Topic: Discrimination and harassment

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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

How are pregnant employees in California protected in the event of a redundancy?

Both federal and California laws provide numerous safeguards to protect pregnant employees before, during, and after childbirth. Protections include prohibitions against discrimination during hiring and employment, and against termination based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, even if legitimate bases also exist for the employer’s conduct. When federal and California laws differ, the employer must provide … Continue reading

Do employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave enjoy special protection on redundancy?

It is not unlawful in itself to make an employee redundant who is pregnant or on maternity leave. This means that, subject to the special protection enjoyed in respect of alternative employment referred to below, the fairness and lawfulness of the redundancy dismissal will be determined in the same way as other redundancy dismissals. So, … Continue reading

Disability Discrimination on recruitment

It is not only employees who have the right to claim discrimination: Applicants for employment can also be discriminated against. Employers must therefore ensure that any recruitment process is not discriminatory. A recent case of Government Legal Service –v- Brookes considered a recruitment process to the Government Legal Service (GLS).  Applicants to that service are … Continue reading

Butt out! (ergonomically speaking): British Columbia Court of Appeal outlines management and union rights in employee accommodations

On February 28, 2017 the British Columbia Court of Appeal issued a decision that should be welcomed by unionized employers dealing with accommodating employees.  In Telus Communications Inc. v. Telecommunications Workers’ Union, 2017 BCCA 100 the issue was whether the employer was able to deal directly with its unionized employees when attempting to accommodate those … Continue reading

Expanding definition of “sex discrimination” under Title VII

The Judiciary continues to act where Congress will not All employment attorneys—and most employers—know that Title VII bars discrimination based on certain enumerated personal characteristics: race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It has long been the case that “sex” meant biological sex only, i.e., discriminating against a woman because she is a woman, or … Continue reading

Human resources managers can be indirectly liable for harassment

Health and safety of employees is highly protected in France. Employers are  responsible for the prevention of any damage to their employees’ health and safety resulting from their work. Amongst other things, French law requires employers to ensure that their employees are protected from any harassment at work. But another provision of the French Employment … Continue reading

Not on the Menu: Ontario Human Rights Commission releases findings from restaurant dress code inquiry in new report

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) recently released the findings from its inquiry on sexualized and gender-specific dress codes in a report entitled, Not on the Menu: Inquiry report on sexualized and gender-based dress codes in Ontario’s restaurants. A series of complaints from restaurant workers prompted the Commission to release a policy position in … Continue reading

“Facially unacceptable” – An inexcusable ground for discrimination

This article was written by Purnel Gangiah,  a Candidate Attorney at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa The mere fact that an employer considers an employee to be disabled does not necessarily mean that the employee is in fact disabled and cannot fulfill its normal duties at work. In Smith v Kit Kat Group (Pty) Ltd. … Continue reading

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

Deeds of release may be set aside if they are brought about as a consequence of unlawful discrimination

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCCA) has found that the Court has the power under s46PO(4) of the Australian Human Right Commission Act 1986 (Cth) (AHRC Act) to set aside a deed of release, where the deed comes into existence as a consequence of unlawful discrimination.[1]… 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
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