Cautionary Insights for Employers when Navigating Workplace Power Dynamics

As an employment law expert, Michael Walter of Walter Law Group spoke to the Canadian Press about Power Dynamics in the Workplace. Walter spoke about the importance of being careful when discussing personal lives in the workplace. Even if you have a good intention of cultivating a positive work environment, you must exercise caution.

Soon after Mike Babcock joined the Columbus Blue Jackets as their new head coach, he was in the spotlight for allegedly asking some players to show their family photos off their mobile phones. Experts stated that Babcock may have crossed the line with this seemingly harmless request, even if he only wanted to know the players better. His request raised many privacy issues, with some people claiming that the head coach was misusing his position of power.

On the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast, Ex-NHL player Paul Bissonnette outlined that an anonymous player informed him that Babcock told the players to share their family photos. The head coach would then stream them on his television. The NHL Players’ Association allocated some executive directors to gather information on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ incidence of invading players’ privacy.

As Walter outlines, a delicate balance exists in conversations between managers and employees. When interacting with employees, employers must ensure that they don’t dig too deep into employees’ personal lives or relationships. Employees should not feel obliged to share personal details if they aren’t comfortable doing so.

In the ever-changing workplace landscape, employers must be careful and sensitive when navigating power dynamics. They must foster a positive work environment and respect employees’ boundaries. Employers must balance their curiosity to understand their employees with respect for employees’ privacy to have a cohesive workplace.