for work), announcing the silence over a public address system, gathering in common areas of the business, or briefly shutting down assembly lines. They may not all suffice, but the range of options indicates that there’s no reason why business and remembrance cannot co-exist.
If you have any questions or concerns about how to handle HR issues related to this Remembrance Day, or any other employee challenges, please don't hesitate to contact Anna Aceto-Guerin from Clear Path Employer Services. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free at (888) 336-0950.
Ontario's Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) made headlines this month by announcing that employer premiums would decrease an average of 5% in 2017, the first such decrease in over 15 years. This will result in approximately $250 million less being collected from employers, making the average premium rate $2.46 per $100 of insurable payroll, down from $2.59 in 2016.
However, not all industries will see the benefit of the decreased premiums. In fact, the WSIB's 2017 premium rates show that more than half of all industries will see no change at all in 2017 -- which many will argue is still a positive thing when compared to years of regular increases.
Only two rate groups (industries) will see an increase, Ambulance Services (Rate Group 590) and Local Government Services (Rate Group 845), which were both impacted with higher claim costs following the new presumptive Post Traumatic Stress Disorder legislation, which supports first responders with PTSD.
According to the WSIB, rate groups (industries) that have shown the most positive performance will see a decrease of up to 14%. Some examples include:
The decrease in average premium rates is a result of an improved financial position for the beleaguered organization, according to Chair Elizabeth Witmer and president/CEO Tom Teahen in their recently released WSIB Economic Statement 2016. The WSIB has been able to reduce its ominous unfunded liability (UFL) from $14.2 billion in 2009 to $5.6 billion this year and attributes its success to:
Not all stakeholders are celebrating the news. The Ontario Network of Injured Workers protested the WSIB's annual general meeting and is critical of the WSIB's ongoing cost-cutting measures that they believe come at the expense of injured workers. Organization spokesperson Catherine Fenech said: "It's horrifying that the WSIB is reducing employer premiums at a time when their policies are causing so many injured workers to go into crisis." (Source)
The WSIB counters by claiming that average employee benefits have remained stable since 2009 and that average health care spending per injured worker claim has grown slightly from $1,511 in 2009 to $1,595 in 2016. The WSIB also states that 92% of injured workers return to work with no wage loss within 12 months of injury.
The WSIB says that further premium rate reductions are possible in 2018 and 2019, depending on financial results and the health of the provincial economy.
Do you have any questions about your company's WSIB premium rates or claims management process? Want to learn more about upcoming changes at the WSIB, including the proposed Rate Framework Modernization project, which could merge the NEER, CAD-7, and MAPP programs into one unified system by 2019?
Contact Anna Aceto-Guerin, president of Clear Path and WSIB NEER expert for a complimentary consultation today. You can reach her at email@example.com or (519) 624-0800 xt. 106.
Clear Path was fortunate to have the Mr. Jean-Serge (JS) Bidal, Executive Director of Strategic Revenue Policy at the WSIB, speak at our recent customer appreciation event.
Mr. Bidal provided some insights into the proposed Rate Framework changes at the WSIB, which are expected to come into effect in 2019 and will significantly change the way employer premiums are set and will eliminate the current process of giving surcharges and refunds.
A more detailed look at the proposed changes can be found here.
Here are a few of the highlights of the Rate Framework changes:
If the NEER system is being replaced, why should employers care about it?
Excellent question. In fact, understanding and improving your NEER experience is more important than ever.
As the WSIB transitions to the new system it will need to determine where to place your company along the "Risk Band" range for the premiums in your new rate group. Mr. Bidal shared with our group that a significant factor in that decision will be made by looking at your historical experience and claim costs.
Here are some ways to improve your company's NEER experience now and increase your chances for lower premiums in the new system:
How can you learn more about NEER and claims management best practices?
Clear Path offers an one-day workshop that gives an Introduction to the NEER Program and WSIB Claims Management.
It is jam-packed with useful information and dives into 10 real-world scenarios to help demonstrate how everyday decisions can signficantly impact your NEER claim costs. New for Fall 2016, it also delves into the proposed Rate Framework changes so you'll have a better understanding of what's coming in the future.
Sessions are held in Cambridge and Mississauga in September 2016. Register now to take advantage of early bird savings! Click here to learn more or to register.
There are a lot of moving parts when managing a WSIB claim, especially one that has become prolonged or complex.
Ensuring that your company is compliant with Health & Safety best practices and procedures will likely result in reduced workers’ compensation costs.
The same can be said with respect to regular Human Resources practices and procedures. The problem is that busy claims managers sometimes lose sight of this while they attempt to juggle all the moving pieces of a claim.
Here’s one tip that may help save busy HR professionals from incurring needless costs:
Filling in Record of Employment form correctly:
Record of Employment or ROE is a form that employers complete for employees receiving insurable earnings who stop working and experience an interruption of earnings. The ROE is the most important document related to accessing the Employment Insurance (EI) program. Regardless of whether the employee intends to file a claim for EI benefits, an employer must issue an ROE when:
Connection to the WSIB's Re-Employment Obligation:
WSIB policy states employers have an obligation to “re-employ” their injured workers when a claim closes as long as certain criteria are met. This is known as the re-employment obligation. If a worker is medically able to come back to work, the employer is required to offer to “re-employ” the worker in the position that they held on the date of injury or offer to provide comparable work in both nature and earnings.
