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Playing by the Rules: The limits on employer rules and policies

Thursday, April 16, 2020, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

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Mark Asbell



Saneliso Moyo

Union Counsel
Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP
David Woolias

Employer Counsel


Employers have the right to manage their workplaces, including by creating and implementing rules with disciplinary consequences, but in a unionized environment, the rules must be reasonable, clear, and uniformly applied. When do employer rules go too far? Can employers enforce rules that infringe on their employees' privacy, right to self-expression, or personal autonomy? In this session, legal experts will clarify the limits on employer rules and policies, with a focus on the following issues:

  • What are the general legal principles governing the validity of unilaterally imposed employer rules? Are all attempts to exercise management rights and create rules to govern the workplace subject to the test of reasonableness?
  • What do the latest cases say about an employer's ability to implement rules and policies on using technology to monitor its employees, equipment, and premises? What balance are adjudicators striking between an employer's right to manage the workplace and employees' privacy interests in this context?
  • What types of health and safety concerns justify employer policies that infringe on employees' privacy rights? Can an employer implement a policy that requires employees to disclose all drug or alcohol use? Can an employer mandate flu shots or other infection-control measures?
  • What restrictions are imposed on employer rules requiring medical information for the administration of sick leave, attendance management, or short- or long-term disability programs?
  • Are employers entitled to enforce a dress code or other rules governing employees' personal appearance at work? Is an employer required to accommodate employees who express their cultural identity through the way they dress? When an employee's religious dress conflicts with workplace health and safety, how do adjudicators strike an appropriate balance?
  • In what circumstances, if any, can an employer justify a rule that will limit employees' freedom while off duty? Will arbitrators and courts uphold discipline based on policies that require abstinence from cannabis during off-duty hours or for prolonged periods before an employee has to report to work?
  • Must employees always "work now and grieve later" if they wish to challenge an employer rule? If not, what are the exceptions?


CPHR Alberta

CPD hours for this event can be logged online, through your CPHR Alberta member profile.

HRPA Continuing Professional Development

This program has been approved for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours under Section A3 of the Recertification Log of the Human Resources Professionals Association.

HRMA Continuing Professional Development

This audio conference has been approved by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon (CPHR BC & YK) for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours. Be sure to note the Event Identification Number in your CPHR Recertification Log.

Lancaster House CPD
  • This audio conference has been approved by the Law Society of British Columbia for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Law Society of Saskatchewan should contact their Law Society regarding CPD approval.
  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Ontario: 1.5 Substantive Hours; 0 Professionalism Hours.
  • This audio conference has been approved by the Law Society of New Brunswick for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society may count this program for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.

Additional Information

Valuable, up-to-date materials and case summaries will be available for downloading from our website. Each audio conference is accompanied by a PDF of concise summaries of the cases discussed.

Live Session – $265, plus HST
Live Session for 2 or more (Boardroom fee) – $530, plus HST
Bundle Rate – Purchase a Live Session and receive the companion MP3 Recording for $165, plus HST
MP3 Recording – $265, plus HST
(Registrations must be paid in advance of the audio conference)
Contact us for discount pricing on the entire series.

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $265. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $165.

The recorded MP3 file and materials are available for download one business day after the live audio conference. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the audio conference MP3 file and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For audio file purchases for upcoming audio conferences, once the MP3 file is available through our site, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

When you register, you'll be given a toll-free number to dial at the time of the session and an access code to join the call. For additional program and registration information, call Lancaster House at (416) 977-6618.

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