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September 18, 2009

Loaning Your Employees to VANOC

The 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Committee ("VANOC") recently launched an "employee loan program", which, according to the news release, offers "businesses and governments the opportunity to give their employees a once-in-a-lifetime professional experience through working temporarily for the Games."1 VANOC has expressed that it has approximately 1,500 jobs to fill in 32 different departments in order to cope with the additional workforce demand. The program was described by Dave Cobb, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of VANOC, as a "win-win situation for everyone" and the news release states that loaned employees will have the opportunity to "broaden their skill set, while getting all the benefits of being a Games-time worker such as an official uniform and a lifetime of memories, secure in the knowledge that their regular job will be there to return to when the Games draw to a close on March 2010." Some of the available positions that have been identified include: Delivery Driver, Performer Service Coordinator, Energy Deputy Manager, Sport Writer, Transportation Manager and Venue Communications Centre Manger.2

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Human Rights Tribunal Declines To Recognize Employee Right To Refuse Overtime

It is common and sometimes necessary for employers to require their employees to work overtime. On the other hand, employees who have children sometimes find it difficult to balance the competing demands of their employers and their family obligations. In a recent decision of the BC Human Rights Tribunal, Falardeau v. Ferguson Moving and others, 2009 BCHRT 272, the Tribunal dealt with a complaint by a terminated employee who alleged that he was discriminated against based on his family status; Mr. Falardeau was fired for refusing to work an overtime shift in order to care for his son. Mr. Falardeau claimed that he had a right to refuse overtime work because of his child care obligations.

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H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu) Update

Despite initial hopes that the spread of the H1N1 strain of flu would not live up to the 'pandemic' label given it by the World Heath Organization, more than 100 people in an aboriginal community north of Tofino, BC have reportedly fallen ill with swine flu, in what's being described as the first pandemic outbreak in Canada's fall flu season.1 These new statistics and the continued persistence of the virus again raise the issue about what employers can do to protect their employees from the virus and also deal with potential increased absenteeism. (Also see our May 2009 article, Coping With Swine Flu and Other Pandemics.)

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