In situations where a worker may not be medically capable of returning to their pre-injury job, but can do suitable work, the re-employment obligation requires employers to offer the worker the first opportunity to accept suitable employment that may become available. However, if the employer does not have suitable work available at that time, the obligation still applies every time a suitable job becomes available throughout the period of the re-employment obligation.
In order to enforce this policy, the WSIB levies penalties on employers who are in breach of their obligation. If a worker is terminated within the first six months of the re-employment obligation, WSIB will automatically presume that the employer did not fulfill the obligation. Generally, the penalty is based on the worker’s actual net average earnings for the year before the injury and is not subject to a ceiling.
What if worker maintains they have been terminated within the first six months?
There are many times when a claim can become contentious. Perhaps the employer feels the injury was never work-related, there may have been return to work issues, one of the workplace parties may have been non-cooperative, or there could have simply been a misunderstanding.
Whatever the reason, what do you do if a worker states maintains that they have been terminated and yet was not?
Even though WSIB will automatically presume a breach to the re-employment obligation within the first six months, they will allow the employer a chance to rebut the accusation before they determine whether to levy a penalty. Under policy, it is the employer’s responsibility to prove a breach did not occur.
This is where the Record of Employment (ROE) comes into play! By submitting an issued ROE indicating the worker remains off work for medical reasons (Code D) as opposed to being terminated (Code M), the WSIB will consider this sufficient proof that the employer did not breach their re-employment obligation.
A worker received loss of earning (LOE) benefits from the WSIB for a workplace injury because the employer did not have modified work suitable for the worker’s restrictions and limitations. The WSIB later determined the worker’s compensable injury recovered and terminated her benefits. However, the worker continued to have limitations and restrictions related to a non-compensable, pre-existing condition.
The worker in question did not understand that her employer still did not have suitable modified work available for her and that she now needed to apply for E.I. benefits. The worker also had not heard from her employer regarding her employment status and told her WSIB case manager that she thinks her employer may have fired her.
To rebut the accusation, the employer provided the WSIB with a copy of the ROE issued when the worker started to receive LOE benefits (under the seven-day-rule). That ROE indicated the worker experienced an interruption of earnings (LOE benefits) due to medical reasons (Code D). The employer further explained that no other ROE (such as one stating the worker was dismissed or Code M was issued, proving the employer did not terminate the worker. From the employer's perspective, the worker merely continued to remain off work for medical reasons.
Ultimately, the WSIB agreed that the employer was not in breach of their re-employment obligation and the company was saved from being levied with a significant penalty.
Bringing It All Together:
Do you have questions about the Re-Employment Obligation or about general HR practices? Contact Clear Path's Anna Aceto-Guerin for a free 15-minute consultation by email at firstname.lastname@example.org@clearpathemployer.com or by phone toll free at (888) 336-0950.
How many times have you looked at your WSIB NEER Statement and thought “if only I had done things differently”?
Clear Path recommends that employers utilize a number of different strategies to reduce WSIB costs. One strategy is to ensure you have instituted effective Early and Safe Return to Work (RTW) practices and procedures, including making an offer of suitable modified work for those employees who require modified duties.
One thing we often hear from new clients is that modified work was not offered to an injured employee because all they were provided was the frustratingly standard (and useless) doctor’s note that simply stated “off for two weeks.” Many employers think that the medical professional’s word is law when it comes to WSIB claims, so when they are provided with such a note they assume doctor’s orders must be followed. However, what many employers fail to understand is that the difference between a lost time and no lost time claim often lies in the suitability of modified work, despite the existence of a “two weeks off” doctor’s note.
Interesting case study:
Clear Path recently consulted on a claim where a worker lost the tip of his middle finger after accidentally crushing it in a machine. The worker immediately sought medical attention and provided his employer with a surgeon’s note that stated the worker should remain off duties until he could be reassessed by the surgeon a week later. The employer was not provided with limitations or restrictions for the worker (typically found in a Functional Abilities Form or FAF) and because of the severity of the accident, assumed that they were looking down the barrel of a costly lost time claim. Clear Path however instructed the employer to immediately offer the worker suitable modified work at modified hours, despite the surgeon’s note.
What counts as suitable modified work?
WSIB policy is clear when it states that suitable work means “post-injury work that is safe, productive, consistent with the worker’s functional abilities, and that, to the extent possible, restores the worker’s pre-injury earnings.”
If I wasn’t provided with a FAF form, how can I offer work when I don’t know what the worker can do?
This is a little trickier to answer, but sometimes the answer lies in common sense. If a worker lost the tip of his finger he likely will not be able to use that hand and will likely have stitches. Standard restrictions for an injury such as this suggests that the worker should refrain from repetitive movement or use of the hand and should remain in a clean environment until the stitches are removed to avoid infection.
What did the client do?
Our client therefore offered the worker modified work at reduced hours both verbally and in writing in the form of a RTW Plan. The worker however rejected the modified work and stated he wished to follow his surgeon’s recommendations.
If a worker rejects modified duties, what do you do?
