Imagine showing up to work one morning to a locked door and a notice on the window announcing that your location had been closed down. This is exactly what happened to 900 Best Buy and Future Shop employees earlier this year. On January 31st, over a dozen retail outlets across Canada were closed unexpectedly and hundreds of employees were suddenly left jobless.
The move was based on a need to downsize to reduce costs. However, it is not the decision to close the locations that is being called into question –
it is the manner by which employees were notified of the closing. Catching an entire employee population by surprise with something of this nature is never best practice.
In a similar case earlier this month, the CEO ofThe Daily Voice emailed his employees about his resignation and promised that “good news would follow.” However, a few days later they received a notice that several locations were being closed and that many staff were being laid off.
By not providing employees sufficient warning or explanation it is clear that both organizations did not handle their downsizing appropriately. In doing so, they made themselves vulnerable towards having resentful employees, a damaged public reputation, and the potential inability to recruit top talent in the future.
As employers, there are still valid concerns tied to informing employees of the need to downsize and reduce the number of employees. The well known HMV fiasco from a couple months ago serves as a prime example. In this case, an employee began making public announcements on the company twitter feed that people were being let go using the hash-tag #HmvXFactorFiring. So how can companies avoid this negative impact? Here is a list of some HR best practices to keep in mind.
What experts say they should have done:
“If you’re outsourcing, changing focus or trying to cut costs, let employees know. They’re also more likely to be committed to help turn around the company if they understand the reasons – and if you take the power out of the rumour mill.” - Dr. Nita Chhinzer from the University of Guelph
Need help resolving challenging employee issues, including terminations? Clear Path offers immediate access to experienced, local HR professionals with our HR “On Demand” service. Simply pick up the phone and talk to an expert in HR best practices. You can expect clear, concise, and simple explanations that will expedite resolution of your issue and protect your company from liability.
Contact Anna at email@example.com or (519) 624-0800.
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Sexual Harassment. As employers, this is an issue we never want to see arise in our workplace. In recent news, allegations of sexual harassment were made against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson posted on social media that Ford had touched her inappropriately and made suggestive comments at a function earlier last week. Ford immediately denied this claim saying it was “absolutely, completely false.”
Since these allegations were made, a raging discussion has exploded over the news story and the “he-said, she-said” argument continues. Objectively, it’s impossible to know which person is telling the truth just based on the statements from the affected parties. So, instead of playing the blame-game, let’s take a look at how this situation was handled and the do’s and don’ts of dealing with a sexual harassment complaint in your workplace. To this end, we have enlisted the expertise of HR Consultant Josie Martiniello to help us out.
What should you do as an employer?
The Canada Labour Code defines sexual harassment as any conduct, comment, gesture, or contact of a sexual nature that is likely to cause offence or humiliation. According to the Federal Labour Program, employers must make every reasonable effort to ensure that no employee is subjected to sexual harassment. This includes issuing a relevant policy that contains at least the following elements:
In a study done by the University of South Australia, it was found that employees who lodge sexual harassment complaints are several times more likely to leave companies than their alleged perpetrators. The study has also shown that women who complain about sexual harassment often suffer more unjust treatment in the workplace. Because of these negative consequences that seem to fall on the person who issues the complaint, many incidents of sexual harassment are going unreported. This further emphasizes the importance of being prepared as an organization and having established policies that deal with sexual harassment complaints appropriately and effectively.
As with any established policy, it is important to ensure that you have the proper procedures in place to support what is written. Unfortunately, Josie notes, many organizations do not have good complaint procedures for dealing with cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.
What Does a Good Complaint Procedure Look Like?
Although sexual harassment is a serious issue and requires immediate action from the employer, it is also necessary to guard against workers lodging false allegations. Deliberately laying a false charge against another person should be clearly identified in your policy as a disciplinary offence with the expectation that this will be dealt with accordingly. The case of Ford and Thomson serves as an example of how quickly these situations can escalate in a social context. Not only was the complaint made via social media and for the public eye, it was also followed by a round of accusations and name-calling by both parties. Having the proper policies and complaint procedures in place can help to create a workplace environment that deals with sexual harassment appropriately and can also prevent issues like these from escalating out of control.
Need help developing the proper policies and procedures for your company? Clear Path can help you develop both individual policies, such as those dealing with sexual harassment, or full employee policy manuals. We can also help you become compliant with the requirements of Bill 168 (Workplace Violence and Harassment Legislation). Visit our website to find out more: www.clearpathemployer.com
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International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated across the globe each year on March 8th to mark the economic, political, and social achievements of women - past, present and future. Thousands of events are held all over the world that aim to inspire women and celebrate their many achievements.
The idea of having a worldwide celebration for women began at the beginning of this century in America and Europe and was motivated by a desire to put women and women’s rights to equality on the global agenda. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has become an official holiday for over 25 countries including Afghanistan, China, Russia, and Uganda.
How is your workplace celebrating International Women's Day?
International Women’s Day is an opportunity for companies to celebrate the talented and inspirational women in their workplace. It also serves as a reminder that there is still much to be done to support the cause of women in our communities.
Here are some examples of what some companies have done in the past to celebrate IWD:
What are some ways you can celebrate IWD in your workplace? Here are some ideas:
In honour of International Women's Day, we want to hear from you about what your company does to mark the event and/or what impact women have made on your organization. Submit your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our Facebook page! This month's prize is a $25 gift certificate to Chapters. A winner will be chosen at random from all the responses and announced in our next newsletter.
The women of Clear Path
Here at Clear Path, International Women’s Day is something to be celebrated as our company was founded by a woman and is also largely staffed by women. We are proud to be celebrating our 10th year in business in 2013.
With over 100 combined years of experience in Human Resources and Occupational Health, our team is dedicated to providing customized and cost-effective services to meet all of your HR, Disability Management, and Safety needs. We encourage you to learn more about each of our team members here.
International Women's Day and Bill 168
This year, the United Nations theme for International Women’s Day is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.” The International Labour Organization (ILO) added to this statement saying, “Stop violence against women at work.”
Though not limited only to women, Ontario's workplace violence and harassment legislation (Bill 168) aims to reduce the likelihood of violence against all workers. One of its requirements is that employers take steps to reduce the likelihood of domestic violence in the workplace. One of the landmark cases that inspired the legislation was the tragic murder of nurse Lori Dupont in a Windsor hospital by a former boyfriend (a doctor at the hospital).
If you are struggling in the process of becoming compliant with Bill 168, Clear Path has many resources available to you including risk assessment, policy development, and employee training. Click here for more information.
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“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.” Marissa Mayer
Introduce technology that helps to enhance remote collaboration – programs such as GoogleDocs, Skype, and Instant Messenger are great low‐cost options for smaller businesses.
Striking a balance
Scott Schieman, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto who studies work, stress, and health, has this to say on the topic: “It comes down to everything in moderation. Rather than have somebody always work from home, have some arrangement where there’s an effort to understand and negate any of the downsides. So if you believe interaction and decision‐making happens best when people are together, make sure there are opportunities to make that happen.”
Clear Path can help
Need help developing your employee policies to find the right balance between productivity and work‐life balance? Our experts are here to provide the training, policy development and expertise you need to succeed. Visit our website to learn more at www.clearpathemployer.com or contact Anna at (519) 624-0800.
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