The 2023 Annual HR Law Conference took place on October 18 and proved to be a transformative event that brought together HR professionals, legal experts and industry thought leaders as we delved deep into the latest developments in employment law and HR practices. Throughout the conference, attendees had the unique opportunity to explore a wide range of topics, gain fresh insights and engage in meaningful discussions on some of the most pressing issues in the HR and legal fields. Here’s a snapshot of some of the key highlights from this hybrid event. 

Invigorating Sessions 

The conference commenced by revisiting fundamental employment law requirements, ensuring that HR professionals remain well-informed and up to date. This was the perfect opportunity to revisit established HR legal issues and analyze how emerging trends are influencing this field. This emphasis on the basics served as a valuable refresher, laying a strong groundwork for the subsequent discussions throughout the conference. 

Next, the conference delved into the growing interest in the strategic application of alternative dispute resolution methods, particularly mediation and arbitration. HR experts delved into these mechanisms for effectively addressing grievances and reaching mutually beneficial resolutions. Speaking of the many reasons why mediation works, speaker Hena Singh clarified that the process is effective because “When you bring in a mediator, you get fresh eyes on your case, and you have someone who can talk to you about what risk and compromise look like in these circumstances”.  So, not only did we deepen our understanding of the advantages of mediation and arbitration in the context of workplace dispute resolution but as attendees we also became more familiar with how these processes can ultimately contribute to more streamlined and less emotionally taxing conflict resolution processes. 

Insightful Panel Discussions 

Another prominent feature of the conference was the diverse array of panel discussions that gathered industry leaders who tackled subjects that are at the forefront of HR and business professionals’ concerns. Among these, one panel session delved deeply into the dynamics of power and equilibrium in restorative work, underscoring the significance of HR professionals becoming well-versed in equity matters. Conference attendees learnt about best practices and guiding principles that can be utilized to mend and stabilize workplace environments through restorative measures. Participants walked away equipped with a comprehensive sense of how to effectively address conflicts and implement restorative processes within their organizations. 

Then, an in-depth and nuanced exploration of human rights issues took center stage in another thought-provoking session. Here, panel speakers took a deep dive into the multifaceted aspects of human rights, encompassing themes like gender identity, invisible disabilities, accessibility and immigration/refugee hiring practices. This discussion yielded valuable insights into the intricacies of intersectionality and how it influences experiences of discrimination and privilege. As one of the panelists, Afsana Gibson-Chowdhury highlighted, “Our intersectionality impacts our work. It not only impacts the employees, but it also impacts the employers themselves.” All in all, this was as a potent reminder of the urgent need to address human rights concerns in the workplace in order to subsequently foster genuine inclusivity and equity. 

Wrapping Up a Day of Learning and Networking 

Last but certainly not least, the conference wrapped up with an open forum session that encouraged participants to reflect on the insights garnered throughout the day. This eagerly awaited panel discussion showcased seasoned experts who fielded attendees’ legal inquiries in employment law. This direct interaction with experts presented an invaluable platform for HR professionals to get expert insights on intricate issues as well as pragmatic solutions to address the issues that are top of mind for them. 

To sum up, this event was a testament to the evolving nature of HR and employment law, showcasing the importance of continuous learning and adaptation in our rapidly changing world. The key themes that emerged collectively reinforced the importance of staying updated on employment law as well as promoting equity and addressing critical human rights issues in the workplace. In conclusion, the HRPA 2023 Annual HR Law Conference turned out to be a resounding success, offering a platform for HR professionals to gain valuable knowledge, engage in meaningful discussions and connect with experts in the field. If you missed this event, you can access the on-demand recordings here.