Recap: Virtual Employer Forum – The What, Why and How of Workplace Policies

For our February Employer Forum, we turned our attention to workplace policies: What are they, why do you need them, and how should you put them into place?

KEL lawyers Fiona McFarlane and Stephanie Cousineau led the discussion, which included a review of the relevant legislation and certain key common law principles, and an introduction to “best practices” for creating bullying and harassment, social media, privacy and WFH policies.

For those of you who weren’t able to make it, here are a few key takeaways:

  1. Know your legal obligations. Human rights codes, privacy statutes and occupational health and safety rules are just some of the legal frameworks you will need to consider when crafting your workplace policies. When it comes to workplace safety in particular, the WorkSafeBC website provides a number of helpful resources you can use as a starting point.
  2. Communication is key. Your policies should be simple, clear, easily accessed by your employees, and followed by all. One good practice is to remind employees about the location and content of your various policies every 12 to 18 months using your preferred communication channel (e.g. email, intranet, Slack, etc.).
  3. We’re here to help. Although workplace policies may seem to fall solely within the purview of your human resources department, it’s always wise to have an experienced employment lawyer review them as well. We can help you with #1 above, and also ensure that the language you use in your policies – such as “bullying and harassment” – is consistent with the legal definitions of these terms.

Our next Employer Forum, focusing on workplace mental health – something of crucial importance to employers during these strange and challenging times – will take place in April 2021.  If you’d like to attend the April event or be added to our newsletter mailing list, please contact Fiona McFarlane at fionam@kentemploymentlaw.com.

Have questions about your workplace policies? Contact us!

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