HRMT 322 (Employment Law) is a three-credit, senior level Human Resource Management course that introduces students to the branch of Canadian law that governs relations between employers and employees, primarily in non-unionized workplaces. The course is designed to provide students with practical knowledge of employment law, focusing on constitutional law, common law, and statutory law. This course is not a course designed for lawyers in training but rather for those who need or want to acquire a working knowledge of employment law that can be applied on the job. HRMT 322 has no prerequisites and there is a Challenge for Credit option if students are interested. The Voice Magazine looked at a previous version of the course back when it opened in 2005, but since then, the structure and assignments for the course have changed.
Employment Law is made up of five units, one assignment weighing fifteen percent, one assignment that weighs twenty-five percent, two quizzes weighing fifteen percent each, and a final examination weighing thirty percent. The units in this course cover topics such as the employer-employee relationship, ending the employer-employee relationship, human rights, the domain of employment law, and regulating employment by statue. In order for students to receive credit for HRMT 322, they must achieve fifty percent or higher on each of the quizzes and assignments and fifty percent or better on the final examination. Any quizzes or assignments that are not completed or submitted will receive a mark of zero. The final examination for this course must be taken online with an Athabasca University-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is the responsibility of students to ensure that the chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams.
Dr. Alex Kondra has been working at Athabasca University for seventeen years and has been the course coordinator for HRMT 322 for about three years. Alongside this course, he coordinates ADMN 232 (Introduction to Management) and RIBL 687 (International Business: Understanding and Managing Legal Risks), and coaches for undergraduate case competitions. He provides a brief introduction, stating “I earned a PhD in Business Administration (Major: Industrial Relations, Minors: Organizational Analysis, Economics and Statistics) from the University of Alberta in 1995. I previously taught at Acadia University and was a faculty member while Acadia rolled out the first all laptop environment in Canada. I have served at Athabasca University as the acting Vice President Academic, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Executive Director of the Centre for Innovative Management, acting Associate Vice President Academic, acting Director of the School of Business, and program director for AU’s undergraduate business programs. I am currently the MBA program director as well as an Associate Professor, teaching in areas of organizational theory and human resources.”
When asked to describe the course to students, Dr. Kondra explains “This a comprehensive introductory course on employment law that would be useful to any supervisor but particularly those who wish to specialize in Human Resource Management.”
Dr. Kondra provides insight to what type of work ethic students will have to have to be successful in this course, stating “There is a lot of very detailed material as it is fundamentally grounded in the law and this means attention to detail is very important. There are a lot of technical points that must be understood. Detail is very important. Writing skills for the assignments are critical.”
He continues by providing advice for students who are currently enrolled or who are considering enrolling, stating “Reading cases for a non-lawyer can be daunting, but we help walk you though the mechanics of what to look for and how to understand what judges say. The course has a text based on Alberta and BC law, but we take steps in the course materials to cover fully the laws of other provinces to ensure the course can meet the needs of students across the country.”
When asked what he believes students will take away from this course, he explains “The nature and substance of that relationship is explored from when an employee relationship exists as opposed to an independent contractor; to understating the application of Humans Rights and employment standards, which encompass that relationship.”
He continues, “The most important part you will take away from this course is how to understand the legal cases involved and knowing how to apply them to the real-life situations you will encounter.”
Every course has material that may be more difficult to some students, Dr. Kondra explains what he believes are the most difficult aspects of the course, stating “They struggle with the true nature of the employee/ employer relationship and the power balance between the two. However, once the student understands that we are more interested in the substance of the relationship and not its form, students come to appreciate how we learn to apply cases and rules to the relationship and when that relationship truly exists.”
Whether HRMT 322 is a degree or program requirement of yours, or if the content discussed above sounds like it would be of interest to you, this course will have you learning plenty of fascinating material surrounding the topic of employment law.