: Atlantic Employers' Counsel - Summer 2015

August 24, 2015

The Editors' Corner

Michelle Black and Sean Kelly

Aaah, summer - that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It's a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.

- Darrell Hammond

Of course, all these exciting activities should be pursued during non-work hours. But is that always what happens?

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Sickness, sickness everywhere, nor any cure in sight

Peter McLellan, QC and Michael MacIsaac

Benjamin Franklin once said that a person should "be not sick too late, nor well too soon." However, what happens when an employee is sick too soon and well... well, never?

That was precisely the question an arbitrator in British Columbia was forced to confront in Loblaws Cos. and UFCW, Local 247 (P.J.)), Re, [2014] B.C.W.L.D. 2088. A unionized employee was terminated for non-culpable absenteeism after she missed between 10 per cent and 17 per cent of her work days over a roughly three year period, beginning in 2010.

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10 tips to having an Attendance Management Plan that works

Harold Smith, QC

1. Commitment to attendance management as an organizational tool

Even the best attendance management plans, drafted with great care and attention to the most up-to-date principles, often fail. They fail because there is essentially no commitment to them by senior and middle management. Before the development of an Attendance Management Plan ("AMP"), the work begins with the internal management meeting where the managers are briefed on the costs to the organization of the excessive absenteeism rates.

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New territory in human rights - When should you accommodate an employee's choice to breastfeed?

Patti Wheatley

An employer's "duty to accommodate" is a continually evolving - and sometimes confusing - area of the law. While accommodating employees with a disability is typically familiar territory for many employers, the legal obligation regarding accommodating on the basis of "family status" is still emerging. It is simple enough to state that an employer may not discriminate on the basis of family status, but what that means is far from settled.

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Managing Chronic Illness in the Workplace - Considerations and Strategies

Lisa Gallivan and Sean Kelly

Employers who deal with management of medical conditions and/or disabilities in the workplace know that each issue must be dealt with individually with particular attention to the specific facts and circumstances of the case. Managing chronic illness (i.e., those that are persistent, recurring and long-lasting) at work can be particularly challenging for employers due to the nature of the condition, changes in symptoms and the degree or frequency of recurrence. 

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