Topic: Discrimination and harassment

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AHRC launches national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australia

The Australian Human Rights Commission (Commission) has recently launched an inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces (Inquiry). It seems that the ‘watershed’ moment that the #MeToo campaign was hailed as, has indeed driven the momentum to keep the issue alive and for meaningful action to come from it. There can be little argument that … Continue reading

“High heels and workplace dress codes” – the UK Government Equalities Office publishes guidance

In December 2015, an agency worker arrived to work as a receptionist and was sent home without pay for failure to wear high heels in accordance with the agency’s dress code. The story attracted widespread media attention, and led to an enquiry by a House of Commons Committee whose report was published in January 2017. … Continue reading

UK Supreme Court holds that plumber engaged by Pimlico Plumbers was a “worker” and not a self-employed contractor

The Supreme Court has dismissed the latest appeal by Pimlico Plumbers Ltd (the Company) against the employment tribunal’s decision that one of its plumbers, Mr Smith, was a “worker” under the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) and the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR).   The Supreme Court held that, on the facts of … Continue reading

EAT holds that paying enhanced maternity pay, but only statutory shared parental pay, is capable of amounting to indirect sex discrimination

In the UK, only female employees are eligible for statutory maternity leave. They are also eligible for statutory maternity pay at a fixed rate during such leave subject to certain conditions – and it is common for employers to pay enhanced maternity pay during periods of maternity leave. Whilst many employers do not pay enhanced … Continue reading

Coming Soon: Heightened Accountability and Transparency in Federal Employment Equity

In Canada, most federally regulated employers in the private and public spheres are subject to the Employment Equity Act, or in French, la Loi sur l’équité en matière d’emploi (the “Act”). First enacted in 1986, the Act’s objective is to ensure that federally regulated employers proactively engage in equitable practices that reduce barriers and counter … Continue reading

New York State’s new sexual harassment prevention laws will require action by all New York employers

On April 12, 2018, New York State  Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law new measures aimed at preventing sexual harassment. We summarized these provisions in detail in our legal update, New York employers should get ready to comply with New York State’s new sexual harassment prevention laws, published on April 11th, in anticipation of the bill being signed … Continue reading

It’s not discriminatory to pay enhanced pay during maternity leave but only statutory pay during shared parental leave

In the UK, only female employees are eligible for statutory maternity leave. They are also eligible for statutory maternity pay at a fixed rate during such leave subject to certain conditions – and it is common for employers to pay enhanced maternity pay during periods of maternity leave. Whilst many employers do not pay enhanced … Continue reading

Will Artificial Intelligence Need Human Rights Training ?

The Financial Post interviews Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP’s patent and trademark lawyer Maya Medeiros on Artificial Intelligence’s discriminatory biases. Despite all of the advances in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), experts reveal that these technologies are not immune from some of the less-than-admirable tendencies which afflict humans. As recently reported by the Financial … Continue reading

A (Not So) New Test for Family Status Discrimination in British Columbia

It is often a challenge for employers to determine whether they have a duty to accommodate an employee’s “family status” under human rights legislation.  Adjudicators across Canada have taken different approaches to assess whether the duty to accommodate family status has been triggered.  The recent B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decision in Adair v. Forensic Psychiatric … Continue reading

Harassment and violence in the workplace : changes to be expected for federally regulated employers

After a few politicians at the federal and provincial levels recently stepped down because of sexual misconduct allegations, lawmakers debated Bill C-65 in the House of Commons this week. Tabled in November 2017, Bill C-65 aims to amend “the Canada Labour Code (CLC) to strengthen the existing framework for preventing harassment and violence, including sexual harassment … Continue reading

Un salarié protégé peut-il contester la rupture conventionnelle homologuée dont il a fait l’objet devant le juge judiciaire ?

