Queen's University IRC

Research Briefs – March 2019

Queen's University IRC - Research Briefs

   Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners

Mar 2019   



In This Issue…

  1. Fireable Offences Without Defences
  2. A Cautionary Tale: 3 Reasons HR Analytics Projects Can Lead to Frustration and Failure
  3. Flashback Feature:
    Downsizing Your Organization? Lessons from the Trenches
   Queen's University Campus 

Fireable Offences Without Defences
Deborah Hudson, Lawyer, Turnpenney Milne LLP, 2019

Termination for ‘just cause’ (and without notice) is often described as the capital punishment of employment law. Consequently, employers face a significant burden when trying to prove just cause at law. Arguing just cause for dismissal may be difficult, but not impossible, especially in circumstances involving dishonesty or lack of trust. Nevertheless, employers should always exercise caution when making just cause allegations, because a legally unsubstantiated just cause termination can be costly. If an arbitrator overturns an employer’s termination decision in a unionized environment, this can result in a decision that reinstates that grievor and provides him or her with significant back pay. Non-unionized employees will generally not be entitled to reinstatement, although, unsubstantiated just cause allegations can be equally expensive. Canadian courts have often awarded significant additional bad faith and/or punitive damages in cases where employers create economic hardship by erroneously asserting just cause and failing to pay an employee’s notice entitlements.

Considering the difficulty in proving just cause, along with the potential monetary consequences for improperly alleging just cause, employers should engage in sufficient procedural steps prior to asserting just cause for termination. Such steps would likely include engaging in a thorough and fair investigative process and/or providing employees with warnings in relation to misconduct.

>> Download Article

A Cautionary Tale: 3 Reasons HR Analytics Projects Can Lead to Frustration and Failure
Jim Harrison, Queen’s IRC Facilitator, 2018

Nothing frustrates me more than to see the expertise, experience and time of HR professionals wasted. And in today’s working environment, I see frustration and failure all too frequently in Analytics projects.

When I say frustration and failure, I refer to the type of Analytics project we have all been involved in. We have pored through oceans of data and done hours of spread sheeting and analysis, and in the end the leaders we have presented our analysis to have put it to one side or seemed confused or unimpressed by our efforts. Somehow we have missed the mark. Or the leader takes one look at our analysis and demands something different – other numbers, more numbers, different charts, flashier graphics – take your pick. And we head off into another round of more effort and increasing frustration.

Why does this happen? Is there too much data? Sometimes. Too much complexity? Possibly. Too little time? Maybe. When these and other analysis challenges arise, it can often lead to the frustration that we have invested time and effort for little or no return. And our managers or leaders are equally frustrated because they are not taking away the insights they need to make informed business decisions.

To make the most efficient use of our time and to increase our chances of success, I’m going to briefly outline three problems that can cause HR analytics projects to stall or go completely off the rails and hopefully point you in directions to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you.

>> Read Article


Flashback Feature:
Downsizing Your Organization? Lessons from the Trenches
Carol A. Beatty, Queen's IRC Facilitator, 2009

In this current difficult economic climate, many organizations are facing the unfortunate necessity to downsize and streamline. Astute executives and HR managers, many of whom have been through previous rounds of downsizing, realize that they must approach it carefully because both research and experience have shown that there are many negative consequences to this process.

The big question for these managers is: “Can we avoid the pitfalls of downsizing and create the best possible outcome for our organization?” The answer is a qualified ‘yes.’ The emotional trauma of downsizing cannot be eliminated totally but the long-term damage to your organization can be minimized. This article will summarize the best practices of organizations and managers who have faced this daunting challenge and the lessons they have learned.

>> Download Article



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