Archives: Discrimination

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Transgender Rights and Employer Responsibilities

Trans rights have been in the news a lot lately. During his eventful tenure, President Trump has eroded existing protections for transgendered individuals in the United States. This winter he removed protections for transgendered students in public schools that allowed them to use the bathroom of their gender expression, and not their physical sex. At … Continue Reading

When Employees Fail to Engage in the Accommodation Process

Last week I wrote about the statutory framework of the family status accommodation requirements in Ontario.  The case that has moved this area of law along is Misetich v Value Village Stores (2016 HRTO 1229, “Misetich”), a case the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) released this fall.   This case intersects with disability accommodation … Continue Reading

Family Status Discrimination: The Statutory Framework

Discrimination on the grounds of “family status” continues to be a hot topic for Canadian employers. Are employers required to accommodate an employee’s eldercare obligations? Are these sorts of obligations different than an employee’s childcare obligations?  Where is the line between personal preference to help out one’s parents and a medical or legal obligation that … Continue Reading

Human Rights During the Job Interview

Most companies know which are some of the obviously dangerous questions to ask during a job interview.  Are you planning to have children (i.e. many expensive parental leaves)?  Do you have a happy (i.e. stable) marriage? Are you religious (i.e. a different religion than me)? What about the less obvious questions?  Focusing on any characteristic … Continue Reading

When Does Racism Amount to a Poisoned Workplace?

Does racism necessarily lead to a poisoned workplace? At the end of last month, the Ontario Court of Appeal concluded in General Motors of Canada Limited v Yohann Johnson that while the former employee, Johnson, “genuinely believed that he had been the victim of racism in his workplace” and that his “perception of events unfortunately … Continue Reading

Can You Discriminate Against a Volunteer?

The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with a Disability set out the rights and obligations regarding employees, but what about volunteers?  A reader of this blog (thanks Angie!) has asked about the application of these laws when recruiting volunteers.  Human rights codes across Canada work largely the same on this issue, but since … Continue Reading

Who Enforces AODA Standards?

I have questioned the teeth of the Accessibility of Ontarians with a Disability Act (“AODA”) in my past blog post, Where’s the Teeth?.   While the fines for non-compliance are huge (up to $100,000 per day – see section 83 of AODA Reg 191/11), the regime relies on the Ministry of Community and Social Services (the … Continue Reading

AODA for Employers Part 3: Where’s the Teeth?

This is Part 3 of my three part series on the Accessibility for Ontarians with a Disability Act, 2005.  In the first post, I discussed the Customer Service Standard and in the second post, I outlined the Integrated Accessibility Standards.  Both standards are regulations under AODA and set out further detail on the requirements of businesses and workplaces to … Continue Reading

Freedom of Speech in the Workplace

Today the Supreme Court of Canada will hear a highly anticipated case on Canada’s freedom of religion and speech laws.  The case involves Bill Whatcott and his passionate, public promotion of anti-gay and anti-abortion views, all in the name of his religion.  Kirk Makin provides a good summary in today’s Globe and Mail. Whatcott’s Case A prostitute … Continue Reading

New Employer Standards for Employees with Disabilities

Last Friday, the Ontario government passed the Integrated Disability Regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).  The Regulation includes a number of requirements for employers to remove barriers and ensure accessibility for employees.  The Regulation contains three standards for organizations to meet, including an Employment Standard at Part III.  A good summary … Continue Reading

Discrimination & Gender in Amateur Sport

I love stories like this:  17 year old Courtney Greer from Waterloo, Ontario, tries out for the boys’ soccer team, makes the team on her own athletic ability and is then told she is not allowed to play in the league.  She then has the guts to publicly fight it and files a claim against the Ontario Federation of … Continue Reading

Can workplace “culture” excuse racist behaviour?

Certain industries such as trucking or the oil fields have had a history of a male-dominated work force where the workplace culture may indeed have been a little rough.  Two recent decisions highlight the requirement that all industries, regardless of a historical “culture”, must adhere to employment and human rights law. On February 5, 2010, … Continue Reading
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