Tag archives: discrimination

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal: Subjective belief can trump facts

Chodha v. 1352866, 2016 HRTO 1241 demonstrates that human rights tribunals will consider an employer’s bona fide subjective belief in deciding whether the employer has provided a reasonable explanation for apparently discriminatory conduct. Indeed, the employer’s belief may take precedence over factual circumstances, as they did in this case. The case involved the termination of … Continue reading

An Employer’s Limited Access to Medical Documentation for Accommodation Requests

In a policy statement released early last month, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) clarified its position on the scope of medical documentation that employees need to provide when making disability-related accommodation requests to their employers. The policy statement supplements the existing Policy on Ableism and Discrimination Based on Disability, and reminds employers that … Continue reading

Medical Marijuana and Health Benefit Plans

On January 30, 2017, a Board of Inquiry, formed as part of the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia, issued its decision in Skinner v. Board of Trustees of the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund, which found that the denial of an employee’s request for coverage of medical marijuana under a health benefit plan amounted … Continue reading

Update regarding protection against religion-based discrimination in France

In France, the issue of religious behavior in the workplace is extremely sensitive. The principle under French employment law is that while public sector employers are required to enforce a policy of strict neutrality, in private sector companies, a balance must be maintained between the principle of secularism and the prohibition of discrimination based on … Continue reading

New protection of French whistleblowers under the Sapin II Law

Much attention was focused recently on President Obama’s decision, in the final days of his presidency, on commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who provided certain classified information to WikiLeaks. In France, new legislation has recently been passed and implemented harmonizing the protection of whistleblowing employees (https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=4BBFD240827AF0FD9A6340FF254E6F1B.tpdila21v_3?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000033558528&categorieLien=id). Who is concerned? Under the new regulation, whistleblowers … Continue reading

Women who have suffered workplace discrimination in the RCMP may soon be compensated for decades of mistreatment

Since 2012, two class action lawsuits have been filed against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  The lawsuits allege that current and former female officers and employees were subject to systemic gender-based bullying, discrimination, and harassment in the workplace, causing the affected women to suffer physical and psychological damage, personal expense, and loss of income, … Continue reading

Class action against workplace discrimination

In France, employees who suffer from workplace discrimination are entitled to bring claims against their employer. Workplace discrimination is strictly prohibited and is characterized when a person is treated less favorably than another because of his or her origin, sex, marital status, pregnancy, physical appearance, health, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political opinions, trade … Continue reading

Legislation proposing to add “genetic characteristics” to prohibited grounds of discrimination

Recently, a private member’s bill which proposes to add “genetic characteristics” to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code went through its second reading at Queen’s Park and was referred to the committee stage. From an employment law point of view, if this bill is passed into law, the … Continue reading

Arbitrator makes further determinations regarding influenza vaccination policies in hospitals.

With the cold weather setting in, flu season is officially in full swing. Last year, Arbitrator Jim Hayes considered whether hospitals could implement policies requiring nurses to either get the flu shot or wear a mask. In the test case decision of Sault Area Hospital and Ontario Nurses’ Association (“Sault Area Hospital”), Arbitrator Hayes found … Continue reading

Does the exercise of the religious right to wear a turban override the obligation to wear a safety hat?

On September 21, 2016, the Québec Superior Court issued a judgment (2016 QCCS 4521) concluding that truckers of the Sikh religion were not exempt from the obligation to wear a safety hat while completing certain work-related tasks out of their trucks on various Port of Montréal premises. The plaintiffs were truckers from different private transportation … Continue reading

“Promising practices” encouraged by EEOC to prevent retaliation

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued its final “Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues” following a six-month public comment period. The guidance replaces the EEOC’s 1988 Compliance Manual section on retaliation. Workplace retaliation claims have been on the rise in recent years and have been the focus of several opinions of the … Continue reading

Fair pay, safe workplaces, and federal contractors telling it like it is

On August 24, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Counsel issued a final rule to implement President Obama’s Executive Order 13673, entitled “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces,” first announced by the President over two years ago on July 31, 2014. According to the Federal Acquisition Institute, the purpose of E.O. … Continue reading

Terminating an Employee for Voicing His Political Opinion : What Are The Potential Consequences?

Terminating an employee for expressing his political opinions at work can be costly for an employer. This is what  an employer learned after being ordered to pay 91 073,46 $ to an employee following his termination for sharing his political opinions in the workplace. In this decision (2015 QCCRT 0399), the « Commission des Relations du … Continue reading

Does Title VII cover sexual orientation claims? It depends.

In July 2015, the EEOC officially took the position that sexual orientation claims may be brought under the non-discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, in the recent case of Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, the Seventh Circuit refused to accept the EEOC’s position and affirmed the dismissal … Continue reading

A new model of discrimination?

Last December, the French government passed a bill decreeing that models must now obtain a medical certification in order to be able to work in France. Companies found not to be respecting the new law will be liable to a fine of more than 75,000 euros (approximately $CAN 108,000 at the current exchange rate) and their … Continue reading

The Duty to Accommodate Employees Suffering from Drug Addiction or Alcoholism in Quebec

Alcoholism and drug addiction have been recognized as diseases pursuant to the definition of a “handicap” established within the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.  Therefore, an employee suffering from limitations related to his or her addiction is afforded protection against discrimination guaranteed by the Quebec Charter in Article 10. What does it mean … Continue reading

Continuing Effects of Workplace Policies aren’t New Incidents or Series of Incidents under the Ontario Human Rights Code

Section 34 offers certainty and protection to employers by imposing time limits on claims brought under the Ontario Human Rights Code (“the Code”). Recently, in Meiri v York Region District School Board, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“the Tribunal”) affirmed the application of these time restrictions to employer policies with continuing effects. Such policies … Continue reading

DOL issues sex discrimination final rule

On June 14, 2016, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a Final Rule to revise its sex discrimination policies, updating its guidelines to provide additional guidance on what constitutes discrimination based on sex. The updated guidelines define “sex” to include gender identity, transgender status, pregnancy, and … Continue reading

What are the latest developments on whistleblowing in the workplace?

French employment law does not yet provide for a comprehensive and consistent set of rules for the purpose of protecting whistleblowers. Instead, French employment law tackles issues arising out of whistleblowing situations through a relatively meager set of legislative provisions. Current legislation Under currently applicable legislation, no employee can be disciplined, dismissed or discriminated against … Continue reading

Testing the limits of reasonableness: Alberta Court quashes arbitration decision on random drug testing.

In the recent decision of Suncor Energy Inc v Unifor Local 707A, 2016 ABQB 269 [Suncor] the Court of Queen’s Bench found that an arbitration board’s decision was unreasonable and sent it back for rehearing by a fresh panel. The decision stems from the implementation of a random drug and alcohol testing policy in 2012. … Continue reading

Minnesota addresses architectural barriers to public places: 2016 amendments to its Human Rights Act

Introduction Minnesota businesses may soon see differences in disability access claims. On May 22, 2016, Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a new amendment to the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). The amendment governs what must occur before attorneys can bring suit under the MHRA challenging architectural barriers that limit accessibility to public spaces. … Continue reading

Employees must participate in the accommodation process

It’s never easy to talk about mental illness – particularly not with your employer. However, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal recently held that even if it’s uncomfortable, an employee may have the obligation to discuss their condition with the employer in order to allow the employer to come up with a proper accommodation. Last … Continue reading
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