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HR Law Advice | Legal HR Advice for Employers

Richard B. Johnson

Co-Founder + Partner
February 15, 2024

Having a legally sound Human Resources (or “HR”) Policy isn’t just to make sure to avoid legal troubles. It’s necessary for creating effective expectations and to create physically and mentally safe workspaces for our employees. Unfortunately, we often see avoidable disconnection between employers and employees. For example, nearly 2 out of 3 Canadian employees feel uninvolved in day-to-day work. This situation has created a phenomenon that has led to a great deal of discussion lately; “quiet quitting”.

So, what’s an HR policy got to do with it? It’s a guideline and a rule book that holds everyone accountable. It’s a framework that dictates communication processes where needed, as well as how employees are expected to act. The Policy can also deal with other rights and responsibilities and the process for managing and addressing internal conflicts and investigations. As a result of the importance of HR policies, we want to take time to address the issue and give you some much needed HR law advice

Proper HR Policies Can Save You

Crafting sound HR policies isn’t just ticking boxes on a compliance checklist. It’s about weaving a safety net that can catch a multitude of issues before they spiral. It’s about safeguarding the heart of your business—its people and practices.

Less Workplace Conflict

Conflict at work is like a disease in the workplace. If not acted upon, it can spread throughout staff and reduce morale. Without action, it doesn’t get better.

Solid HR policies, created in conjunction with legal counsel that understands your business, are effective in alleviating misunderstandings and acrimony, and fostering understanding. They set out the boundaries that guide behavior and set clear expectations—vital for a smooth-sailing team.

Avoid Lawsuits (Protects Against Claims)

The right HR advice for employers serves as armor against the slings and arrows of claims, many of which are avoidable. But a strong legal framework within your HR policies isn’t just a shield; it’s a strategic guide that helps your team handle sensitive situations smartly, keeping the peace and your talent and financial well-being protected.

Become a Top Employer

Aspire to be the employer everyone wants to work with. Quite often, organizations start prioritizing their reputation too late. Of course, for a new company it’s all about sales and profits. But it’s always a good idea to have employee friendly policies and procedures because your reputation takes so long to build.

Improves Employee Morale

When your team has confidence in the HR policies, it shows in their work. Morale climbs, productivity blossoms, and your business reaps the rewards. It’s the kind of cycle that makes the workplace a joy rather than a chore. There are two key elements that we guide our clients through to ensure that the policy works:

1. That is addresses issues clearly and fairly; and
2. That it is followed!

Facilitates Training and Development

HR advice for employers isn’t just about dodging legal bullets; it’s about unlocking the full potential of your team. It’s about creating pathways for growth, learning, and development that ensure your business stays ahead of the curve.

HR Law Advice

The legal landscape with respect to the workplace has changed a lot over recent years. There are more laws and regulations when it comes to protecting employees. But instead of looking at it as a burden, look at it as an opportunity. An opportunity for you to be a better employer, leader and foster a community environment.

Conduct Regular Legal Audits

HR policy-setting is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach. It’s something that you need to regularly revisit. What was once a good policy for a team of 15 might not suffice for a team of 50. Also, new laws and regulations also warrant policy updates which is where particularly good lawyers can provide value and regular updates via blogs, updates and assistance.

It is important to revisit your policies (and employment contracts) from time to time to make sure they comply with the law, address the issues most important to your business, and are being understood and followed.

In specific regard to bullying & harassment, it is mandatory for all BC employers to have a bullying & harassment policy in place and to review it annually.

Implement Comprehensive Training

Training isn’t just about skill-building; it’s about culture-building. Comprehensive training programs translate complex legalities into everyday practices that everyone can understand and follow. It’s a way to create concrete boundaries about workplace conduct as it relates to harassment, bullying, duties and more.

Employment Contracts

Your contracts are the bedrock of your relationships with your employees. Crafting them with legal acumen means they’re not just paperwork—they’re mutual promises that protect and define roles and expectations. And again, this doesn’t just protect you, it’s about ensuring employees clearly understand their roles and duties.

Engage in Proactive Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution isn’t a reactive task—it’s a proactive strategy. Engage with it early, and with legal insights, you transform potential problems into opportunities for strengthening your team’s cohesion. Employees have many tools at their disposal when battling against employer misconduct. You’re on the hook for a lot more these days so make sure you have a conflict resolution process that is legally sound and won’t increase your liability.

Prioritize Employee Privacy and Data Protection

In an age where data is power, protecting your employees’ privacy is paramount. It’s about respect, trust, and legal compliance. Make sure your HR policies treat personal information with the sanctity it deserves.

Establish Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policies

Creating a workplace that’s free from discrimination and harassment isn’t just good practice—it’s the law. As of 2013, all British Columbia employers were mandated to have a bullying and harassment policy. It’s not just good for business, it’s the right thing to do. Foster a culture of respect with policies that protect everyone under your wing.

Employer Rights Lawyer

HR policy is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Every sector and industry have their own unique problems. If you need more than just legal HRV advice and need help crafting original and legally-sound HR policies, reach out to Ascent Employment Law.

We’re dedicated to enhancing both your company’s operations and your team’s well-being with customized, hands-on legal strategies. Our goal is single-minded: to provide you with the tools and advice you need to not only resolve your current HR challenges but to also forge a stronger, more resilient workplace for the future.