Topic: Discrimination and harassment

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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

“What are the latest developments on whistleblowing in the workplace in Germany?”

Apart from the well-known Wiki-leaks, recent prominent cases of whistleblowing such as Lux-leaks, the Panama Papers or the case of the German geriatric nurse Brigitte Heinisch, who was dismissed after revealing the ill-treatment of elderly people in a Berlin retirement home, continue to highlight the continued relevance of the topic “whistleblowing”. While this has resulted … 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

What measures are in place (or being proposed) to address gender pay inequality in the workplace in France ?

Gender pay inequality remains a topical issue in France despite the introduction of numerous pieces of legislation intended to suppress the persistent pay gap in average remuneration between women and men. Although French employment law theoretically prohibits any discrimination based on gender and requires that employers ensure equal remuneration between women and men occupying a … Continue reading

Fair P(l)ay in Germany? – What measures are in place (or proposed) to address gender pay inequality in the workplace

This post was also contributed by Ebru Tirel, Trainee, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP (Munich). In Germany, “Equal Pay Day” is widely observed. It marks the day from which women are deemed to start to earn wages in that calendar year, where men have started to earn wages since January 1st. This year, Equal Pay Day was … Continue reading

OHRC Takes a Stand on Gendered Dress Codes

The Human Rights Commission of Ontario (“HRCO”) very recently clarified its stance on gender-specific dress codes by issuing a policy position on the subject.  The policy takes aim at sexualized dress codes found mainly in the restaurant and bar industries.  Of particular concern to the HRTO were any formal or informal policies requiring women to … Continue reading

Vicarious liability for sexual harassment

This article was written by Steven Adams, an Associate and Hermann Nieuwoudt, a Director at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa The Eastern Cape High Court has developed the common law and expanded the circumstances in which an employer may be held vicariously liable for its employee’s sexual harassment of another employee. Phil-Ann Erasmus was employed by … Continue reading

EEOC continues its efforts to incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity into Title VII protections

On March 1, 2016, the EEOC filed two cases with one clear goal: to expand the meaning of “sex” under Title VII. In EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center, P.C., Case No. 2:16-cv-00225-CB (W.D. Pa.),  the agency alleges that the defendant harassed an openly gay male employee because of his sexual orientation, thereby committing unlawful … Continue reading

Parliament takes on pay equity in the workplace

On Wednesday, February 3, 2016, the House of Commons adopted a motion forming a new Special Committee on Pay Equity (Comité spécial sur l’équité salariale in French) [the “Committee”]. The motion was passed with 224 votes in favour and 91 against. The Committee’s mandate includes, but is not limited to, taking legislative action to address … Continue reading

Record Award: Ontario Human Rights Tribunal Awards $150,000 in Compensation

In an unprecedented decision from last May (and worth discussing again), the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (the Tribunal) awarded a migrant worker $150,000 in compensation for injury to her dignity, feelings, and self-respect under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) as a result of sexual harassment and reprisal at the hands of her employer’s … Continue reading

Covert Video Surveillance Overturns Wrongful Dismissal Case

In a preliminary award, an Ontario arbitrator allowed covert video surveillance footage to be used as evidence in a wrongful dismissal grievance. The complainant, Mr. Donnelly, was one of three elementary school custodians dismissed for allegedly smoking marijuana, adjacent to school grounds during working hours. The wrongful dismissal case between Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and … Continue reading

Should employers go to jail for genetic discrimination?

Bill S-201, An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination, is currently being reviewed and debated by the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights. If passed, this Bill would impose quasi-criminal sanctions for genetic discrimination in the workplace, meaning that employers could face significant penalties in the future, including imprisonment. While the principle behind this … Continue reading

Scents and Sensibility in Canadian Workplaces

When is an employee discriminated against because of odours in the workplace?  In the recent decision of Gillis and Nova Scotia (Public Service Commission), Re, (http://canlii.ca/t/gncqd), the Nova Scotia Labour Board considered this issue.  An employee advised management that scents worn by co-workers caused him dizziness, nausea, migraines, loss of appetite, insomnia, anxiety and depression.  … Continue reading

What protection do employees have against racial discrimination in France?

The matter of racial discrimination is a regular source of concern in France, and the issue of protection against such discrimination is as important as ever. In this respect, employee protection is principally ensured through the general principle of non-discrimination in the workplace, which prohibits any employer from treating an employee differently on the basis … Continue reading

What protection do employees have against race discrimination?

According to Article 13 of the Colombian Political Constitution, each individual is born free and equal before the law. The same protection and treatment from the authorities is guaranteed. Every individual is entitled to the same rights, freedoms and opportunities without any discrimination on grounds of race among others. Article 10 of the Colombian Labor … Continue reading

What protection do employees have against race discrimination in Germany?

Due to the large number of refugees now living in Germany, protection against race discrimination has recently become an issue of greater importance. Under the German Anti-Discrimination-Act, which is derived from European directives, all employees in Germany, including apprentices and job applicants, are legally protected against discrimination on grounds of race or ethnic origin. In … Continue reading

Collective Agreements vs. Charter Rights in Nova Scotia

When a collective agreement is negotiated, compromises are often made.  Benefits are given to some but not all employees. However, this can risk being viewed as discriminatory – depending on who receives the new benefits and who does not. In a recent case before the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, IAFF, Local 268 v Adekayode, it was examined … Continue reading

What Protection do Employees have Against Race Discrimination?

Discrimination in Quebec’s labour relations is mainly covered by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Both protect an employee from being wronged by his employer based on race or ethnical differences. They offer employees a broad scope of protection namely with regards to hiring, dismissal, … Continue reading

Highest court to revisit birth control coverage under ACA

The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), the United States’ controversial health care coverage act, requires group health plans and insurers to cover preventive care and screenings for women. Under the related regulations, this coverage includes government-approved contraceptive methods, but the group health plan of a religious employer may be exempt from providing such coverage or … Continue reading
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