- What worker and employer rights and obligations flow from common law and from statutory law?
a. Statutory law usurps or extends the common law and creates new rights and obligations for employers and employees.
b. All of these laws must be compliant with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter is a part of Canada’s constitution, and it is important because it sets certain minimums that governments must abide by in setting laws and taking actions. For example, a provincial legislature cannot normally enact a law that impedes workers’ freedom of expression (which is protected by Section 2(b) of the Charter).
d. Many types of employment statutes prohibit dismissals and punishment as a reprisal against employees who exercise their statutory rights
- How is the issue of workplace health and safety both technical and political?
a. Legislatures have also enacted occupational health and safety (OHS) laws in an effort to reduce the level of workplace injury. These efforts have resulted in a long-term reduction in reported injuries.
c. Occupational health and safety laws make employers primarily responsible for identifying and controlling workplace hazards. This reflects that employers have the most control over working conditions. Injury prevention and the investigation of injuries and near misses often falls to human resource staff members.
- Why are employers increasingly organizing work in non-standard ways? What effect does this trend have on women?
a. Similarly, the design of industrial equipment and work processes are based on assumptions about the height and strength of an average (i.e., male) worker. Ignoring the systematic anatomical differences between men and women leads to women being exposed to dangerous lifting requirements or being provided with safety equipment (e.g., harnesses and respirators) unsuited for their size and shape.
bona fide occupational requirement
- Employers are permitted to discriminate if employment preferences are based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) or bona fide occupational requirement (BFOR), and it is not possible to accommodate the employee without causing undue hardship. A BFOQ is justified if the employer can establish necessity for business operations. In other words, differential treatment is not discrimination if there is a justifiable reason.
- Common law is a body of unwritten laws based on legal precedents established by the courts.
common law contract of employment
- Over time, a huge body of “case law” has been compiled that considers the meaning and application of employment contracts to an endless array of employment scenarios. This body of law is known as the common law of employment.
- a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law.
- Direct discrimination is when you’re treated differently and worse than someone else for certain reasons. The Equality Act says you’ve been treated less favourably.
duty to accommodate
- Employers and service providers have an obligation to adjust rules, policies or practices to enable you to participate fully. The duty to accommodate means that sometimes it is necessary to treat someone differently in order to prevent or reduce discrimination. …
employment (or labour) standards
- employment standards legislation regulates the content of employment contracts by imposing minimum contract standards, such as minimum wage, maximum hours of work, and overtime pay
- A hazard is any source of potential damage, harm or adverse health effects on something or someone.
- Human rights legislation prohibits discrimination in employment on certain designated grounds, including sex, age, religion, and skin colour.
indirect (or systemic) discrimination
- Systemic discrimination refers to the exclusion of members of certain groups through the application of employment policies or practices based on criteria that are neither job related nor required for the safe and efficient operation of the business. Systemic discrimination can create legal concerns for an organization.
internal responsibility system
- The IRS is a system, within an organization, where everyone has direct responsibility for health and safety as an essential part of his or her job. It does not matter who or where the person is in the organization, they achieve health and safety in a way that suits the kind of work they do.
- a law relating to the rights and responsibilities of workers.
material safety data sheet
- A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that contains information on the potential hazards (health, fire, reactivity and environmental) and how to work safely with the chemical product. It is an essential starting point for the development of a complete health and safety program.
occupational health and safety
- occupational health and safety legislation attempt to ensure safe working conditions.
right to refuse unsafe work
- Workers have many rights that pertain to requesting and receiving information about safety and health conditions. They also have the right to refuse unsafe work without fear of reprisal.
- behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation.
- Statutory regulation operates alongside the common law, coexisting with it but also often modifying it. Usually, it is not permissible to contract out of protective employment legislation, with the result that regulation acts as a default minimum amount of protection required. For example, although the common law includes an implied obligation on the parties to provide reasonable notice of termination of the contract, employment standards regulation also imposes an obligation on employers to provide notice of termination. The employment standards’ notice requirement is considered a “minimum” that must be provided to an employee, and a contract term providing less notice will be unenforceable.
