Toronto Employment Lawyers Advising Employers on Employee Policies
In addition to a carefully drafted employment contract with each employee, employee policies and handbooks are important elements in managing a workplace. Employee policies are an opportunity for employers to outline any critical rules, guidelines, and expectations and can be an effective way to manage risk, minimize uncertainty, and limit potential litigation stemming from workplace disputes. Under Ontario law, there are also certain policies employers are obligated to have in the workplace, including policies around workplace violence and harassment.
At Sultan Lawyers in Toronto, our knowledgeable employment lawyers regularly advise employers on employee policies and handbooks. We can review, advise and amend existing policies, draft new policies, and proactively advise you on any areas of legal risk. We understand that the labour market and the laws that govern it are constantly changing, and we work hard to ensure our employer clients are always informed and in compliance with these changes. We are dedicated to keeping up to date on all major developments and remaining ahead of the curve on the issues that matter most to our clients. This allows us to position our clients at an advantage always.
Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies
All Ontario employers are legally obligated to have written, regularly updated workplace violence and harassment policies in their workplace.
These policies must address:
- How can employees make complaints about workplace harassment and report incidents of such harassment and
- How such complaints will be investigated, addressed, and resolved.
In addition to having these policies on hand, employers must also provide proper training to all employees, managers, and others about the above procedures.
Common Workplace Policies in Ontario
In Ontario, workplaces are governed by various regulations and standards that ensure the safety, privacy, and fair treatment of employees. In addition to workplace violence and harassment policies mandated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), there are several other common workplace policies that employers should consider implementing to create a safe, productive, and legally compliant environment. Here’s a review with additional information on each:
1. Workplace Health and Safety Policies:
Purpose: To ensure the physical and psychological well-being of employees by providing clear guidelines on safety procedures, reporting of hazards, and emergency response plans.
Key Elements: Identification of potential workplace hazards, measures for preventing accidents and injuries, procedures for the use and maintenance of protective equipment, and training requirements for employees on health and safety practices.
Legal Framework: Governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which sets out employer duties to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job.
2. Computer, Internet, and Data Use Policies:
Purpose: To outline acceptable use of company technology and internet resources, ensuring they are used responsibly, ethically, and in a manner that protects company information.
Key Elements: Guidelines on acceptable internet browsing, email usage, software installations, use of social media, data security practices, and prohibitions on illegal activities or inappropriate content.
Legal Framework: Aligns with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) for privacy and data protection, as well as copyright laws for software and digital content.
3. Privacy Policies:
Purpose: To inform employees and clients how personal information is collected, used, disclosed, and protected by the organization, ensuring compliance with privacy laws.
Key Elements: Types of personal information collected, purposes for collection, consent process, information storage and access protocols, and rights of individuals to access their personal information.
Legal Framework: Must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and other relevant provincial privacy laws that protect personal information in the private sector.
4. Non-solicitation, Non-competition, and Confidentiality Agreements:
Purpose: To protect a company’s business interests, confidential information, client relationships, and to prevent unfair competition by restricting certain activities of current and former employees.
- Non-solicitation: Prevents employees from soliciting clients, employees, or suppliers of the employer for a defined period after leaving the company.
- Non-competition: Restricts former employees from starting or working for a competing business within a certain geographic area and time frame after leaving the company.
- Confidentiality: Employees are obligated to keep proprietary and sensitive information confidential during and after their employment.
Legal Framework: Governed by common law principles and must be reasonable in scope, geography, and duration to be enforceable. Ontario courts are cautious about enforcing non-competition agreements unless it’s clearly necessary to protect legitimate business interests.
Employers should regularly review and update these policies to ensure they remain compliant with current laws and reflect the evolving nature of the workplace. Additionally, it is crucial to effectively communicate these policies to all employees and provide necessary training to ensure understanding and compliance.
Sultan Lawyers: Drafting, Reviewing and Amending Employment Policies for Employers
If you are an employer seeking to update your existing workplace policies or to introduce new ones, the knowledgeable employment lawyers at Sultan Lawyers in Toronto can help. We assist organizations in developing effective policies that promote productivity while controlling the risk of liability. We have the experience necessary to guide our clients in the right direction and ensure they strike the appropriate balance between policy and practical implementation. Whether you are dealing with policies aimed at hiring, termination, employment safety or other aspects of a workplace relationship, we are here to provide an effective solution. Contact us online or at 416-214-5111 for a consultation.