Workplace Investigation Alert: BC case shows how employers should NOT handle workplace harassment

Special note to BC readers: If this subject is of interest to you, you may wish attend one of our related workshops in BC. Some spots are still open for the following sessions – we recommend registering soon. We hope to see you there. Bystander Intervention Training – May 23, 2018 Learn how to enable & [...]

Is there a place for mediation and ADR in a post-Bill 132 world? *Blog Series*

RT Policy Reflection #1: Is there a place for mediation and ADR in a post-Bill 132 world? Blog Series In addition to workplace investigations, assessments and training, one of the other services that we provide at Rubin Thomlinson is policy reviews. In this capacity, we review organizations’ workplace harassment policies (among others) to ensure that [...]

Cool, Calm, Collected – Best practices in staying objective

As workplace investigators, we understand how critical it is that our investigations be carried out in an impartial manner.  The Ministry of Labour’s Code of Practice states that in order for an investigation to be “appropriate”, the investigator must be an “objective” person who is neither the alleged harasser nor under his or her control.  [...]

Survey Says? A look at the industry-specific sexual harassment survey boom in the wake of #MeToo

Janice Rubin and Maria Luisa Vitti Unfortunately, there is no Steve Harvey here, no witty responses and no cash prizes.  Instead, the surveys we reference are the numerous industry-specific sexual harassment surveys that have been recently circulated in the wake of the #MeToo movement. #MeToo sparked more than discussion of sexual harassment in Hollywood, as [...]

Taking care of the people who take care of your people: How employers can support HR staff through workplace investigations

Anyone who works in human resources will tell you that they wear a lot of hats. On a given day, an HR generalist might meet with employees to provide guidance on compensation and benefits, organize training for new hires, meet with legal counsel on an employment litigation issue, and give advice to senior managers on [...]

Workplace Investigation Alert: Lessons on workplace investigations from a wrongful dismissal claim in Alberta

A recent case from Alberta, Smith v Vauxhall Co-Op Petroleum Limited, 2017 ABQB 525, provides a helpful example of what an employer should not do when investigating complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault. In this wrongful dismissal case, the employer defended its decision to terminate Mr. S, the plaintiff-employee, by relying on the findings [...]

Staying the Course in Workplace Investigations When #MeToo Becomes #MeThree and #MeFour

As we settle into 2018, it is safe to say that the number of people coming forward with harassment and discrimination complaints is on the rise.   Whether this increase is as a result of the #MeToo movement, of increased awareness as to what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, of recently legislated workplace investigation procedures, or [...]

Law Society of British Columbia Disciplines Lawyer Who Admits Sexual Harassment

Months before the #MeToo movement exposed the world’s entertainment and media elite, the Law Society of British Columbia issued a discipline decision that was a first in British Columbia and is one of only a few similar decisions in Canada.  The January 2017 decision, involving a Victoria based lawyer, confirms that sexual harassment by a [...]

Post-Investigation Mediation – to Read the Report or Not to Read the Report?

The parties and witnesses have been interviewed. The evidence has been reviewed and assessed. The investigation is complete. The report has been rendered. Findings have been made. The organization is ready to act. Now it is time for a restorative process such as mediation In preparation for a post-investigation mediation, a question that often arises [...]

Investigate or Terminate? A Simple Lesson from an Undefended Wrongful Dismissal Claim

Does every workplace harassment complaint need to be investigated? Can a complaint be so minor that it isn’t worth delving into? Horner v. 897469 Ontario Inc. is a recent case that illustrates the risk of overlooking a complaint, and terminating instead of investigating. In this case – an undefended wrongful dismissal claim – the Court [...]

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