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  • HR Heartbeat: The daylight savings pay dilemma, looming AODA deadlines and….

HR Heartbeat: The daylight savings pay dilemma, looming AODA deadlines and….

This week’s HR Heartbeat breaks down the daylight savings pay dilemma, why an employee’s late discrimination claim flew and lots more.

First published on Tuesday, Oct 31, 2023

Last updated on Tuesday, Oct 31, 2023

5 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business. Plus get up-to-the-minute commentary on all things HR and legal.

So, let's check out this week's headlines..

Time twist pay dilemma

Daylight Savings Time in Canada will end this weekend. The clocks will officially go back at 2 AM on Sunday, November 5th, 2023, meaning a few lucky workers will get an extra hour of sleep and not work!

This twice-a-year event can be a confusing time for some employers, especially if you pay your employees by the hour. If you have an employee working a late shift, they'd likely have worked an extra hour by the time they clock out.

So, does that mean you have to pay them for the extra hour?

Employers should consider providing hourly employees without a fixed schedule extra pay as their pay tends to fluctuate, reflecting only the hours they worked.

On the other hand, workers with a set schedule will come in and leave at their usual time without a change in pay. While this is a disadvantage for them in the fall, it's made up in the spring, when they will work one less hour.

It's typically best practice to state in your staff members' employment contract that work hours will be subject to change due to business needs, and only hours they work will be considered for payment and overtime.

Learn more about your legal obligations as an employer when the clocks go back.

It's all in the past now… or is it?

It seems like the past came back to haunt this employer…

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal recently accepted an employment discrimination complaint based on gender that was filed two and half years past the deadline.

The ex-employee (who was the company's first female driver) endured over a year of harassment and discrimination. This included derogatory name-calling, receiving ill-fitting uniforms, and lewd comments from her coworkers.

Typically, complaints must be filed** within one year** of the alleged violation, so why did the Tribunal make an exception? The former employee argued ongoing mental disabilities, a lengthy WorkSafeBC claims process, and unawareness of her rights as reasons for her late filing.

Even though her complaint was late, the Tribunal found it in the public interest to proceed. Plus, medical records proved her mental disabilities were triggered by workplace harassment and prevented her from filing early.

The employer argued they no longer had relevant documentation on the former employee and her manager. The Tribunal dismissed their argument and maintained that evidence could easily be retrieved from WorkSafeBC's records.

This case is a stark reminder to employers that they must maintain a safe work environment for all employees, and train staff about workplace harassment and discrimination—even after an employee leaves the company.

Tick Tock goes the AODA clock

As the upcoming AODA December 31st 2023 deadline draws closer, we're reminding all employers in Ontario with more than 20 employees that they must provide an update on their AODA training.

In addition to showing you've provided AODA training to all employees, you must show it covers the accessibility customer service standard, work-related accessibility topics, the Ontario Human Rights Code, and business accessibility policies.

Covering these topics will make sure your employees are familiarized with their responsibilities under AODA and learn the skills they need to assist people with disabilities who may need help assessing your company's services.

Need help getting e-learning courses designed in line with AODA standards? Look no further than BrightLearn, our e-learning platform loaded with all the mandatory courses for Ontario employers.

That's it for today! Come back next week for more HR news so you stay ahead of major employment law changes.

Have more questions on similar topics and more? BrightLightning has thousands of answers to all your HR and health & safety dilemmas.

What do I do if an employee says they are being discriminated against?

This can be treated as a grievance issue so the usual grievance procedures will apply. Keep in mind that allegations of bullying, discrimination or harassment should be taken seriously and investigated fully, to avoid tribunal claims being raised. You might need to start a disciplinary process with the other employee as these actions can often be classed as gross misconduct.

How can I prevent daylight savings time from affecting my business?

Having a clause in your worker’s employment contract stating that their hours of work will be subject to change due to the needs of the business may reduce the effects of daylight savings time. This clause should cover any fluctuation in hours resulting from the time change, but you may choose to provide additional payment for time worked depending on how your employees are paid (i.e., salaried, hourly, etc.). Employers should be mindful that business policies should be consistent and apply to all employees.

What is the AODA in Ontario?

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was enacted in 2005 to develop, implement, and enforce standards that achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. The AODA establishes accessibility standards related to recruitment, hiring, workplace policies and support mechanisms, accommodation requirements, performance management, and career advancement that apply to provincially regulated organizations in the public and private sector.

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