Posts Tagged ‘ standard ’

A Work-Life Balance Standard: Helping Employers Distinguish Themselves

Human resources specialists (and corporate social human resources specialists, as Elaine Cohen prefers), take note!  Earlier this month, the government of Québec introduced a new program – apparently the first of its kind in the world – to certify employers that implement work-life balance initiatives.

The foundation of the program is a new reference guide, developed by the provincial standard-setting Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ), in consultation with employers, employee representatives, academics, and government representatives, that specifies mandatory requirements and best practice elements of an employer’s work-life balance initiative. The work-life balance standard, or “la norme Conciliation travail-famille” (BNQ 9700-820), can be applied to any organization in the public or private sector, regardless of size or type of business.

Click here to learn about the scope of the work-life balance standard

How not to legislate Corporate Social Responsibility

Today in Canada’s House of Commons, Bill C-571, a Private Member’s Bill (that is, a Bill proposed by a Member of Parliament, rather than the government), had its first reading.  Bill C-571, referred to as the Trade in Conflict Minerals Act, is intended to deal with corporate practices relating to the purchase of minerals from the Great Lakes Region of Africa (which includes Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania).

While the trade in so-called conflict minerals is an issue worth action, this Bill is not the answer. Here’s why…

A new “standard” is needed for claims

Twice in recent months, I’ve read about companies getting into hot water over their handling of damage claims in the wake of accidental events.

First, BP was taken to task for using waivers and spill settlement agreements that limited the right of volunteer oil-spill responders and coastal residents to sue the company (BP told to stop distributing oil spill settlement agreements, CBS News, May 3 2010).  Then, in August, similar complaints were leveled against Enbridge, following its pipeline spill in Michigan, alleging residents who were filing for damages were required to sign a “full and final settlement release form” that discharged liability against the company (Enbridge denies allegations of coercion, Globe and Mail, September 1 2010).

In both cases, the companies argued the forms they were using were “standard” forms (BP admits “misstep” over oil spill claims waivers, Reuters, May 3 2010).

I understand the need for the companies to establish a robust claims process and to protect themselves from illegitimate and unreasonable claims.  However, in these cases, the “standard” of care was inappropriate and unfair. Continue reading

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