Robert Smithson's Legal Ease - Are Overtime Class Actions History?


In 2007 a group of current and former CIBC employees launched a class action lawsuit claiming over $500 million in damages for unpaid overtime. Two years later, that class action has been rejected by an Ontario court, perhaps signaling the end of such claims.

Dara Fresco was the named plaintiff on behalf of over 31,000 current and former front line service workers in over 1,000 retail branches of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The action claimed CIBC breached its statutory and contractual obligation to pay the appropriate overtime rates.

Tim Cork's Thought for the Week

We Are All Straight A's At This Moment ...

When my son was sixteen, a friend asked him whether he has ever been a straight-A student. His reply was, “In grade school I had straight A’s.” The friend then asked him if he was still a straight-A student. He replied, “Yes, because at the start of each school year we all start out with straight A’s.”

Your present needs to be your focus. You are now, at this moment, a straight-A person, student, or parent. As soon as you believe and start acting like one, you are one. The past is just experience to build from. As my son came to realize, it’s after the first few days of school that you either maintain your straight A’s or settle for something less.

Robert Smithson's Legal Ease - Employees can't hide on the internet


It seems, from my perspective, to have become fashionable for employees to publish critical comments about their employer (or former employer) on the internet. In many instances, these publications are accomplished using a pseudonym.

The nature of the comments can cross the boundary into being legally actionable for, as an example, defamation. What the publishers of these comments don’t seem to understand is that using a pseudonym when violating the rights of others may not protect them from legal liability.

Robert Smithson's Legal Ease - Avoiding a workplace "tragedy of the commons"


Garrett Hardin’s dilemma of the “tragedy of the commons” states that multiple individuals who act in their own interest will tend to destroy a common resource. Employers should be looking to avoid a workplace version of this “tragedy”.

The scenario by which Hardin’s theory is often explained is that of cow herders sharing a common, finite parcel of grazing land. The grazing pasture will support only a limited number of cows.

Thought for the week from Tim Cork - What do you Love?

What do you Love?

“Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to
work a day in your life.”
– Harvey MacKay

People are good at what they love. Passion drives us if we truly love to do something, whether we’re at work or play. Make a list of 10 to 20 things you love or love doing. Then make sure that what’s on that list is the foundation of everything you do in life. If you don’t love what you are doing and where you are, then make a change. Fill out this list:

Robert Smithson's Legal Ease - Regulating the Office Romance


Employment lawyers commonly advise employers who are asking how to eliminate personal relationships between employees. That result is likely one which is unachievable, both legally and practically.

As adults, many of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work - the workplace is our primary venue for social interaction. Surveys have indicated that over one-half of employees have been romantically involved with a co-worker and almost one-fifth of employees met their spouse at work.

How to give your employees a motivational talk

Most leaders and managers are not natural presenters. When speaking to employees, keep these tricks of the trade in mind:

- Be clear about the goal for your message. Try to drive home one to three points at the most. Anything more won't be memorable. You can support this by putting up a visual summary of the points you want them to remember.

- Connect with individuals. When President Obama gives a talk, he will focus on making eye contact with one person at a time. Rotate around the room and make sure to give your attendees a few moments of your time.

Thought for the week from Tim Cork - Be Enthusiastic

Be Enthusiastic

“Enthusiasm glows, radiates, permeates and immediately
captures everyone's interest.”
– Paul J. Meyer

You must believe in what you are selling, promoting, managing, or doing and transfer this belief to the buyer. This is especially true when “the product” you are selling is yourself and the buyer is your spouse or child or friend. In fact, you are always selling yourself. Regardless of what your product or service is, people are really buying you. Through your enthusiasm, you can be effective. If you are feeling good about yourself and your product, you will be successful. However, showing excessive enthusiasm or false enthusiasm is a quick way to turn people off. Enthusiasm must be sincere. When it is, real energy will be released. Your motive will be apparent.

Why HR Matters.......a great quote from Jack Welch!

"[If] there was ever a time to underscore the importance of HR, it has arrived. And sadly, if there was ever a time to see how few companies get HR right, it has arrived, too ... If their company is in a crisis — or their own career — perhaps they've at last seen the light. HR matters enormously in the good times. It defines you in the bad."

Jack Welch
Business Week

What Makes Sense Now?

Here's what I'm doing with my employees to manage more effectively in this economy.

These ideas make sense for your organization, no matter its size or industry:

- Be very clear with workers about how the business makes and keeps money. Although I've always had open-book management, to help employees understand the numbers that much better, I had them watch the HR That Works The Accounting Game Webinar. You might want to have at least your management team do the same thing.

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