Last month, Kent Employment Law hosted one of its regular Employer Forums in Vancouver. This time, we took on the challenge of tackling two timely workplace issues: #metoo and gender.
Joining us again at long last was our good friend Heidi Eaves, an experienced and savvy human resources professional. Heidi provided our guests with practical advice while KEL lawyers Trevor Thomas, Richard Johnson, Erin Brandt and Simon Kent shared their legal perspectives on two key employer concerns, namely:
- How to create a welcoming and safe environment for employees struggling with gender issues, and
- How to reduce liability for workplace sexual harassment.
For those of you who weren’t able to make it, here are our top 3 Forum takeaways for employers, HR professionals and other business leaders:
- Know your obligations under BC’s Human Rights Code. Gender identity, gender expression, and sex are all protected grounds under the Code – this means that BC employers are prohibited from discriminating against their employees on these (and other) grounds. Understanding your responsibilities – and your employees’ rights – under the Code reduces your risk of facing liability for workplace discrimination.
- Communicate. Employers are often hesitant to ask employees what they need to feel safe and respected in the workplace. This reluctance may result from not wanting to offend the employee, or wishing to avoid an awkward conversation. Regardless, such conversations need to take place and there are ways to have such discussions with care and respect. Ultimately, the responsibility to create and maintain a safe workplace is yours.
- Ask for help. Questions about gender and sexual harassment are complicated. Speak to a human resources consultant. Speak to a lawyer. Proactive advice can go a long way to help you protect your employees and your business.
Have questions about how to deal with challenging workplace issues? Contact us!