News in brief

Canada tackles fraud

Canada’s criminal code has been amended to include protection for whistleblowers. The legislation now targets insider trading and corporate fraud, while forbidding employers from threatening sanctions against employees who report such wrongdoing. Bosses who try to cover up fraud or corruption by sanctioning employees with the threat of dismissal or demotion – and those acting on their behalf – could face up to five years in jail.

US warms to hot idea

Cooler temperatures cause workers to make more errors and can increase hourly labour costs by 10 per cent, according to an American study. Cornell University’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory, exploring the link between changes in the physical environment and work performance, found temperature to be a key variable that can impact performance. In tests, a nine-degree rise in temperature saw significant decreases in errors and increased output.

Suspension pay ruling

Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled that an employer can suspend an employee awaiting criminal charges, but must pay the employee full wages if it denies him or her the opportunity to work. The ruling comes from a case where a sales manager for a Quebec insurance company had been charged with extortion. Suspended without pay pending resolution of the case, the man was acquitted after two years and returned to work, seeking wages lost during the ‘administrative’ suspension.

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