Melissa Kennedy is a labour relations, employment and human
resources specialist who assists clients with proactively managing
compliance, risk and ensuring best practices are in place.
The excitement is building in anticipation of this year's
annual McCarthy Tétrault Client Conference on Friday,
November 7, 2014.
The Conference will open with a plenary discussion of Mental
Health in the Workplace. As society works to remove the stigma
associated with mental health issues, employers grapple with how to
identify, address and manage such issues in the workplace. In
this session, Paul Boniferro, myself and special guest speaker Dr.
Ash Bender will bring together three key perspectives –
legal, human resources and occupational medicine – to provide
insight and practical advice on this difficult but increasingly
Dr. Bender is a staff psychiatrist with the Mood and Anxiety
Disorders Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
(CAMH). He is the Medical Head of the Work, Stress and Health
(WSH) program which is a multidisciplinary program specializing in
assessment, treatment and research of occupational disability. Dr.
Bender is also an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Medicine
at the University of Toronto and has several publications in the
area of workplace mental health.
In order to bridge the gap between the three key perspectives
– legal, human resources and occupational medicine –
the presentation will focus on the following:
Emerging legal issues for employers
How organizations can take a proactive approach
Communicating with employees about mental health
Addressing employee concerns and the accommodation process
Special circumstances and challenges for employers
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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