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Are You Compliant with Your Province’s Employment Laws?

Protect your club from liability, professionalize your business and drive results


s the owner or manager of a small to mid-size club, you may be responsible for every aspect of your business from

marketing to maintenance. So it’s not surprising if you don’t have the time, expertise or resources to have a hu- man resources plan in place. Let’s face it—many club operators

are in the industry due to their love for and background in fitness. Even those with a business background probably aren’t experts in HR and employment law. But turning a blind eye, or simply being ignorant of legal obligations to your employees, can lead to legal trou- ble and a myriad of human resources headaches. Recently in Ontario, an inspection

blitz of 304 workplaces, including fit- ness clubs, revealed that 238 of them were in violation of the province’s Employment Standards Act. The most common issues were related to: • overtime • holiday pay • vacation pay • employees working excessive hours

• poor record keeping The majority of the employers did

not intentionally set out to short- change employees or to engage in ac- tivities that breach the law. They were simply unaware of their responsibili- ties as employers. Last year alone there were 12,500

successful claims against employ- ers through the Ontario Ministry of Labour alone. This number does not include employment lawsuits.

30 Fitness Business Canada March/April 2016 58824675

So what does this mean to a club owner or manager? The ramifications of non-compli-

ance with employment laws include: • damaged employee relations • damaged company reputation • loss of time spent in court or arbitration

• payment of money owed and penalties

And it’s not just payroll procedures

that managers need to be familiar with—any club staff member who plays a role in hiring and overseeing employees must have an excellent understanding of general employ- ment law to avoid the ever-growing

number of lawsuits related to wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal and harassment. Laws regarding interviewing, hiring,

disciplining and terminating employ- ees can seem complex and daunting, but implementing a sound HR plan to- day can avoid legal troubles tomorrow. Aside from simply avoiding legal reper- cussions, companies that implement HR programs and use tools, such as employ- ee handbooks, job descriptions, perfor- mance appraisals, employee onboarding and training, have higher levels of em- ployee engagement, retention, morale, member satisfaction and better overall results. It is an investment with a high rate of return.

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