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Discipline Flashpoints: Benefit fraud, harassment, off-duty misconduct, and other current concerns

Thursday, March 4, 2021, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EST

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Kim Bernhardt



Michael Shapiro

Union Counsel
Dickie & Company Law Corporation
Sara Yousefi

Employer Counsel
Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP


The questions of whether discipline is warranted and what constitutes an appropriate penalty are perennially contentious issues for workplace parties. These issues are further compounded by the fact that disciplinary sanctions change in accordance with evolving societal attitudes, with some forms of misconduct meriting harsher disciplinary consequences than in the past. In this session, experienced counsel will explore recent disciplinary decisions, with a focus on the following current issues:

  • What is the test to establish benefit fraud? Is benefit fraud always incompatible with continued employment? What are some aggravating factors that weigh against reinstatement? Failure to demonstrate complete honesty when the scheme is uncovered? The nature of the offence and magnitude of the conduct? Lack of candour at a hearing?
  • In what circumstances will an employer be justified in disciplining a worker for off-duty misconduct? What type of evidence is required to establish that off-duty conduct has harmed an employer's business interests, including its reputation? Will an employer be required to establish that continuing to employ the worker will result in actual harm to its reputation, or will the potential for harm be sufficient?
  • What are some examples of misconduct that, due to changing social norms and new legislative protections, is now considered to deserve more severe disciplinary penalties than may have been previously imposed?
  • What factors do arbitrators consider when assessing the appropriate disciplinary penalty for harassing behaviour? Are arbitrators receptive to arguments that complainants failed to protest or clearly state that the behaviour made them uncomfortable when determining whether conduct constitutes harassment?
  • Will a workplace's "rougher" culture provide an excuse or be considered a mitigating factor for bullying or abusive behaviour? Are arbitrators moving away from downplaying demeaning behaviour and slurs, characterizing them as "shop talk" or "locker room talk"?
  • How significant is remorse as a factor when assessing the disciplinary penalty? Are there any measures that workers should consider taking to demonstrate that they are truly remorseful?


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.

Lancaster House CPD
  • This webinar has been approved by the CPHR BC & Yukon for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Ontario: 1.5 Substantive Hours; 0 Professionalism Hours.
  • Members of the Law Society of New Brunswick may count this program 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.
  • This webinar has been approved for 1.5 CPD hours with CPHR Alberta.

Additional Information

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

Webinar video and MP3 files are available for $265. Those who have purchased the live webinar may purchase the corresponding downloadable video and MP3 file for the discounted price of $165.

The video recording, MP3 file, and materials are available for download and viewing one business day after the live webinar. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the video recording, MP3 file, and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For purchases for upcoming webinars, once the video recording and MP3 file and materials are available, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

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