HRM855 - The Legal Environment

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-08-29 12:52:17.91
Last review date 2018-08-29 12:52:17.912

Subject Title
The Legal Environment

Subject Description
Today's workplace is highly regulated from the commencement of the relationship through to its termination. Commencing with the employment contract, an examination of both statutory and common laws will be undertaken. As it pertains to Federal and Provincial environments, the student will be exposed to such diverse areas as employment standards, worker's compensation, pay equity, human rights and unionization. The corresponding rights and responsibilities of employers and employees will be examined.

Credit Status
One credit.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the contractual nature of the modern employment relationship, the elements of the contract, and remedies for the breach of the contract.
  2. Discuss the differences between the independent contractor, the contract employee, the individual employee and the unionized employee.
  3. Identify and be familiar with the important components of the major legislation affecting the employment relationship, knowing where to look for answers to particular questions.
  4. Discuss the role of the common law as it relates to employment issues.
  5. List the employer's rights and describe how to respond to employee action.
  6. Detail the extent of liability on termination and be able to offer practical solutions to minimize that liability.
  7. Recognize when employment can be terminated for cause and take the necessary steps to effect the termination.
  8. Recognize legal concerns outside the employment relationship which may have an effect on the employer.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


However, it is recommended that students begin their studies with HRM 701,  Introduction to Human Resource Management, if they plan to pursue the Human Resources Management Graduate Certificate. 

Topic Outline

  • Human Rights Code
  • Rights of the applicant
  • Rights of the employee
  • Pay Equity Act
  • Employment equity issues
  • Independent contractor vs. employee
  • The Employment Contract
  • Employment Standards Act – minimum terms of employment in Ontario
  • Termination of employment – minimum standards
  • Termination of employment – for cause
  • Termination of employment – with notice
  • Constructive dismissal
  • How to handle an effective termination meeting
  • Sample dismissal scenarios
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • Health and Safety prosecutions
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Act ( Workers' Compensation Act)
  • Labour relations: statute law
  • Labour relations: the collective agreement
  • Labour relations: practical issues
  • Canada Labour Code

Mode of Instruction
A combination of teaching methods will be utilized which may include lectures, case studies, discussions, group and individual work.

This subject is delivered online. This may involve the use of digital materials and/or a text, group discussions, interaction with your instructor and online activities. 

Prescribed Texts
In Class and Online:

Title: Employment Law for Business and Human Resources Professionals 
Edition: 4th Edition
Author(s): Filsinger, KJ
Publisher: Emond Montgomery Publications Ltd.
ISBN: 978-1-77255-421-2

Reference Material

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Assignments are due on the dates specified. Should extenuating circumstances arise, please contact your instructor immediately, prior to when your assignment is due, so an appropriate course of action can be established. Late assignments may be subject to a penalty of up to 10% per week and will not generally be accepted beyond two weeks after the assignment due date.

In cases of cheating or plagiarism, the College Academic Policy will prevail.  Please ensure that all assignments and reports are properly documented.

Students are referred to the following web site for the Seneca College Library MLA Style Guides, Academic Honesty Policy and Copyright guidelines:  


Dates for evaluations are specified in the weekly schedule addendum to this outline. The evaluation process may include, but is not limited to, tests, exams, assignments or presentations. Any absences or missed submissions due to medical or other reasons must be supported by medical or other appropriate documentation within one (1) week of the due date. The faculty and program area must be notified immediately in the even of a missed evaluation. Upon acceptance of the documentation, the weighting of the missed deliverable will normally be applied to the final exam.

English Competency:

The ability to communicate effectively is essential for success in business. Therefore, you must demonstrate English competency in this subject in both oral and written work. Ensure your written work includes correct sentence structure, spelling and punctuation. Always spell check, edit and proofread your work.

Grading is based on the following marking scheme: 


Midterm Exam 35%
Individual Assignment 25%
Final Exam 40%

Quizzes (2 x 5%) 10%
Assignments (2 x 15%)            30%
Discussions (4 x 5%) 20%
Group Assignment 10%
Final Exam ** 30%

** Final Exams: The final exam for online subjects must be written at the Test Centre of the College at which you registered. If you are unable to do so, please make alternative arrangements through the College at which you registered. All the academic policies of the College at which you registered apply. This includes, but is not limited to, policies related to grading, supplemental exams, deferred exams and accommodations.

Please retain this subject outline document for future educational and/or employment use.

Academic Program Manager:
Jean-Pierre Patry

Approved by: Chair - Business Studies Danielle Mercier