Clear Path submitted an objection letter along with the Form 7 and stated that loss of earnings should not be allowed in the claim as the employer offered modified work to the Employee and requested that it be reviewed for suitability. The Eligibility Adjudicator reviewed the information and allowed the claim for health care benefits only and stated she was unable to support loss of earnings as the worker was offered modified duties. She transferred the claim to a case manager however to rule on the suitability of modified work. The case manager requested the surgeon’s report in order to obtain more fulsome information about the worker’s functional abilities and restrictions. As one can imagine, this information takes time to obtain.
What do I do while WSIB is reviewing the information and the worker remains off work?
Clear Path recommended that the employer remain in regular contact with the worker and to encourage him to participate in RTW planning in order to mitigate his/her potential financial loss. The worker did eventually participate in the RTW planning and the employer, worker and union agreed on a suitable RTW schedule.
What was the WSIB decision?
The case manager eventually ruled that the description of the original modified work listed in the RTW Plan was consistent with the functional abilities provided by the surgeon’s report. She further stated that the loss of earnings the worker experienced when he remained off work based on the surgeon’s recommendations were therefore not in order.
Bringing It All Together
Are you experiencing RTW difficulties with an injured worker? Contact Clear Path's Anna Aceto-Guerin to book your free 15-minute consultation.
Each April 28th serves as an opportunity to pay our respects to the thousands of workers that have been killed, injured or suffered illness resulting from work-related incidents and to reexamine the safety practices in our workplaces.
The National Day of Mourning was established in 1984 by the Canadian Labour Congress and was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991. The observance of this day, also known as Workers' Memorial Day, has spread to over 80 countries worldwide. Observance of this day is being heavily promoted by the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) on radio and television.
This holiday remains important because despite increased health and safety awareness, workplace accidents and fatalities still happen. This week alone, a collision near a construction site near an Ottawa highway killed one worker and left another in critical condition. Also this week, management at a Cochrane, Ontario mine were charged with criminal negligence causing death following an accident in 2015.
In 2014, the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada recorded 919 workplace deaths in Canada. That represents more that’s 2.5 deaths every day according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety. In Ontario, a total of 1,147 critical injuries (not necessarily fatal) were reported to the Ministry of Labour in the period of 2014-2015.
Ontario's WSIB encourages businesses to participate in this day by observing a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m.. The goal of this annual observance is to create awareness about the importance of Health & Safety Programs in the Workplace and establishing safe work conditions for all. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety states: "It is as much a day to remember the dead as it is a call to protect the living."
Maintaining a "culture of safety" at your business is critical for protecting the well-being of your employees and for creating a productive, effective working environment. Not meeting the required standards can result in fines, lost productivity and direct involvement by the Ministry.
Clear Path recommends the following tips for implementing and managing your Health & Safety Program:
• Create and Maintain a written health and safety policy and program
• Ensure that your company complies with the Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations
• Documented system for identifying, reporting and responding to hazards
• Establish safe practices, procedures and controls for the hazards identified
• Provide training to all employees: managers, supervisors and workers
• Communicate regularly with employees about foreseeable health and safety hazards
• Allocate adequate time and resources to the health and safety program
• Monitor and audit your program on a regular basis
If you have questions about your company's Health & Safety program or would like to speak to an expert, please don't hesitate to contact Anna Aceto-Guerin at email@example.com or (519) 624-0800.
Every employer knows they have an obligation to provide reasonable notice payments (and possibly severance) when they terminate an employee in a “not for cause” situation.
In essence, an employer is to provide a financial payout to the employee that should cover their expenses for the amount of time typically needed to secure a comparable position at another company. More money is paid out for longer-term employees, those in senior positions, and those whose age may make it difficult to find another position.
Did you know that employers have a reciprocal right to reasonable notice from an employee who decides to leave the company, especially when it will be difficult to replace them? Did you know that an employer can sue a former employee if sufficient notice was not provided? But, did you also know there may be good reasons not to pursue this course of action?
What can an employer do if they don’t receive sufficient notice?
Workers in highly complex jobs are often harder to replace, meaning that the employer typically needs more than the standard two weeks notice to find a replacement.
Renowned employment lawyer Howard Levitt, tackled this issue during a recent episode of his weekly radio show on NewsTalk 1010 (listen to the podcast here):
“The question the Court will ask… is how long should it take that employer to find a suitably qualified replacement for that employee and train them and get them up-to-speed? If the answer is six months and the employee gives two weeks, the employer can sue the employee for damages they have suffered from not getting the extra five and a half months notice from the employee. It could be quality issues, it could be [loss of] sales, could be recruitment costs, could be any of a number of things. Whatever damages he suffers for the length of notice that he didn’t get relative to the length of time it should take to replace the position, that’s what he could sue for.” (Source)
Clear Path’s Anna Aceto-Guerin suggests the best place to start may be a conversation with the employee rather than a lawsuit. If the employee is leaving on good terms, they may be willing to stay long enough to train their replacement, even if it is on a part-time basis. Things get complicated when they are departing for a new job elsewhere. Their new employer may not be willing to wait the length of time the original employer needs for them to begin. In that circumstance, the original employer will need to decide if they are willing to take legal action and whether they are willing to deal with the unhappy employee.
Why do employers decide not to sue?
According to Levitt, most employers do not sue departing employees mostly because they are not aware of the option. Others may think it’s “bad corporate imaging to sue an employee.”
Aceto-Guerin concurs and also states: “Typically you do not want to keep an employee in your company who does not want to be there, even if you have the legal right to delay their departure. The impact they could have on your company’s productivity, your customers, and the influence they could have on other employees must be taken into consideration.”
