Cannabis legalization is almost here. Employers are busily preparing rules to regulate cannabis use in their workplaces. Police and other employers whose duties affect public safety are finding it particularly difficult to draft policies for cannabis use that satisfy their employees and their obligations to the public.
Employers may get frustrated when they learn an employee has an alcohol or drug addiction that adversely affects their work. But Alberta’s human rights legislation prevents employers from just firing the employee.
The forthcoming legalization of cannabis across Canada has raised many questions amongst employers and employees alike. One of the most fierce debates has been over human rights concerns with regard to random testing for the substance. People driving or operating heavy machinery, such as oil workers and bus drivers in Alberta, have been a particular source of debate.
One of the biggest grievances between employers and former employees relates to unpaid wages. In Alberta, the government has cracked down on such employment contract disputes. Despite these efforts, claims of unpaid continue to flow in, totalling $19 million last year alone.
The challenges faced by businesses and their employees often vary depending on industry and location. In Alberta, human rights concerns about farm labour have led to recent changes to employment standards legislation. This means that farm owners will have more employment laws to consider when managing waged, non-family employees.
As the provinces prepare for marijuana legalization, Ottawa is discussing some of the finer points of how worker rights relate to the drug. There are many human rights concerns in the workplace related to pot, including whether workplaces will be able to test for the substance and if the law will distinguish between medical and recreational marijuana in the case of worker rights. The conversation in Ottawa is currently deadlocked, while an Alberta case about workplace testing prepares to enter the Supreme Court.
It may seem unnecessary for risk managers to keep papers on expired insurance policies around. However, Alberta risk managers may find these documents useful. If an allegation about harassment that occurred a long time ago emerges, having proof of liability coverage from that time could prove helpful.
Random drug testing is a hot button topic in employment law. Employees and unions may argue that there are human rights concerns with this practice, as it violates workers' privacy and dignity. Although employers may argue it is a necessary safety precaution, a recent decision from the Court of Appeal of Alberta has confirmed a ruling in a recent case over the matter.
Workplace environment and job-related demands can have a significant influence on the health and well-being of employees. According to a national survey, Alberta workers have a high level of stress at work compared to some other provinces. Some are concerned that this could indicate human rights concerns in workplaces across the province, particularly with regard to mental health.
There are many things that can help or hinder people on either side of a legal battle. Alberta workers seeking restitution in a wrongful termination case can take steps before, during and after a firing to give themselves an advantage in court. While there is no way to guarantee results one way or the other, being careful to avoid certain behaviours can be advantageous for those bringing legal action.