Human Rights in the Workplace, Discussing Human Rights Law Issues Affecting Canadian Workplaces

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It’s time to take time

Published on May 20, 2014 by Donna Seale

1121838_86600922There are points in all of our lives where we have epiphanies — those moments when we are figuratively smacked in the face with a realization about what we could be doing better, where we should be putting our efforts while pushing the rest to the way-side, what we should be moving away from rather than towards and, most of all, how we could be happier.

I’ve had plenty of such epiphanies over the course of my life but none so strong as occurred on my childrens’ recent spring break from school.  Their break coincided with the reappearance of health issues I thought I had conquered, the appearance of new, odd and disconcerting health issues and the comment from my naturopathic doctor that unless I gave my body time to truly heal, not only would these issues continue but they would get progressively worse.  It’s amazing how prophetic your mind can become when faced with things like this.  When I thought back on last summer when I was so ill I could not spend (productive) time with my family and my children were fraught with worry about what was happening to their mom, and when I reflected on the fact that in just a few short years’ time I would be at the same age as my father who left me far too soon and then my mother not long after, and in light of everything that was now happening or happening again, the fog that I had not realized had been around me lifted and I knew right then and there what I had to do.

And so, it is with sadness but, in all honesty, with a feeling of liberation, that I have decided to take an indefinite leave of absence from my business and the practice of law.  I have spent the last 10 years having and raising twin daughters, nurturing my relationship with my husband, advocating for and caring for my sister, and starting and growing an extremely busy and successful business.  Before that, there were another nine (often grueling) years of proving myself as a new lawyer and working my way up the ranks.  And in all of that time I realized that I managed to take care of everyone and everything else except myself.  While I’m reaping the “rewards” of those decisions now in the health outcomes I am experiencing, I know this is something that I can turn around.  By finally taking time…..for me.

I will certainly miss writing and engaging with you here and I will miss every one of my dear clients.  But it’s time to take time.  I wish you all true happiness and health.  May your own epiphanies lead you where you need to go.


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Social Media and the Harassment-Free Work & Learning Environment

Published on May 19, 2014 by Donna Seale

I recently spoke at the annual conference of the Canadian Association for the Prevention of Discrimination & Harassment in Higher Education (CAPDHHE) held in Winnipeg from May 7-9, 2014.  This year’s theme was “Moving Beyond Theory: Best Practices in Advancing Diversity & Addressing Discrimination and Harassment.”  With this theme in mind, the knowledge that I would be speaking to an audience of folks working in institutions of higher learning and based on the years I have acted as the University of Manitoba’s Investigation Officer, I knew precisely what it was that I wanted to speak to the conference attendees about – social media and its impact on the University workplace and learning environments as well as its impact on the investigation of harassment complaints coming out of those environments.

As I explained to those who attended my session, over the past three years, social media has become a force to be reckoned with in the vast majority of complaints I have been hired to investigate.  Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram —  you name the platform and I can provide an example of it being used for, shall we say, less than polite purposes.  It has become very clear in the work that I do that social media has opened up opportunities for harassment to invade environments that we live and work in in ways that were never previously imagined.

Here is the slide deck from my presentation which will, hopefully, give you some insight into my discussion.  And whether you are an employer or university administrator, within those slides you’ll also find my recommendations for preventing or, at least, minimizing the risks of the misuse of social media in your particular environments.







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