How do you assess reasonable notice from an employee?
When determining how much time is necessary for reasonable notice, here are a few things to consider:
Successful $20 million case:
Failure to provide sufficient notice of resignation can be determined to be a breach of contract. Lawsuits against an employee for failing to provide reasonable notice are rare and typically only commenced against individuals alleged to be fiduciary employees and when substantial damages are at issue, such as in the case of GasTOPS Ltd. V. Forsyth.
In this case, four senior employees gave two weeks notice of their resignation after which they began a competing firm soliciting several of their former co-workers in the process. GasTOPS sued the four employees for breaching their fiduciary duties for misappropriation of confidential information, trade secrets and corporate opportunity. The company further stated that the employees failed to provide reasonable notice of their intention to resign.
The trial judge determined that the employees had breached their fiduciary duties and failed to give reasonable notice of their intention to resign. The judge ruled that the employees knew they had given inadequate notice and did so with the intent of destroying GasTOPS by rendering it unable to fulfil existing contracts or pursue new opportunities. Based on these facts, the trial judge held the employees ought to have provided GasTOPS 10 to 12 months’ notice, and awarded GasTOPS almost $20 million in damages, including prejudgment interest and costs.
What can you take away from this case?
An organization can affect how much time they request for reasonable notice from an employee depending on how they react to the employee’s announcement of departure. If an employer never requests a greater period of notice and accepts the short departure notice, they cannot go back and sue the employee for damages for unreasonable notice. Ensure that when requesting for extended notice, you can provide evidence as to why this would be necessary to have.
Have any questions?
Have any additional questions about setting up workplace policies for your employees? The HR professionals at Clear Path are here to help. Contact Anna Aceto-Guerin at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free at (888) 336-0950 to get started.
With many employers expecting to have workers engaging in St. Patrick’s Day festivities, which can include partaking in some alcoholic beverages, it is important to ensure that your organization has a solid Substance Use policy in place. By enforcing this type of policy, you can promote a safe and healthy environment for your employees.
A Substance Use policy should outline the rules and restrictions surrounding alcohol, drug (both prescription and non-prescription), and tobacco use. It should also include the use of e-cigarettes and vaping tools, which have increased in popularity recently.
Important Elements to Include in your Company’s Substance Use Policy
Substance abuse and the Human Rights Code
While setting expectations that employees wait until after work hours to take part in any St. Paddy's Day celebrations and dealing with one-off breaches to your policy may be expected, it is important to remember that Ontario's Human Rights Commission views dependence on substances as a form of disability.
Individuals who are perceived as having an addiction or dependency due to alcohol or drug use, or those who have had alcohol and drug addiction/dependency in the past will be protected under the Human Rights Code. When dealing with this type of disability in the workplace, accommodation in order to perform the essential duties of a job is required to the point of undue hardship. Undue hardship in this case would include health and safety risks to workers or members of the public that outweigh the benefits of providing equal treatment to the worker with an addiction or dependency.
Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission website
How can I help accommodate my employees?
In accommodating an individual who suffers from this type of disability, the individual does have the responsibility to communicate the need for accommodation and co-operate in accommodation efforts.
If the individual’s drug or alcohol addiction or dependency interferes with their ability to perform essential duties of their job, as an employer you must provide support to enable your employee to undertake a rehabilitation program, such as an EAP (Employee Assistance Program), unless you can prove that this type of accommodation would cause undue hardship.
As an Employer, you are responsible and liable for the safety and well-being of your employees. Through providing your employees with a written policy, and accommodation to the point of undue hardship, it is possible to mitigate costs that may be associated with potential lawsuits.
Have any questions?
Have any additional questions about setting up workplace policies for your employees or managing an employee with substance abuse issues? The HR professionals at Clear Path are here to help. Contact Anna Aceto-Guerin at email@example.com or toll free at (888) 336-0950 to get started.
Clear Path was recently awarded an objection to initial entitlement for one of our customers based on the WSIB's Traumatic Mental Stress policy (15-03-02). Even though our efforts proved successful, this case provides a valuable lesson for other employers helps to illuminate what meets -- and what does not -- the definition of a traumatic event according to the WSIB.
What is policy 15-03-02?
The WSIB policy on Traumatic Mental Stress entitles a worker to benefits for traumatic mental stress that occurs suddenly in an event arising out of and while in the course of employment.
The event that occurs may involve actual or threatened death or serious harm against the worker, a co-worker, a worker’s family member or others. For the event or incident to be considered traumatic it must be clearly and precisely identifiable, objectively traumatic, and unexpected in the normal or daily course of the worker’s employment or work environment.
There are some restrictions to this policy. There is no entitlement for traumatic mental stress due to an employer's decisions or actions that are part of the employment function such as terminations or demotions. As well, workers who develop mental stress gradually over time due to general workplace conditions are not entitled to benefits.
What is the criteria to be covered under policy 15-03-02?
What was the scenario for this particular claim?
The worker claimed that he was suffering from stress after a physical altercation that was started by another employee. Following the altercation, he left the workplace and returned later in the day to deliver a doctor’s note that would allow him a month off.