Les salariés protégés (représentants du personnel, délégués ou représentants syndicaux, salariés mandatés, etc.) bénéficient d’un statut particulier, eu égard à leur rôle dans l’entreprise. A ce titre, toute modification, et a fortiori, rupture de leur contrat de travail doit être autorisée par l’inspection du travail. La conclusion d’une rupture conventionnelle homologuée, quand bien même il … Continue reading

Sexual harassment settlements (and attorneys’ fees) may no longer be tax deductible for employers

As a result of the new tax reform legislation, employers may no longer deduct on their tax returns any “settlement or payment related to sexual harassment or sexual abuse if such settlement or payment is subject to a nondisclosure agreement” (emphasis added) or any “attorney’s fees related to such a settlement or payment.” This change … Continue reading

Who, me? Could be: SCC extends protections regarding employment under the BC Human Rights Code

In a landmark case, the Supreme Court of Canada has extended the protection it offers to employees from discrimination in the workplace to encompass discrimination perpetrated by an individual with a different employer: British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal v. Schrenk, 2017 SCC 62. This case answers in the affirmative the question of whether the BC … Continue reading

Refresh your feed: Updated Guidance on Social Media Background Checks

Social media is ubiquitous.  Over 20 million Canadians have a social medial account. It is a major source of information about our friends and the world around us.  It is also an important vehicle for recruiting and background information. Employers will often have good reason to formally check an applicant’s social media profile in the … Continue reading

Local doesn’t make the grade: The need to accommodate employees with anxiety when writing qualifying exams

John Betts, (the “Applicant”) was a carpenter and member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 1256 (the “Union”). While the parties were not engaged in a traditional employer-employee relationship, the Applicant was protected from discrimination by the employment related sanctions of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”). Like most … Continue reading

Proposed amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code include new prohibited grounds of discrimination

On October 4, 2017 Bill 164, The Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2017 was introduced into the Ontario Legislative Assembly and passed First Reading the same day. If enacted, it would expand the prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) to include immigration status; genetic characteristics; police records; and social … Continue reading

I’m sick of this!  But not of that:   Can you fire an employee for working another job while on sick leave?

An employee may be disciplined (including fired) for fraudulent sick leave, but does this include an employee working another job while on sick leave?  Possibly, though employers should exercise caution before pulling the trigger. In United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 1518 (Sidhu Grievance) v. Sobeys West. Inc., [2016] B.C.C.A.A.A. No. 148 [“Sidhu”], the grievor, … Continue reading

Employers may be justified in requesting an independent medical examination as part of the procedural aspect of the duty to accommodate

  Jurisprudence on independent medical examinations (IME) in the context of the employer’s duty to accommodate is sparse.  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently provided much-needed guidance in Bottiglia v Ottawa Catholic School Board.  In Bottiglia, the Court held that in certain circumstances, an employer may be justified in requesting an IME as part … Continue reading

Employer ordered to pay $141,000 for tort of harassment and intentional infliction of mental suffering at the workplace

In a previous post on this blog, we discussed how an employer’s non-compliance with workplace harassment and violence provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act resulted in a $70,000 fine ordered against the employer. Recently, the Superior Court reminded employers of the importance of ensuring that a harassment-free workplace is maintained and that all … Continue reading

The German law on employee participation is compatible with European law

On July 18th 2017 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held, that employees of a subsidiary located in the territory of another member state do not have the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections of workers’ representatives on the supervisory board of the German parent company of that group and that such … Continue reading

An important decision on the implementation of drug and alcohol policies in safety-sensitive workplaces issued by the Supreme Court of Canada

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a much awaited judgment on an appeal from an Alberta Court of Appeal decision in the Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp. case. Mr. Stewart (the Appellant) worked in a mine operated by the Elk Valley Coal Corporation, driving a loader. As a means to ensure safety in … Continue reading

Do employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave enjoy any special protection in the event of redundancy in South Africa?

Under South African Labour Law, employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave enjoy extensive protection from discriminatory conduct and dismissal if such discrimination or dismissal is directly or indirectly based on their pregnancy. In terms of section 187(1)(e) of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA), any dismissal based on pregnancy is an automatically unfair … Continue reading

Do employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave enjoy any special protection in the event of redundancy in France?

As is the case in many other countries (particularly countries in the European Union, which are covered by EU Directive 92/85/CEE dated 19 October 1992), France has implemented a full set of rules with the goal of protecting pregnant employees or employees on maternity leave against illegitimate termination of their employment contract. These protections also … Continue reading
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