Technology enters the workplace in many ways and there are a
number of risks and issues that employers need to consider.
Cybersecurity and Data
A number of data breaches have been making headline news. These
threats do not only come from criminal hackers or other external
sources. Much of the risk around data security comes from the way
employees manage company data. Instituting policies, practices and
training around acceptable use, storage and retention of employer
data, systems and property is key.
Employee Misuse of Social
Where there is a nexus between an employer and inappropriate
content posted online by an employee, such conduct may provide a
basis for employee discipline up to and including termination of
employment. A number of recent cases demonstrate that terminating
with just cause is possible, particularly when the post is harmful
or potentially harmful to the employer.
When Not to Discipline For
Misuse of Social Media
While disciplining employees for misuse of social media is quite
appropriate in many circumstances, on the other hand, we may find
that Canada follows the U.S. trend in which some employees argue
that social media posts are protected or that discipline is an
unlawful reprisal under employment standards and other
Privacy on Workplace
Employees will likely have some expectation of privacy on workplace
computers where personal use is permitted. This expectation of
privacy can be limited by way of computer use policies that provide
for employer monitoring of workplace computers, where the employer
has a legitimate need to conduct monitoring and where such
monitoring is reasonable in scope. Such policies should be clearly
communicated to employees.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
In August 2015, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Alberta
Information and Privacy Commissioner and the B.C. Information &
Privacy Commissioner issued joint guidance for organizations
considering the implementation of BYOD programs, where employees
are permitted to use personal mobile devices for both business and
personal purposes. BYOD programs give rise to privacy and security
risks that warrant careful consideration prior to rollout.
Social Media Background
Pre-hire social media background checks may give rise to privacy
concerns, including in respect of issues of consent, accuracy,
over-collection of information, collection of irrelevant
information and collection of the personal information of third
parties. Such background checks must be reasonable in the
circumstances of the employer's operations and should be
carried out in accordance with guidance from Canadian privacy
Educating Employees on
Given the growth of electronically stored information and a growing
tendency for employees to email or text rather than use the
telephone, it is important that employees understand that what they
write may be produced in subsequent litigation.
Protecting Your Client List
from Employees' Online Presence
Who owns the social media account? In this era of online
networking, employees may leave their employment with a social
media account that functions as a client list or company contact
point. This may undermine contractual non-competition and
non-solicitation covenants. To help manage risk in this respect,
employers should establish corporate ownership of social media
accounts that are used for business purposes, including by way of
the employer's social media policy.
Policies dealing with email, Internet, acceptable use, social
media, electronic devices or BYOD, travel and passwords should
regularly be reviewed and updated given the changing digital
landscape. Education around phishing emails and other nefarious
communications is also important.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Please join members of the Blakes Commercial Real Estate group as they discuss five key provisions of a commercial real estate purchase agreement that are often the subject of much negotiation but are sometimes misunderstood.
Emotional culture is influenced in great part by the mindset and actions of leadership, although employees also play more of a role than they may realize in creating the culture that exists in the group.
The session will be led by Dr. Robert Brooks, an award-winning author and psychologist. In his presentation, Dr. Brooks will describe the mindset and realistic practices of leaders and staff that help to nurture and sustain a culture characterized by positive emotions, satisfying, respectful relationships, a sense of meaning and ownership for one’s work, and enhanced job performance. Examples will be offered to illustrate strategies for developing a positive emotional culture in an organization.
Join leading lawyers from the Blakes Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation group as they discuss recent updates and legal developments in pension and employee benefits law as well as strategies to identify and minimize common risks.
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.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).