Archives: Human Rights

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Accommodating Addictions

A labour arbitration decision out of Nova Scotia has got us thinking about what will qualify as addiction and justify accommodation in the work setting.  In Unifor, Local 2215 v IMP Group Ltd (Aerospace Division) (AB Grievance), [2019] NSLAA No 4, Arbitrator Richardson determined that an employee’s on the job masturbation was not justified by … Continue Reading

“Avoid seductive styles” – Telling your employees how to dress

A news story caught our attention recently. The University of Quebec in the Outaouais (UQO) commissioned an instructional video for university employees instructing them on how to dress for work and then emailed it out to staff. The four-minute video, hosted by a Gatineau based fashion stylist, provided such tips as don’t dress like you’re … Continue Reading

Employer Pays for Failing to Investigate Harassment

Readers of our blog will know that employers have a legal obligation to take workplace harassment seriously. These obligations are set out in Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and require that employers with more than five employees have a policy and procedure dealing with workplace violence and harassment. Employers are required to take … Continue Reading

Top 10 mistakes to avoid when hiring your first employee

For this week’s blog, we have gathered a list of the top 10 mistakes commonly made by freelancers and startups when hiring their first employee.  Avoiding these pitfalls will help start you off on the right foot and avoid the hiring headaches! We’ve also covered our Top 10 list in this month’s SpringForward Legal Updates … Continue Reading

Fired by a robot!

Amazon has been in the news recently for its practice of tracking warehouse workers’ box packing speed and firing them if they do not “make rate.”  According to internal Amazon documents, related to a termination at a Baltimore Maryland warehouse location, Amazon’s automated tracking system automatically generates a series of warnings. After 6 warnings in … Continue Reading

Sexual Harassment in the Fundraising Donor Space – Part Two

Firstly, Happy May Day and Happy International Workers’ Day! This week we will be continuing our series on Sexual Harassment in the Fundraising Donor Space and exploring situations where needed donations or funding come with strings attached. If you haven’t read our Part One from last week, you may want to check it out before … Continue Reading

Sexual Harassment in the Fundraising Donor Space – Part One

We have talked a lot about workplace sexual harassment on this blog. Practising exclusively in workplace law we, unfortunately, see the issue of workplace sexual harassment come up a lot. Helping employers and employees of all shapes and sizes deal with issues related to sexual harassment makes up a lot of what we do. Employer … Continue Reading

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Employment Law – Part 1

The practice of law has changed.  The days of the gun-slinging Harvey Specter-esque litigator, sipping single malt scotch whiskey and ready to obliterate his opponent at a moment’s notice, has given way to a new breed of tech-savvy, collaborative and cost-conscious lawyers who are more concerned with serving their clients’ personal and business needs than … Continue Reading

The price of workplace harassment

Valentine’s Day has us thinking about romance. In the mind of an employment lawyer, the leap from romance to harassment is a short one, and so that is what our post is about today. Harassment is not a new topic for us. You can read our past posts on sexual harassment, employer obligations regarding harassment … Continue Reading

Top 5 Employment Law Cases of 2018

By: Hilary Page and Lisa Stam 2018 was a whirlwind of statutory changes in the employment law world, which has perhaps overshadowed the judicial developments that have taken place in courts. In today’s post, we turn to all things case law and give our picks for the top 5 employment law cases of 2018. Amberber … Continue Reading

To google or not to google? Candidate background checks

In the information age it’s usually relatively easy to find out all about someone by doing a simple Google search. The burning question of online daters, “do I google my date before the date?” applies equally to employers. Can, and should, an employer background check a candidate? If so when? And how deep can and … Continue Reading

Equal Pay for Midwives

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (HRTO) released an interim decision on September 24, 2018 in the application of the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOH). The AOM brought an application to the HRTO alleging discrimination on the basis of gender in their compensation by the MOH. … Continue Reading

Bill 164: Amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code

Bill 164, introduced in October 2017, would expand the current prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code to include social condition, police records, genetic characteristics and immigration status. We are currently waiting on the Bill to pass, or not. It passed second reading and currently sits with the Standing Committee on Regulations … Continue Reading

Secret Recordings in the Workplace

Technology has impacted our privacy in a myriad of ways. One crafty use of technology that we see more and more in workplace disputes, is employee made audio recordings. Employees are turning on their voice memo apps before they go into important meetings and covertly recording their conversations. While undeniably an audio recording is great … Continue Reading

Update on Random Drug Testing in the Workplace

With the legalization of marijuana looming on the horizon this summer, concerned employers are thinking about how to keep drugs out of the workplace. While random workplace drug testing might seem like an attractive option, in Canada the law remains unsettled on what’s permitted. The most prominent legal battle over random drug testing in Canada … Continue Reading

Religious Accommodation in the Workplace

Merry Christmas! Wait. What? Can we still say that in public?  Why yes, we can, but not at the cost of excluding all other religions in the workplace. For those that do not celebrate Christian holidays (and/or secular commercial holidays derived from Christian traditions), focusing only on Christian traditions can feel like exclusion. It’s hard … Continue Reading

Can Employers Require High Heels in the Workplace?

Not for much longer…  Last month, Ontario Liberal MPP Cristina Martins’ bill to ban mandatory high heels in the workplace sped through the legislature.  The bill, titled the Putting Your Best Foot Forward Act, 2017 passed first reading on October 17, 2017, second reading on October 19, 2017, and has been referred to the standing … Continue Reading

Tips for Recruiting Online

Gone are the days of posting job ads in the newspaper. Like most things these days job recruitment takes place primarily online. It is important for employers to know how to comply with the law in the online environment – human rights, accessibility and in some cases privacy laws will apply. In general, the laws … Continue Reading

Parental Obligations in the Workplace

For many of us who are parents, September feels like the real New Year.  Workplace issues can arise with respect to shifting childcare obligations, as kids transition from summer schedules to school schedules. Employers may be met with requests to accommodate worker childcare obligations or requests for time off and should be prepared with respect … Continue Reading

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
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