The worker returned to work the following week, providing his employer with a Form 6 stating that he wished to commence a WSIB claim. The employer offered the worker modified work with arrangements to work from home after the employee indicated through a Functional Abilities Form (FAF) from his doctor that he would be too stressed to come to work. The worker rejected the modified work further stating that he would be unable to work from home as a result of the stress.
Possible outcomes for this case?
A claim for Traumatic Mental Stress can cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here’s what Clear Path team member Jessica Masse says about it.
“One month of loss of earnings is the tip of the iceberg. Those who are granted LOE under this policy, Traumatic Mental Stress can rack up costs in the form of healthcare and LOE benefits. In this case, one month could have easily turned into two and so on. The result of all these costs will stay on a company’s NEER statement for four years.”
Why doesn’t this case translate into entitlement for the employee?
In the Form 6, the worker stated that he "had merely brushed the arm of the work crew member after he had received his work assignment." When the employer investigated the incident, witnesses told a different story. Five witnesses that had seen the event claimed that the worker was providing inaccurate information and that the worker in question grabbed the arm of the other employee -- which initiated the altercation.
The altercation described above does not meet the criteria of the WSIB's policy, as it does not qualify as traumatic and a person feeling insulted by another employee does not translate to harassment.
The WSIB agreed that there was no basis for the worker’s claim of being approached aggressively or harassed. The worker who filed the claim was the individual who initiated inappropriate physical contact by grabbing the work crew member’s arm.
As a result of this false claim and the company's policy related to workplace violence and harassment, the employer found grounds for termination of the employee.
What other HR lessons can we learn from this case?
Even though the company avoided the potentially high WSIB claim costs when the claim was denied, there are some additional things to consider from an HR perspective.
When a situation occurs that involves workplace violence or harassment, employers will be in a better position to take action if they are fully compliant with the amendments to the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act in 2010 (also known as Bill 168). By having up-to-date policies realted to workplace violence and harassment, you have a policy in place to ensure the termination of a violent employee. In this case, the company did have such a policy in place and was able to take appropriate actions against the offending employee.
Another wrinkle in this case is the fact that the employee attempted to file a claim both through the WSIB and the company's Short-Term Disability program for the same incident (which was also denied). Employers should be aware of such "double dipping" attempts by employees and take appropriate actions accordingly.
If you have any questions about WSIB claims management, including how to object to the initial entitlement of a claim, we would love to hear from you. Contact Anna Aceto-Guerin at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free at (888) 336-0950.
When you object to the initial entitlement of a WSIB claim, in effect having it denied outright, there are several considerations you should keep in mind. Clear Path’s Anna Aceto-Guerin answers some questions about the process:
What are some reasons that you would object to a claim?
There are several reasons why an employer objects to the approval of a WSIB claim, but the most common reasons are:
When should you object to the validity of a claim?
If you wish to object to initial entitlement, it is important that you do so immediately. Ideally, you are including your intention to object on the Form 7, along with the results of your internal investigation and witness statements.
At minimum, indicate on the Form 7 that the investigation is ongoing and that you will be submitting documentation shortly. Once the WSIB has decided to accept entitlement in a claim, it is very difficult to have it overturned. You have a much better chance of having it denied outright then having an accepted claim overturned. Once benefits are flowing, the case manager is not likely to stop those easily.
What is the best way to have success with your objection?
Include as much evidence as you can along with your objection. That means performing an investigation after every accident or injury. Go to the actual location of the incident. Get pictures. Get a written statement from the injured worker as to exactly what happened (in addition to their Form 6) as well as any witnesses, ideally using your company’s own worker or witness statement forms. Review video surveillance footage if it exists.
This is where a lot of employers fall down. They just take the Form 6, fill out a Form 7 and submit it. Later, they may discover that they have concerns, but it may be too late.
What if you feel the injury or illness is non-occupational?
Just because you don’t agree that an injury is work-related doesn’t mean that the worker isn’t having an issue or that you shouldn’t support them through their recovery and return to work.
f you think the worker’s issue or injury may be not work related or compatible to their normal work duties, you should let the worker know and point them towards your company’s sick days or Short-Term-Disability (STD) benefits programs if they require lost time. Let them know that you will accommodate them (as per Human Rights obligations) and support them in their recovery regardless of it this is work related or not.
We recently helped a client to object to a claim for a worker who had injured himself playing baseball. He was later diagnosed with a ganglion cyst and claimed this was work-related. We argued against this and the claim was denied.
How do you prove that an injury is not compatible with the duties of a job?
Having a Physical Demands Analysis (PDA) for each position in your company will provide you with clear evidence to provide to a WSIB Adjudicator, so they can more readily determine compatibility. It also can serve as an effective tool during the Return-To-Work process for an injured worker.
In the absence of a PDA, an employer can still argue that an injury is not consistent with the duties of a job. Provide as much evidence as possible to support your argument, including pictures and written description of the job.
Do you have a real-world example of an injury that was not compatible?
We recently helped a customer with an employee claiming that the exertion he needed to “turn” the steering wheel in the company’s forklift caused him to injure his shoulder. However, we successfully argued that the turning mechanism on the machine can be moved with the effort of one finger and does not require any “cranking.” We were able to provide pictures of the machine and more detail of how it is used in different applications so the case manager had a better idea of the effort required. The claim and initial entitlement, was denied.
Would there ever be a time that you wouldn’t submit a PDA, even if you have one?
