The World Cup, G20 and Bears

In the Greater Toronto Area we’re about to enter a few weeks that likely will result in some notable challenges for businesses including  absences of employees from the workplace.

The World Cup starts tomorrow (Hup Holland! ) and with that, there may be a temptation to discipline employees who are operating at less than their normal productivity level.

Lest any business think that skipping work to watch a team be crushed by Holland is “cause for dismissal” let me assure you, it is not.   If you feel you absolutely must add to your employees’ blue mood after the loss, then a letter of warning is likely the strongest step you want to take. 

The letter needs to address the nature of the behaviour and offer suggestions as how to improve it – ie. vacation time, taping the game and watching it at home after work, etc.  The letter also needs to state what will happen if the behaviour is repeated, which it will be, until the middle of July.  

Ultimately, if termination is the next step, that needs to be something the employee is aware of, though it is not likely any Judge sitting on a law suit flowing out of a dismissal during the World Cup (if that is the only employee problem) is likely to see escalating letters during the month as “just cause”.

The G20 meeting in Toronto will also present challenges to businesses in the Greater Toronto Area.  The potential losses to businesses, not just in the downtown core, are staggering and this may lead many to consider: who should be responsible for these losses?

It is unlikely a law suit against the G20 will result in a successful outcome.  Similarly, a law suit against the government for inviting the G20 to Toronto is also not likely to succeed.  Unless your business had the incredible foresight to obtain insurance against “business loss arising out of meetings of large numbers of heads of states”  (and if you did, please email me as I want your broker) it is likely, you are your own insurer.  It may be best to simply close shop for the few days the world is in town and take in a game or two of the World Cup. (Hup Holland!)

To a degree, the World Cup and G20 are both much like the predatory Bears that have been popping up in the Orillia area of late. 

You know that they’re there.  You know that they can impact your life.  However, until you encounter them face to face, you’re not sure how it’s going to turn out.

Hup Holland !! (the official World Cup Soccer team of our firm, regardless of what others might say if asked)

Inga B. Andriessen sr. Lawyer (proud Canadian of Dutch heritage)