News briefs (Jan. 27, 2002)

Hot legal topics in 2003

— Continued workforce reductions will bring a flood of wrongful practice allegations, including claims of age discrimination and whistleblower retaliation, in 2003, according to a survey by the Employment Law Alliance (ELA). Canadian-based members of the ELA ranked their top six hot topics as: family and medical leave requests; disability discrimination; disputes over disability accommodations; wrongful termination; investigations of employee misconduct; and threats of violence.

Can't sleep? Don't blame the boss

— A tire company worker who claimed shift work caused him to have debilitating insomnia is not entitled to workers’ compensation, according to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. In January 2002, the Workers’ Compensation Board appeals tribunal recognized “shift work maladaption syndrome” or “shift work sleep disorder” as a condition that should be compensated, a decision that raised fears of a dangerous precedent for employers.

IT hiring slow in Q1 2003

— Just 10 per cent of CIOs said they plan to expand IT departments in the coming months and five per cent anticipate staff cutbacks. The vast majority of CIOs — 85 per cent — expect no change in hiring. A cooling down in the IT labour market means hiring managers don’t have to settle for the first candidate who walks through the door, said Stephen Mill, of Robert Half Technology.

B.C. gov't changes pay process

— The B.C. government is changing the way it pays employees in a move expected to save $3.5 million. Under the current process, an employee’s pay, issued every two weeks, is based on one week actually worked and the estimated pay for one week not yet worked. This often results in inaccurate cheques that require adjustments. B.C. is introducing a one-week shift in the payroll cycle to set up a new process in February. During this transition, employees will be paid for one week’s work. To reduce the impact, the government is advancing staff the equivalent of one week’s pay.

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