Employer Rights in Alberta, Canada

Employer Rights in Alberta Canada

This blog article conforms to our Editorial Policy and contains links to paid referral affiliates.

Employers in Alberta have many rights regarding employment standards, human rights, privacy, occupational health and safety, and employer-employee relationships. This article covers many of these, but you must keep updated on changing provincial and municipal legislation.

Labour Laws Favour the Capitalist

As an HR professional, I find employees need the most protection because Alberta, Canada, and North American labour laws favour businesses. Under Capitalism, the owner is protected, and collectively, owners have the resources to influence lawmakers.

In theory, this economy should also support small business owners, but becoming an actual Capitalist can still be challenging. Because of Capitalism’s power, a large organization can make adverse decisions without repercussions.

Below are some important rights of the employer.

Employment Standards for the Employer

Employers in Alberta have the right to establish work schedules, set wage rates (meeting or exceeding minimum wage), determine breaks and time off policies and terminate employees for just cause or without cause following termination notice and severance pay requirements.

Human Rights the Employer Must Follow

Employers have the right to establish bona fide occupational requirements (BFORs) justifying certain forms of discrimination if they are essential to the job. Creating a BFOR is challenging, but in most cases, an employer should avoid establishing one, as accommodating will be cheaper.

Employers must also provide a workplace free from discrimination and harassment and accommodate employees’ needs to the point of undue hardship.

Privacy for Legitimate Business

With clear policies and obtaining consent, employers can collect and use personal information for legitimate business.

I advise my clients to collect only a small amount of personal information from employees and clients. Personal information requires protection, and lawsuits may ensue if abused or stolen.

Occupational Health and Safety Employer rights

Employers have the right to establish safety policies, conduct workplace inspections, require employees to follow safety protocols and provide training on health and safety procedures. No matter the industry, more robust safety policies always show that you care about your employees.

To be certified, and if you’re in specific industries, you must follow provincially regulated safety standards.

Get online computer training for you and your employees!

Use code: LBH10 to get 10% off!


Employer-Employee Relationship Rights of the Employer

  1. Right to Manage: Employers can decide on hiring, training, promotion, discipline, and termination based on business needs and performance.
  2. Contractual Agreements: Employers can enter into contractual agreements with employees regarding terms of employment, duties, responsibilities, compensation, and benefits.
  3. Workplace Policies: Employers have the right to establish and enforce workplace policies related to conduct, dress code, use of company resources, social media usage, and other relevant areas. I advise my clients to keep policies short and only create them if necessary.
  4. Employee Monitoring: Employers may implement reasonable measures for monitoring employee activities in the workplace, such as video surveillance and electronic communications monitoring. Please seek advice on what “reasonable” means for specific situations.
  5. Training and Development: Employers have the right to provide training and development opportunities to enhance employee skills, (Source: What are some effective strategies for managing and retaining employees? – Jordan Business. ) knowledge, and performance.

Understanding and exercising these rights while complying with legal standards contribute to creating a fair and productive work environment for both employees and employers in Alberta.

Having an Employee Union Means Employers Have Been Lousy

Employers have many rights. Large employers, or true capitalists, also influence laws to benefit themselves more. Employer rights are important but are also heavily augmented yearly to give large employers an unfair advantage.

When employer rights become excessive or unfair to the employee, the only option left for the employee is to unionize. Any business or organization with an employee union has been a lousy employer. The employer has no rights when it comes to “busting” or ending union action that is in process.

The employer had rights and could prevent a union before employees unionized. The number one way to prevent a union from forming is to have happy employees!

What’s Next?

For your further research, consult the Alberta Employment Standards website.

Worrying about employee happiness may be more important than employers’ rights in most organizations. If you have happy employees, you will not need to worry about employer rights because employees will not try to sue or organize against you.

I recommend reading the Amazon book “Happy Employee: 101 Ways for Managers to Attract, Retain, & Inspire the Best and BrightestOpens in a new tab.” (Paid Link) by Julia McGovern and Susan Shelly.

For human resources support in Canada, click here to book a free HR needs assessment now. If you’re on a budget, consider joining my Patreon to ask unlimitedOpens in a new tab. HR questions. If you need HR advice sooner, book a consultation via Fiverr here.

Ian Hopfe

Ian Hopfe is the owner of LBH Business Services Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Ian is an Indigenous Human Resources Consultant. He has over ten years experience in HR and over fifteen years experience in management. All blog articles on this website are written by Ian unless a guest writer is indicated on the post.

Recent Posts