Videogame Addiction

Posted by Johannes Schenk on June 18th, 2006 — Posted in Employment Law, Human Rights Law

There seems to be a new addiction: Videogame addiction. See this Washington Post article that discusses gaming addiction. Amsterdam’s Smith and Jones Addiction Consultants now offers treatment for gaming addiction. Research on gaming addiction is thin at this point in time with debate on whether this is a real addiction. You can, however, bet that this problem will find it’s way into the workplace and will be raised as a defence to some employee’s discipline case.

If this is a real addiciton, and requires an accommodation, I would imagine that part of the acommodation would involve the employee staying away from computers. How would you achieve that without undue hardship in this day and age?

Commercial Arbitration Act: No Reinstatement Jurisdiction

Posted by Johannes Schenk on June 14th, 2006 — Posted in Employment Law, Labour Law

Randhawa v. The Pepsi Bottling Group (Canada) Co., 2006 BCCA 273, is an interesting case concerning a dismissal arbitration under the BC Commercial Arbitration Act. The BC Court of Appeal confirmed that the Arbitrator did not have jurisdiction to order a reinstatement of the employee in the arbitration.

Employment Responsibilities in a Recreational Setting

Posted by Johannes Schenk on June 9th, 2006 — Posted in Employment Law

There are all sorts of ways that businesses and like entities get themselves into trouble. One way is by the actions of their employees. If you run an exercise or activity based program you and your employees must understand the responsibilities that you have with respect to the supervising the safe conduct of your patrons’ activities. As an employer you must understand that you are for the most part liable for the actions (or inaction) of your employees and the consequences that follow.

One issue that frequently arises in recreational settings is: when is the session over? When is the running store run, the river rafting trip, the wrestling class, the swim lesson, the hockey game over? When does the responsibility for your employees to supervise the activity group end? The answer to that is that you and your employees must make it clear that the session is over and must ensure that the patrons have left the premises and stopped using your equipment, at least to the extent that you can control the premises and the equipment use.

The Lam case concerned a serious Judo accident that took place at an Ontario University some years ago now. The session was over and the instructor left to go home. Several of the judoka stayed after the official practice was over to continue sparring with one of the participants being rendered paraplegic. The Court found that the accident would not have occured under the instructor’s supervision with the result that liability for the accident fell on the shouldes of the instructor and his employer the Judo club. The situation was complicated by the fact that the session took place in a multi-use facility room.

Nevertheless, to avoid this type of liability you as an employer must examine the activity that you are offering and that your employees are supervising and you must ensure that your employees understand their obligations with respect to supervising the activity. You must also determine when and how the activity session will end and how you will ensure that you and your employees terminate their supervisory role over that activity.

More Office Romance?

Posted by Johannes Schenk on June 8th, 2006 — Posted in Employment Law

As an employee whatever you do don’t do this.

Whitehouse v. RBC Dominion Securities Inc., 2006 ABQB 372 concerns a very highly paid executive employee that invites some company up to the office for a little after hours entertainment. This is about as delicate as I could put it. The matter unravels over a fee payment of $140.00 and said entertainer’s collection efforts.

Certainly not complex or scholarly legal stuff, but characteristic of the way that employment law can reveal human frailty and the tragic circumstances that follow.

Office Romance

Posted by Johannes Schenk on June 8th, 2006 — Posted in Employment Law

This is a touchy matter. As an employer you like to give your group some latitude but there always comes a point when the relationship interferes with the workplace. Especially when managers have relations with subordinates. Carroll v. Emco Corporation 2006 BCSC 861, is a case of a male manager who has successive relations with two female subordinates. This gay lothario was dismissed for a conflict of interest and for being dishonest with the company about his relations with the employees. The conflict in this case is obvious and manifested itself as favouritism towards the subordinate employee. The relationships ended up in open arguments in the workplace between the trysting employees. Of note is the company’s offer to transfer the manager to another nearby location that was rejected.

This is a bad example of a workplace relationship that the Company had to act on. I really don’t see that the company had any other choice.