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Looking Back: The Stories that Made Headlines

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Talent Management

The way employees are treated in the workplace matters. To find evidence of this, one needn’t look any further than the multitude of HR-related stories that made headlines in 2019. Here, we look back on some of these stories.

1) KFC Franchise Loses Discrimination Case Over Breastfeeding

A former Delaware Kentucky Fried Chicken employee, Autumn Lampkins, was awarded over $1.5 million after a lawsuit concerning accommodations for pumping breast milk. The lawsuit alleged the restaurant prevented her from pumping breast milk frequently enough to maintain her supply, and for asking her to do so in an office that was monitored by surveillance cameras. A jury entered a verdict awarding Lampkins $25,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.

The Takeaway: Stories such as this one highlight the importance of being aware of employee rights and ensuring company practices are not discriminatory. As this case shows, mistakes surrounding workplace discrimination can prove extremely costly. It is important to understand employer responsibilities to accommodate employees in the workplace.

2) Saskatoon Employees Win Wrongful Dismissal Suit

Two directors of the SaskTel Centre sports complex won a wrongful dismissal suit that arose over $8,000 worth of travel expenses, accrued during a trip to Phoenix. In February, Justice Richard Elson of Court of Queen’s Bench ruled in their favour. A key factor in the ruling was that the expenses had been approved by the employees’ immediate supervisor.

The Takeaway: Terminations are always stressful for all involved. If you are dealing with an employee situation that may lead to termination, it is a very good idea to get external HR and legal help to review the situation and help to illuminate any pertinent details that may leave the door open for a wrongful dismissal suit.

3) Salesforce Continues its Reign on “Best Workplaces” Lists

In 2019, cloud computing provider Salesforce continued to land on “Best Workplaces” lists, including scooping the #2 spot on the 2019 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

Salesforce has built a culture based on values that build a strong company and a strong workforce. The company strives to create an “ohana” culture, one where employees feel like family and are supported as such. Salesforce also focuses on philanthropic giving, which resonates especially strongly with its Millennial and Generation Z employees. This philosophy helps to create a strong company which is continually recognized for its efforts.

The Takeaway: A company’s values and the resulting culture they create have an enormous impact on its employees, and, by extension, impact the company’s success. Focusing on creating a healthy, vibrant workplace culture is simply a smart business decision.

4) Hewlett Packard Enterprise begins Offering Paid Parental Leave

In April, technology giant Hewlett Packard announced that new parents will be eligible for six months of paid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. Additionally, new parents will have the opportunity to work part-time for up to 36 months.

The Takeaway: Government-mandated minimums are just that – minimums. Employers can choose to offer benefits packages that far surpass their legal obligations, and doing so can be an important recruitment and retention tool for attracting and keeping the best employees.

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Further Reading

Other articles you may be interested in:

New Year, New Legislation: Alberta Leaves of Absence

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Company Culture Series: Company Traditions

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