There is a fine line that business owners must not lose sight of in their recruitment. The Alberta Human Rights Act has clear guidelines, and non-compliance might lead to accusations of discrimination. Advertisements and job descriptions may not indicate that selection will be based on specific grounds. The prohibited grounds include religion, race, gender, colour, mental or physical disability, ancestry, age, place of origin, sexual orientation, family and marital status, and income source.
Employees in Alberta do not always fully understand the workplace rights they have. Misunderstandings could lead to avoidable employment contract disputes, which are less likely to occur when both employees and employers understand their respective rights. Employers cannot expect workers to pay for purchasing, cleaning and repairing work uniforms. However, many rights that employees think they have are not actually rights under employment laws.
Employees in Alberta often have questions about their legal rights. Although victims of discrimination in the workplace have protections under employment and human rights laws, how they choose to fight for their rights is essential. The avenue chosen will depend on the outcome they wish to achieve.
Pain relievers, cold medication and other nonprescription and prescription drugs can cause impairment of employees, along with recreational cannabis and alcohol. Although current legislation does not cover testing workers for impairment, Alberta employers and supervisors can develop policies for addressing it. This could promote a safety culture that recognizes and responds to impairment of employees instead of outright termination.
Employers in Alberta have different options available when it comes to terminating employees, none of which are simple. Employment laws protect the rights of employees that include providing notice, paying notice pay, and more. There is also the option of termination without giving the employee any notice, but it requires compliance with certain regulations.
Impairment while at the workplace could create dangerous conditions for all. Even if it is not stipulated in an employment contract, being impaired at the workplace might be regarded as a breach of contract. The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Canada requires employers in Alberta and other provinces to address workplace impairment. Workers are encouraged to disclose impairment to prevent creating hazardous conditions for co-workers.
Workers in Alberta are protected under various laws, such as the Human Rights Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Code. While most employees know about laws that protect them from discrimination, they may be unaware of other rights they have as workers. For example, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, workers have the right to refuse work orders that threaten their safety. With some exceptions, employers must pay workers who reported for duty for at least three hours, even if they were sent home without working for three hours. Those who work for more than three hours must receive compensation for the hours they worked.
A consulting company conducted an online poll from April 10 through May 1 among over 5,000 employees of large companies with employee numbers exceeding 1,000. The aim was to judge the level of discrimination in workplaces across Canada, including Alberta. The survey focused on inclusion and diversity in recruitment, advancement, retention and commitment of leadership in the surveyed companies.
When non-unionized people in Alberta start new jobs, they typically form a contractual relationship with their new employers. Many people do not realize that, when they sign employment contracts, they agree to more than what is in writing. Many employment contract disputes involve implied obligations of which the parties were not aware.
In the 12 months since cannabis became legal across Canada in Oct. 2018, many employers are unsure about their rights when it comes to employees who are impaired by cannabis. This includes business owners in Alberta. While alcohol-impairment on the job might justify termination, does the same apply for cannabis impairment on the job?