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Fall 2003 Edition- September 2003 Volume 3

"The Stay Interview" and Hot Issues in Employment Law Today
Toronto Spring Workshop

A group of almost 100 attendees gathered in Toronto on June 11 for a very topical Spring Workshop. The session included a talk on "The Stay Interview" by Marge Watters, a partner with KWA Partners in Toronto, and the consistently popular "Employment Law -- Today's Hottest Issues" by Kristen Lopes, a lawyer with Ogilvy Renault.

Each year, many companies spend far more on recruiting replacement employees than investing in keeping the star employees they already have on staff. Even in today's tight job market, companies are still competing to hire and retain the top talent in their industries. Attracting and retaining such employees are crucial ways in which Human Resources can have a lasting impact on the bottom line.

According to Ms. Watters, employees stay for two reasons: good management and opportunities for career development. In the ideal employment relationship, career development is a shared responsibility that involves the employee and their supervisor, and is supported by the organization. Regular conversations about the employee's future that include evaluation of achievements to date and action plans for the future, among other things, are great tools.

Employees should find and develop their "strategic advantage" as a first step in opening up new career paths. This advantage can stem from their work style, skills, knowledge, interests and values. By helping employees what tools they have for success and by providing clear direction about internal policies and processes for career development, organizations can retain their top talent and help to ensure future success.

Kristen Lopes, of Ogilvy Renault, focused on changes in legislation relating to discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The session began by reviewing current and new legislation surrounding the pre-employment phase, including advertising, application forms, interviewing, testing and reference checks.

She then went on to speak about issues in the employment phase, such as racial discrimination, workplace harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination relating to pregnancy, religious beliefs and marital status. Each participant was given a booklet giving detailed examples and case law that explained what would constitute discrimination and harassment and how to avoid such situations.

Those who attended the workshop were very satisfied with the information they received and with the interactive nature of the session.


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