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Five Common Blunders Employers Make

Whitten and Lublin | Aug 19, 2011

Knowingly or unknowingly, employers engage in workplace practices that help tip the scales in favour of dismissed employees.  In last week’s Metro, employment lawyer Daniel Lublin describes five common workplace blunders, which are reviewed below:

1. Paying only the minimum on dismissal

Assuming it will go without protest, employers often make a practice of offering the minimum.  Read about a case*here* that explains why courts are critical of this approach.

2. Probation

Employers will often draft contracts that make it seem as though probationary periods and severance provisions are non-negotiable.  This is not the case.

3. Resignations

Employers may pressure an employee into leaving, but a true resignation must be voluntary.  Lublin writes about the consequences of being unclear on the difference between a termination and a resignation *here*.

4. Workplace investigations:

“Ironically, employees caught lying during the investigation will give their employers cause for dismissal when their initial behavior did not. “  The captain of a BC Ferry ship found this out the hard way when he was questioned during an investigation into the ship’s sinking.

5. Not properly documenting discipline

In order to uphold dismissal, Lublin says that “courts require that progressive or corrective means should be used first”.  Employment lawyer Cedric Lamarche offers some great ways to address poor conduct in an earlier entry that can be found *here*.

Being aware of these common misconceptions will help advise best practices for managers and HR staff – whereas turning the blind eye will likely lead to costly lawsuits.  Contact Whitten and Lublin if you are curious about how your workplace practices and policies measure up.