Religious accommodation for vaccines
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In the context of the increasing prevalence of vaccine mandates, employee requests for accommodation on religious grounds are becoming common. Religious beliefs and practices and the resulting accommodation requests can be varied and tricky. Today we will take a look at what employers should know and do about requests for accommodation based on religion. 

What Do Employers Need to Accommodate?

Human rights legislation across Canada provides employees with protections from discrimination on the basis of creed or religious beliefs or practices. Employers must accommodate up to the point of undue hardship. 
Continue Reading Religious Accommodation & Vaccination – What’s the deal?

Background

In a recent decision, EN v Gallagher’s Bar and Lounge, 2021 HRTO 240 (CanLII), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the “HRTO”) found that an employer discriminated against three of his employees based on their gender identities, gender expressions, and sex by subjecting them to trans-and homophobic language, intentional outing, and by misgendering them through his refusal to use their preferred pronouns. 

The three Applicants, referred to as EN, JR, and FH, were kitchen employees at a restaurant managed by its owner, Jamie Gallagher; each identified as either gender queer or non-binary, using the chosen pronouns ”they/them.” They openly requested to be addressed with these pronouns. 
Continue Reading HRTO: Employer Liability for Proper Pronoun Use

Workplace harassment and the employer’s duty to correct it
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Occupational health and safety legislation in Ontario protects workers from the risk and harm of harassment at work. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) employers have a legal duty to guard against and correct workplace harassment no matter how small the team. 

Here are some things to keep in mind regarding workplace safety and the employer’s obligations. 

Harassment Can Go By Many Names

Bullying is harassment. Employees sometimes think that the form of harassment they are facing is less serious than the harassment that OHSA targets. But any euphemism for harassment, like bullying or mocking, doesn’t make it less harmful to workplace health and safety. Even lighthearted bullying can count as harassment under OHSA and the employer will have a duty to prevent and act on it. OHSA says that:
Continue Reading Workplace Harassment: the Employer’s Duty

using social media to vet new hires
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This is Part 2 of our two-part series on social media in hiring. Click here for Part 1!

There is the personal and there is the professional, and never the twain shall meet. At least that was once the prevailing attitude towards work life and private life. In a progressively interconnected world, the personal and the professional are becoming increasingly intertwined. But are there problems, particularly legal problems, that arise from the fusion of these two aspects of one’s life? What sorts of employment-related legal issues, for instance, might employers (and employees, by extension) encounter in the hiring process if they choose to review candidate social media profiles? We’ve covered some issues in Part 1 of our “social media in hiring” series. Below are some further thoughts worth considering.
Continue Reading Part 2 – Caution to Employers Using Social Media to Vet Potential New Hires

reviewing candidates’ social media
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

This is Part 1 of our two-part series in social media in hiring. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week! 

Today, there are more users on social media than ever before. Scores of people everywhere in the world are posting personal information online. This information is being consumed by billions of people on a daily basis, some for more personal reasons, others less so. Countless employers have, for instance, rapidly shifted to incorporating the extra step of reviewing potential candidates’ social media activity into the hiring processes. Considering the relative novelty of social media technology, employers should brace themselves for increasing litigation around this in relation to employment issues in the years to come. 
Continue Reading Caution to Employers Using Social Media to Vet Potential New Hires

covid-19 workplace law issues
Credits: www.cherrydeck.com

With the new Ontario Covid-19 response framework in place and Covid-19 still on the rise, employers need guidance on how to navigate workplace law issues.

During our last webinar, we covered this very topic and were flooded with employer questions. This is Part 2 of our Q&A on the second wave of Covid-19 workplace law issues.  Click here for Part 1.  

Question 7: If an employee chooses to work from home because of childcare, kids’ online learning/homeschooling, but their role is impossible to do at home, are we required to provide alternative work OR do they just go on leave? 
Continue Reading Covid-19 2nd Wave Workplace Law Issues: Part 2

coronavirus workplace legal considerations
Credits: www.cherrydeck.com

With the second wave of Covid-19 upon us, new government benefits now in place and government business restrictions shifting, it is important for employers to be up to speed on key workplace legal considerations and compliance issues.  During our last webinar, we covered this very topic and were flooded with questions from employers.  Below is part 1 of a summary of the most common Q&As.

Question 1: Are employees entitled to an accommodation to work from home if it is a choice or preference to not put their kids in school, rather than a need based on health issues?
Continue Reading Covid-19 2nd Wave Workplace Law Issues: Part 1

workplace law advice for employers
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In these challenging times, in the midst of the pandemic, as workplaces re-open, pivot and change, we see the importance and immense value of having strategic employment and workplace law advice. Just a small allocation of thought space and time to being proactive could have changed the outcome of so many situations. We see it now in our firm in many ways. 

Having run a small business for over a decade, I can appreciate that employers are often triaging the urgent demand of finding solutions to client’s needs. Rarely did I have the time or opportunity to “smell the roses” let alone try to proactively anticipate the workplace law needs of my growing organization. However, I now see the critical importance of taking a proactive approach.
Continue Reading Workplace Law: It Pays To Be Proactive

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,