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Vancouver Employment Law Blog

An older worker takes longer to recover from workplace injury

After reaching full maturity at about 25 years, the body starts to undergo slow changes. The changes are typically only noticeable between 40 and 50 years of age. An older worker's years of experience might make him or her less likely to suffer a workplace injury. However, older workers may take longer to recover if a workplace injury occurs.

Although each worker is unique, the musculoskeletal system deteriorates over time. These changes decrease the load-bearing capacity, flexibility and range of motion with age. The respiratory and cardiovascular systems are also affected by age, which in turn affects the ability to adjust to changes in temperature.

Steps to take after a workplace injury

Workplace injury statistics show that an average of one million occupational injuries and illnesses are reported across the country each year, including in British Columbia. Safety authorities say almost every workplace injury is preventable, and approximately 10% of work-related accidents lead to brain injuries.

Adequate safety training is one way to limit workplace injuries. If workers learn how to identify risks, they will be able to avoid hazards, and steps can be taken to eliminate or reduce the risks.

Workplace injury and health challenges faced by long haul drivers

Big rig drivers face health and safety hazards each day. Commercial vehicle operators in British Columbia haul their loads across the country, and risk workplace injury and illness. For many truckers, their vehicles are also their homes, where they work, sleep and eat. A significant percentage of long haul truck operators develop health problems over the years due to exposure to various hazards.

Long haul truckers spend most of their time sitting, with limited movement. The lack of physical activity, long hours and irregular schedules often lead to health problems. Unreasonable deadlines force many drivers to continue working despite being fatigued. Many truckers develop chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and hypertension. The nature of their work limits their food options and access to nutritious meals, leaving them eating unhealthy meals, which also contributes to their poor health.

Federally regulated employees: What is considered to determine pay equity?

Employees who believe they are victims of pay equity violations might have questions about their legal rights. Under the Canada Human Rights Act, which applies to employees working for federally regulated employers such as banks, airlines, Crown corporations, and other organizations, there are express provisions requiring pay equity in the workplace. Under the Canada Labour Code, Labour Program inspectors have the power to assess for pay equity compliance and alert the Canada Human Rights Commission if a federally regulated employer is not complying with the requirements.

Wages, job evaluation and certain reasonable factors play roles in assessing pay equity, a problem which is mostly experienced by women whose earnings are less than men in similar positions.

When it comes to wages, all remuneration forms must be considered. Salaries, vacation pay, commissions, bonuses and dismissal wages must be evaluated. Also, reasonable values for housing, lodging, board and rent, and other payments in kind. Furthermore, wages also include the employer's pension fund contributions, health insurance and long-term disability plans. Wages also include any direct or indirect privileges and advantages provided by the employer.

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.

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