Arrogance, Laziness, Denial, or Lack of Knowledge/Skills?
Canada has designed numerous federal and provincial laws to safeguard employees’ and employers’ rights, safety, and well-being. These laws serve as a legal framework and contribute to maintaining a good reputation for businesses and ensuring the safety of their workforce. However, it remains perplexing that some employers ignore these laws and neglect to implement necessary policies and procedures. This article explores the possible reasons for such actions, questioning whether they stem from arrogance, laziness, denial, or a lack of knowledge or skills.
One significant factor contributing to employer neglect of Canadian laws and regulations is arrogance. Some business owners or managers may perceive themselves as above the law or possessing sufficient influence to evade its consequences. This sense of superiority often leads to a disregard for legal compliance, as they may believe they can navigate any issues that arise. Regrettably, arrogance carries a high cost, which could manifest as social media exposure due to a civil lawsuit or, more tragically, the untimely death of an employee. Such fatalities could have been prevented had the employer prioritized knowledge, trauma-informed training, and skills in addressing complex cases of workplace bullying, harassment, discrimination, racism, or violence.
Complacency, alongside laziness and apathy, can also contribute to this negligence. Some employers may opt for the path of least resistance, cutting corners and ignoring regulatory requirements in the mistaken belief that it will save them time and effort. Influential leaders must carefully consider the potential consequences of someone filing a formal complaint with Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) or legal authorities. This includes acknowledging the significant time, costs, influence, impact, and effort required to address these complaints. Regrettably, such considerations are often overlooked, resulting in a shortsighted approach that frequently leads to more substantial problems, such as fines and damage to their reputation.
Denial represents another significant factor that may contribute to employer negligence of federal and provincial laws. Some employers may opt (neglect) to overlook the importance of compliance or the existence of potential risks, downplaying the relevance of regulations and assuming they will avoid any legal challenges or repercussions. Various motivations drive denial to manifest itself in multiple forms. For instance, a fear of conflict can serve as a powerful motivator for denial or an underlying concern that something they have done, whether unethical or simply lacking in skill and potentially damaging, will be exposed.
Lack of Knowledge and Skills
Some employers might attribute their decisions to a “lack of knowledge or skills,” a term that can be challenging to admit. Historically, these choices often stemmed from a limited understanding or awareness of the laws and regulations applicable to their industry or business. In such cases, ignorance led to actions that jeopardized the company, its employees, and its reputation.
However, in today’s information age, there is no valid excuse for lacking knowledge or skills in areas critical to workplace compliance and ethics. Resources are readily accessible to employers, including trauma-informed trainers, psychological safety consultants, leadership coaches, websites, research, safety conferences, books, and videos. Ignoring these available resources leaves businesses vulnerable to avoidable risks and costly legal consequences.
Considering Ethics and Professionalism
When evaluating the motivations behind employer neglect of federal and provincial laws, it’s crucial to consider the ethical and professional implications of such actions. Respect for the law, not only as a legal requirement but as a moral obligation, should guide businesses in their decision-making.
Maintaining a good reputation is paramount in today’s interconnected world. Businesses prioritizing compliance with laws and regulations are more likely to be seen as responsible, ethical, and trustworthy, leading to increased customer loyalty and better employee morale. Furthermore, protecting employees should always be a top priority for employers. Neglecting safety regulations and failing to implement proper policies and procedures endangers the workforce’s well-being and can result in legal liability and financial penalties.
Within the intricacies of Canadian laws lie the foundations of ethical business conduct, where ignorance and complacency yield to excellence and responsibility.
The motivations behind employers’ neglect of Canadian federal and provincial laws can encompass a range of factors, including arrogance, laziness, denial, and the excuse of lacking knowledge and skills. Regardless of the underlying reasons, such neglect carries profound consequences, spanning from legal entanglements and reputational harm to jeopardizing the safety and lives of employees. To achieve long-term success and positively impact society, businesses must prioritize legal compliance, ethical conduct, and professionalism. Ultimately, respecting the law should always take precedence over shortcuts or lacking knowledge and skills, which may result in costly repercussions.
Linda Crockett MSW, RSW, SEP, CPPA
CEO and Founder
Consultant, Keynote, Facilitator/Trainer and Coach/Counsellor