Interesting question and difficult one to answer. You may object and have a verbal conversation with the claims manager, but you may not want to send the PDA if it doesn’t support your argument. If someone has only been doing the job for a short period of time and claims a repetitive strain and the PDA actually identifies a potential risk of that, then the WSIB is going to automatically approve -- regardless of the fact that the duration in that job does not support the claim. In those instances, we would recommend considering not submitting the PDA.
Any final thoughts?
Consider utilizing a medical professional as part of your claims management process. If you have access to a nurse or other medical professional onsite, have them get a health history from the worker (especially for gradual onset claims). If you don’t have access to one, consider utilizing external medical resources. They will assist with return to work and at time can also assist with determining compatibility with a job and the injury itself. At minimum an investigation is always a good idea. If all fails don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance, sooner rather than later.
Where can employers come for assistance with this process?
If you have any questions about WSIB claims management, including how to object to the initial entitlement of a claim, we would love to hear from you. Contact Anna Aceto-Guerin at email@example.com or toll free at (888) 336-0950,
Is veganism the next protected human right?
A vegan advocacy group is arguing that recent revisions to Ontario’s Human Rights legislation which expanded the definition of the protected ground "creed" to include“non-religious belief systems that… substantially influence a person’s identity, worldview and way of life” open the door to further protections for its adherents.
Critics argue that the Human Rights Code was put into place to combat real persecution based on an individual’s religion, culture or ethnic affiliation. They worry that including things such as veganism under the creed protection allow for fringe beliefs or those from less-than-respected sources to also be included. They also argue that such a broadened interpretation will eventually weaken the effectiveness of the Human Rights legislation.
What are the new revisions to the Human Rights Code?
In its first revision since 1996, the Ontario Human Rights Commission modified the definition of the protected ground "creed" in December 2015. The changes expand what falls under the definition of “creed” to include protection of secular, non-religious beliefs under certain conditions, which many believe aligns with the legal and social developments in Canada over the past two decades.
The updated policy uses a five-pronged approach to determining whether a belief system qualifies as a legally protected creed:
How are vegans affected from this revision?
A vegan is an individual who only eats food derived from plants (excluding all meat and dairy products) and who has a belief system that opposes harming animals or using any animal by-products. For animal rights advocacy groups, such as Animal Justice, this revision is a big victory. After many years of fighting for representation under the creed ground, the advocacy group sees this as an opening for protection of the rights of ethical vegans.
It is important to note that the current legislation does not explicitly include veganism or vegetarianism, but it may lead to precedent-setting decisions in the future.
If the Commission does recognize veganism under the creed protection, vegans would have a legal right to accommodation in instances where they are being excluded or discriminated against. In addition to food choices, this could include cases where employees refuse to wear a work uniform made with an animal-based component such as a leather or certain soaps and cleaning products.
The OHRC’s response:
Renu Mandhane, chief commissioner for the OHRC, was quoted in a recent National Post article: “We did hear from (vegan and animal rights groups) and I have a lot of respect for their advocacy… but in framing the definition, that is not the group that we were attempting to address. That’s not to say the tribunal might not find… in a certain instance for that to qualify as creed,” said Mandhane. “But that wasn’t where we were going.”
“Somehow this has been spun out to suggest that our policy says that ethical veganism is a creed, which it doesn’t,” she said. “The tribunal is the place to make these decisions because its decisions are made based on facts.”
"Instead, the aim was to provide an update that hedged against growing religious persecution in some areas, particularly against Muslims, and to make it more inclusive of, for example, atheists or those who practice an indigenous spirituality."
What will this mean for your workplace?
Even though the Human Rights Tribunal has yet to rule that veganism as a protected belief system under creed, this issue does raises some question about how accommodating – whether in an official or unofficial capacity – your workplace is regarding the needs of employees with non-traditional beliefs, including vegans.
This could mean altering your work uniform to avoid using any animal by-products or offering vegan options in your workplace cafeteria or restaurant. Even if this is not legally required, a benefit could be improved employee morale and the perception that you are responding to the changing needs of your workforce.
What do you do to cater to the needs of vegans or non-religious beliefs in the workplace?
With Valentine's Day approaching, we've been thinking about romance in the workplace and how it can impact your organization.
Office romances can be a headache for employers, leading to water cooler gossip, accusations of favouritism (especially if there is a love connection between people with a reporting relationship), and even the risk of a sexual harassment complaint. But managing the situation with proper policies and sensible management techniques can keep love in the air without negatively impacting your business.
Policies help set the ground rules:
Don't wait until after romance has bloomed before tackling this topic with your employees. Ensure that all team members are aware of your expectations for acceptable behaviour, along with what types of behaviour would be considered harassment, by having clearly written employee policies. Clear Path's Anna Aceto-Guerin shares:
"Written policies send the message that employees should not let romantic relationships affect the professional work environment. They will also clearly define what type of behaviour is inappropriate and what they should do about it if they are being harassed."
Cupid's arrow doesn't justify a drop in productivity or professionalism:
Senior HR consultant Margaret Sullivan Williams adds that managers have the right to demand productivity from their workers, regardless of their romantic situation:
"When a relationship distracts from the workplace's goals and undermines the effectiveness of the involved employees, it has gone too far. Managers need to sit down with both employees and clarify the expectations of the workplace with regards to romance. Or encourage them to get a room - after work!
