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  • HR Heartbeat: Drinking on the job, back to school for truckers and….

HR Heartbeat: Drinking on the job, back to school for truckers and….

This week, we explore the importance of accommodating employee disability, how unclear contracts lead to wrongful dismissal wins and why B.C. truckers are heading back to school

First published on Monday, Aug 21, 2023

Last updated on Tuesday, Aug 22, 2023

2 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..

The devil's in the fine print 

This case is an ode to the importance of clear employment contracts.

If a recent decision from the Alberta Court of Appeals isn't enough of a wake-up call to make sure your termination provisions are clear and realistic, then we don't know what is!

Three employees brought a wrongful dismissal and pay in lieu of common law notice case against their employer for terminating them without reasonable common law notice. The employer argued that their termination clauses stated they were entitled to sixty (60) days or more of written notice, which is how much severance the employees were paid.

The Court ruled in favor of the employees because using the term or more about notice periods is unclear and leaves room for interpretation. This meant the employees were automatically entitled to common law right to reasonable notice.

At this point, we'd like to remind employers that common law notice can be as much as 24 months.

If you'd like to avoid paying huge sums of severance pay, consider using straightforward language or terms that remove the right to common law notice.

If you're in a similar position or would like to avoid legal trouble, get BrightAdvice when you’re creating or revising your contracts. Our experts give you added assurance that you've covered every vital area and your clauses are enforceable.  

Drinks, drives, and gets a second chance

The result of this case has left more people than just a drunk driver reeling!

A trucking company in Quebec has been ordered by a Court to reinstate one of their drivers for drinking on the job and crashing a truck. The driver was fired after downing at least 9 beers and losing control of a truck while on the highway.

No one was harmed during the crash, but the employee was arrested with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

The Court stated that the employee had previously disclosed they had a drinking problem (classed as a disability) to the employer. They were also getting medical help to overcome alcoholism at the time but were overwhelmed by a strong urge to drink and gave in to their addiction.

In this situation, the employer should have made accommodations for their disability. Such as introducing new or flexible work arrangements, giving the employee time off to complete their treatment, or offering counselling and other forms of assistance. For more advice on how to handle tough situations, ask BrightLightning:

Back to school for truckers

In more transportation and trucking news, employers in British Columbia must now install electronic logging devices (ELDS) in their vehicles to track their driver's time behind the wheel.

This will help limit the instances of tired drivers getting behind the wheel and make sure they stay in line with the regulated driving time allowed in a day. Plus, it can help reduce employers' paperwork and the associated costs of monitoring drivers' work hours.

Employers must also make provisions for workers to take driver and dispatching training to promote safety and make them aware of the risks of driving while fatigued.

Wondering where to get comprehensive training courses for your drivers? BrightLearn's course on 'Driving for business' covers the rules and procedures for driving and raises awareness of common hazards and control measures to prevent them.

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


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