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Vancouver Employment Law Blog

What managers can do to address workplace bullying

As a manager, you have a lot of responsibilities. One of those responsibilities includes providing a safe and respectful work environment for your employees. This not only involves treating your employees with respect yourself - it also involves taking steps to prevent or correct observed bullying on your team.

If you discover aggressive behaviours amongst your team members, it is up to you to investigate and eradicate such conduct. In addition, in order to legally protect your company, it's critical that you have appropriate policies and procedures in place to effectively respond to such issues, if and when they arise.

Workplace accident: When can TBI victims return to work?

British Columbia workers who suffered work-related injuries can typically return to their jobs after recovery. However, when a workplace accident causes traumatic brain injuries, returning to work may not be a given. Each TBI victim faces unique challenges to overcome, depending on the severity and location of the damage to the brain.

The ideal situation is for a TBI victim to return to his or her previous place of employment. The familiar surroundings and existing relationships with colleagues could ease the process of resettling into the work environment. Sadly, this is not necessarily always possible. Brain injuries could affect the victim's energy level, personal interactions and ability to concentrate, which might render the worker unsuitable for a previously held position regardless of the worker's personal motivation.

Are there human rights violations in your workplace?

Workers should all have equal access to employment opportunities, and their human rights must be protected at all times. However, even when workplace equity exists, human rights problems may not be immediately evident. The British Columbia Human Rights Code is meant to protect employees from discrimination at work.

Among other things, the Human Rights Code offers protections for workers in the course of their employment. Discrimination that is based on race, sex or other personal characteristics can lead to claims against employers. However, not all human rights violation complaints are valid. Employees need to be able to show that one of the protected traits stated in the Human Rights Code was violated, and that it had a negative effect on the employee.

COVID-19: BC Government Extends Duration of COVID-Related Temporary Layoffs

As of May 4, 2020, a significant amendment to the BC Employment Standards Regulation, BC Reg 365/95, was ordered by Order in Council that effectively extends the duration of COVID-19-related temporary layoffs under the BC Employment Standards Act. This is a change that benefits both employees and employers affected by layoffs due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

How to avoid discriminatory wording in job advertisements

In a competitive environment, employers must often battle to ensure they have access to the best prospective candidates for an open position. They will frequently explore various distribution methods to cast a wide net in search of quality applicants. In British Columbia, employers often publish an ad for a job to incite applicants to submit resumes.

Unfortunately, even a simple word-choice error in an employment advertisement can result in significant problems. Hiring managers or human resource experts will often attempt to use creative language or energetic phrasing without realizing that many terms might have double meanings or be misconstrued entirely.

Employment law mandates work hours and overtime

Employers in British Columbia may schedule work hours as they see fit. They may draft schedules weeks in advance or on a daily basis. However, employment law prescribes the number of hours workers may work, the number of free hours they should have, and how they will be compensated for extra work hours. Overtime is due whenever work hours exceed the standard 40 hours per week, from Sunday through Saturday.

The 40-hour workweek must be made up of eight-hour shifts per day, with breaks of at least eight hours between the end of one shift and the start of the next shift. Off-duty hours per week must equal at least 32 hours. Workers who work more than the standard 40 hours per week must be paid overtime wages calculated at one-and-a-half or double the normal rate.

Workers can refuse unsafe work to avoid workplace injury

Some workers in British Columbia may not realize that they have the right to refuse job tasks that would threaten their safety. Employers must provide safety training and personal protective gear to protect employees from conditions that could cause a workplace injury.

If you feel unsafe at work, you must follow the appropriate steps when reporting hazardous conditions. The first step is to notify your employer or supervisor of the hazard. The employer must address the matter without punishing you for refusing to carry out orders.

New Relief Program Announcements by the Prime Minister

On April 16, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an expansion of the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account ("CEBA") as well as the introduction of a new program, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance ("CECRA") program. He also reiterated his April 15, 2020 announcement of wage top-ups for essential workers earning less than $2,500 per month, though details of that are still to come.

COVID-19: Substituting Statutory Holidays in BC

The next statutory holiday in BC is tomorrow, Good Friday, on April 10. This is the first statutory holiday to occur during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis and many may have lost sight of it given current world events, particularly if your business is in a partial state of shut-down. There is also the possibility that this outbreak may continue to affect business operations during other upcoming statutory holidays.

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