Your company may be liable for an employee's harassing behaviour:
Not all expressions of romantic interest are welcome or appropriate, particularly in the workplace. Some of these actions could even lead to legal issues for your company.
In 2010, the Ontario government expanded the Occupational Health & Safety Act with Bill 168 which placed explicit obligations for employers to protect employees from workplace violence and harassment. Failing to take concrete steps to prevent harassment, including sexual harassment, can leave employers to potential fines and charges.
In 2015, Kathleen Wynne's government launched a high profile campaign to raise awareness of sexual harassment and violence, called "It's Never Okay." In October, it introduced legislation that added additional obligations for employers, including the duty to ensure that any complaints are appropriately investigated.
Don't oppose, disclose!
Some workplaces have debated restricting office relationships. However, the reality is that this would likely drive any employee relationships "underground" and not shield you from potential issues.
Your best precaution is to require those involved to disclose that they have entered into a consensual romantic relationship to management. This allows for confirmation that the relationship truly is consensual and offers the opportunity to inform the two parties of your workplace harassment/sexual harassment policies, how to report complaints and most importantly expectations around conduct while in the workplace environment.
Clear Path's Michelle Strassburger explains:
"It's all about disclosure. Office romances don't always cause a conflict. However, ensuring that a reporting relationship does not exist is paramount to guarding against potential complaints of preferential treatment or sexual harassment."
Avoid the legal ramifications often associated with workplace relationships by planning ahead and providing your employees with guidelines and education on the topic of office romance in your workplace before Cupid’s arrow strikes.
Looking for advice on how to handle an employee situation or how to establish HR policies for your workplace? Contact us today.
Did you know that Friday, Jan. 29th, 2016 is International Fun at Work Day? This may not be the most commonly known holiday, but it can be a great reminder to consider the culture at your workplace and the benefits of ensuring that employees are enjoying (at least part) of their work day.
Why including fun at work is important:
HR experts like author Bob Nelson (1001 Ways to Motivate Employees) and columnist Steve Strauss, both have a myriad of reasons why employers should incorporate some fun into each work day, including:
Concerns employers may have:
Many find it counterintuitive to incorporate fun into the workday as a way to increase productivity. In fact, they worry it will drastically reduce outputs. Some other top worries include:
Tips for HR managers and employers:
Clear Path's HR consultants have some suggestions for employers to consider:
Ensure that the nature of the "fun" is tasteful and appropriate for your workplace. Remember that what's fun for one person is not necessarily so for another. The fun activity should never be at the expense of an employee or customer. If your company is large enough, it may also be a good idea to allow different departments to design their own activities rather than applying a "one size fits all" approach.
Some additional tips:
How we have fun at Clear Path:
We believe in incorporating fun into our workplace so much that we included "Having Fun" as one of our nine corporate values (see our full list here). Here are the describing statements regarding this value:
Putting this value into practice, we enjoy several special events throughout the year, including a team lunch each month with a different theme (Oktoberfest, Chinese New Year, Summer BBQ), participating in charity events like the Terry Fox Run, and celebrating birthdays and customer victories at our monthly team meeting.
How do you have fun at your work? Share your ideas in the Comments.
This week marks the 75th anniversary of one of the greatest blunders in communication of all time and serves as a warning for managers who refuse to listen to feedback from employees.
On Jan. 27th, 1941, U.S. ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew cabled the U.S. State Department with information obtained from the Peruvian ambassador that Tokyo was planning a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. His warning was ignored and when Japan did attack on Dec. 7th, it resulted in the loss of 2,403 American lives.
Of course, most businesses won't face the same kind of life-or-death consequences if they ignore feedback from their employees.
But those whose culture does not encourage team members to share their ideas and concerns with upper management (or who routinely ignore comments when they are shared), will almost certainly have to deal with the loss of employee engagement, loss of potentially profitable ideas, and the loss of visibility to important concerns from those "in the trenches." On the flip side, those who do value and implement suggestions from employees will see increased an energized workforce with greater levels of loyalty to the organization, safer work environments, and potentially boosted profits.
Here are some tips on how to develop mechanisms for employees to share feedback with upper management:
1. Management meetings don’t have to be exclusively for management
2. A feedback box can go a long way
3. Reward and encourage the sharing of ideas
4. Understand the value of a finding a "neutral ground" for communications
So those are our suggestions, do you have other unique ways to encourage communication between all the members of your organization? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
If you'd like to discuss issues your company is having with communication betwen managers and team members or resolving any other people-related challenges, contact Clear Path's Anna Aceto-Guerin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (519) 624-0800. We look forward to hearing from you!
News of the recent deaths of several well-known celebrities, including music icon David Bowie, Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, and renowned actor Alan Rickman, got us thinking about the touchy subject of death and grief in the workplace.
The way a workplace manages the challenges around grieving employees, whether a fellow employee has died or when a team member has suffered a loss in their personal lives, makes a tremendous difference to employee morale and connectedness to your organization. Mishandling the situation can bring a landmine of HR issues and potentially hurt feelings. The best way to handle it is to plan ahead and take steps to ensure managers treat employees fairly and consistently.
Losing a team member
In the unfortunate event that a colleague passes away, you should not underestimate the feeling of loss and disruption in your workplace. Eyes will be on the management team to see how it reacts and if it allows time for adjustment after such a loss. The sudden, unexpected death of a co-worker will require you to deploy different strategies than if someone has succumbed to a long-term illness. But either way, you should not expect fellow employees to take the loss lightly.