- An employer is not required to make an accommodation if it would impose an “undue hardship” on the operation of the employer’s business. “Undue hardship” is defined as an “action requiring significant difficulty or expense” when considered in light of a number of factors.
- Under workers’ compensation, injured workers can receive benefits in the form of a cash payout (if the disability is permanent) or wage loss payments (if the worker can no longer earn the same amount of money). Unlimited medical aid is also provided, along with vocational rehabilitation, which includes physical, social, and psychological services. The goal is to return the employee to his or her job (or some modification thereof) as soon as possible
Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
- The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System ( WHMIS ) are laws, created in 1988 to: give employers and workers information about the hazardous products or chemicals they may be exposed to at work. reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.
- What are the key OHS responsibilities of employers?
- Employers are also required to keep certain records, to compile an annual summary of work-related injuries and illnesses, and to ensure that supervisors are familiar with the work and its associated hazards (the supervisor, in turn, must ensure that workers are aware of those hazards).
- Accidents resulting in death or critical injuries must be reported immediately; the accident must then be investigated, and a written report submitted. In addition, employers must provide safety training and be prepared to discipline employees for failing to comply with safety rules. Employers are increasingly being required to prove due diligence. This includes establishing a comprehensive occupational health and safety management system; providing competent supervision, training, and instruction; and taking every reasonable precaution in the workplace for the health and safety of workers.
- What is the key OHS responsibilities of workers?
- Employees are required to comply with all applicable acts and regulations, to report hazardous conditions or defective equipment, and to follow all employer safety and health rules and regulations, including those prescribing the use of protective equipment.
- They also have the right to refuse unsafe work without fear of reprisal. (Some professionals, such as police, firefighters, teachers, and healthcare workers, have only a limited right of refusal, the logic being that their work is inherently dangerous.)
- What is supposed to happen when a worker refuses unsafe work? What might cause a worker to not refuse unsafe work?
- An employee who suspects that work conditions are hazardous can report this concern to his or her supervisor; this will trigger an investigation by the supervisor and a worker representative.
- A work refusal investigation can result in either the employee’s return to work or his or her continued refusal. In the latter case, the appropriate ministry is notified and an investigator is dispatched to the job site to provide a written decision. If a replacement worker is used, he or she must be notified of the previous employee’s refusal to work.
- What are three common types of workplace hazards? And how can employers identify workplace hazards?
- Fatigue is more of a problem in organizations that operate around the clock or have night shifts. Studies show that 30 to 50 percent of night-shift workers report falling asleep at least once a week while on the job, according to one expert.25
- Do you know what the leading cause of worker fatalities each year is? Motor vehicle crashes. Moreover, according to a U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, people who send text messages while driving are three times more likely to crash than other drivers, and distracted driving accounts for 80 percent of all accidents.
- Exposure to workplace violence results in employees fearing more incidents of violence, leading to personal (such as stress) and organizational (reduced commitment, neglect of job duties) strains.
- Identify two strategies employers can adopt to improve occupational health or safety. What does each strategy assume is the primary cause of occupational injury? Do you agree with those assumptions? Why or why not?
- Ergonomics focuses on ensuring that jobs are designed for safe and efficient work while improving the safety, comfort, and performance of users. Ergonomics can be as simple as rearranging a workstation so that fewer steps are needed to gather items or organizing items so that they are within easier reach. Part of ergonomics involves looking at the design of equipment and the physical abilities of the operators who use it.
- Identify two wellness programs that an employer can offer. What does each program assume is the primary cause of unwellness? Do you agree with those assumptions?
- Many employers have developed stress management programs to teach employees how to minimize the negative effects of job-related stress. A typical program might include instruction in relaxation techniques, coping skills, listening skills, methods of dealing with difficult people, time management, and assertiveness. All of these techniques are designed to break the pattern of tension that accompanies stress situations and to help participants achieve greater control of their lives.