This month our Executive Director of Human and Legal Resources had to make an unpopular decision. But it was the right one to make.
The City has been hosting blood donor clinics at City Hall for staff. They have been very popular with staff and appreciated by the Canadian Blood Service.
We have learned that holding these clinics on City premises violates policies and legislation that protect our employees from discrimination in the workplace. This situation arises because of questions on the survey that the Canadian Blood Service uses to screen donors.
I have to be honest. When I first heard about this situation, I was quite confused by it.
However, on serious reflection, we cannot pick and choose when we apply our policies and convenience is hardly a sufficient reason to ignore our principles. It wasn’t convenient for men to change their attitudes towards women in the workplace several decades ago. You only have to watch an episode of Mad Men to be reminded how much attitudes in our workplaces have changed.
For my pragmatic readers, ignoring the breach would have only led to a waste of tax dollars to cover legal costs and potential damages. Our legal advice was clear. We were in violation.
Notwithstanding the national dialogue on this issue, our first commitment is to our workplace. I hope that Canadian Blood Services finds a way to resolve the issue with their survey as this situation is playing out at organizations across Canada. In the meantime, we need to find other ways to promote the essential and life-saving work of the Canadian Blood Service.