Management must communicate to fellow team members about the loss in a way that is caring and respectful. Take the time to gather employees together to share feelings and discuss next steps, which could include holding a memorial for the individual or arranging for anyone interested in attending the funeral the ability to do so. Ensure that you are consistent in your approach and remember that regardless of the length of time the deceased was with the company or the seniority of their position, the impact of the loss to the organization may still be a difficult one.
Anna Aceto-Guerin, senior HR consultant at Clear Path, encourages employers to utilize their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) during these situations by reminding team members to take advantage of the program. Depending on the circumstances, management might consider providing a grief counselor on the premises to assist with the aftermath following the news of an employee's passing. The benefit of EAP intervention is that employees can speak to a counselor in private and be provided with strategies to handle their loss. The grieving process is different for everyone and you must be patient during the weeks and months following a loss.
Time off for grieving
Things could get tricky when it comes to paid time off for those grieving the loss. In Ontario, there is no requirement for bereavement leave under the Employment Standards Act (ESA), but many businesses have established policies that give a certain number of paid days off as an employee benefit.
However, most policies limit the paid days to relatives (with a higher number of days for immediate family such as a spouse, parent or child). If an employee is requesting time off to recover from the loss of a work colleague, you might suggest they utilize accumulated sick days (if your company offers paid sick days) or a non-paid leave of absence. Be fair and consistent with absences granted for this purpose but also remember that certain circumstances may require you to make exceptions to established policy. Take the situation into consideration each time and it necessary reach out for advice on how to handle a particularly difficult situation.
Replacing an employee who has died
The potential need to replace the worker who has passed away brings with it a special need for sensitivity and respect for those who worked with the deceased. Depending on the circumstances and the nature of the position, your company may be able to delay this process for a while in consideration of the feelings of the person's colleagues. Should you need to delay the process for replacement, consider setting up an internal resource to cover the position in the meantime to ensure that business needs are met and people have someone to go to. If a delay is not possible, proceed with your regular recruitment practice while being as sensitive as possible with everyone involved.
When an employee suffers a personal loss
When an employee loses someone in their personal life, management should be equally as cognizant of the need to be sensitive to their needs at that time. HR should advise the individual of the company's policies regarding paid time off for bereavement, along with recommending the use of an EAP program (if applicable). As mentioned, there is no requirement to give paid time off under Ontario's ESA, but refusing to do so may be seen as a very unsympathetic response during a time of loss.
Encouraging your supervisors and co-workers to be patient with the individual in the period following the death is an important step. Relieving the person's workload on a temporary basis may also be an option for your company.
Need some assistance?
Have you established employee policies, such as one for Bereavement and Absence? If not, or if you would like some assistance updating your policy book, get in touch with Clear Path today. Certified HR professionals like Anna Aceto-Guerin can guide your company through the process and help you manage any people-related challenges you may have. Contact us today at email@example.com or by phone at (519) 624-0800.
Ontario's Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) has proposed a brand new system for funding our workers' compensation system that would change the way WSIB premiums are set and would eliminate the current process of giving surcharges and refunds.
This new system, which could come into effect by January 2019 and promises to be revenue neutral, would be the most significant change to the WSIB in decades. It would reduce the number of rate groups from over 200 to about 34 and eliminate the current NEER, CAD-7, and MAPP experience ratings programs and replace them with one unified system. The updated reform proposal can be found here.
Here are some of the key points you need to know (remember that details are subject to change since the WSIB's consultation process is ongoing):
New ways to categorize employers:
Say goodbye to refunds and surcharges, say hello to "risk bands:"
(Possibly the) End of multiple rate groups for one company:
Exception for staffing agencies:
Expansion of experience window to 6 years:
What about the Fatal Claim Adjustment Policy or other punitive measures?
What about SIEF?
How will these changes will be implemented?
Want to learn more?
job ad posted in a local newspaper for a position at a restaurant in Fergus, Ontario has ruffled quite a few feathers in the small town - and led to charges of discrimination in the restaurant's hiring practices.
Horizon's Family Restaurant posted an ad this week looking for a "reliable waitress." It also stated that you should "not apply with visible tattoos and face piercings." Since news of the ad broke, TV and radio stations have reported that many have taken issue with the ban and call it discriminatory. Others argue that a business should be able to put reasonable restrictions on the appearance of its employees.
We asked HR professional Michelle Strassburger to weigh in on the controversy:
"First of all, the fact that they have made the position gender specific when they advertised for a reliable waitress rather than serving person is clearly discriminatory."
"As for a ban on visible tattoos and piercings, it's not appropriate to include that in the job ad since it really couldn't be seen as a bona fide job requirement. Therefore, you'd find yourself justifiably accused of discrimination."
"A company can have a policy that establishes limitations on such things as visible tattoos and face piercings, even an acceptable size of earrings. But that policy should be communicated AFTER a job offer has been given, not in the job ad itself."
Want to get some additional insights into best practices when hiring employees? Clear Path's on demand webinar "Hiring Employees Effectively" is jam-packed with useful tips for business owners and managers. You can also get HRPA re-certification points.
Learn how Clear Path can help your manage your HR and Claims Management challenges.
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