Tag archives: human rights

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

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

Application for interlocutory injunction preventing implementation of random drug and alcohol testing of TTC employees denied

  In Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 v Toronto Transit Commission, 2017 ONSC 2078, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 (ATU) unsuccessfully argued that the implementation of the random drug and alcohol testing of its members should be withheld until the conclusion of the main arbitration hearing addressing the validity of the new drug and alcohol … 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

Summer Dress Codes

With summer fast approaching appropriate summer dress codes are back in the spotlight. Frequent discussion takes place regarding the degree to which an employer can determine what an employee is permitted to wear. Inappropriate work attire can be problematic to deal with for employers.  What is appropriate summer work attire in a given workplace, and … Continue reading

Corporate Human Rights 2017 Benchmark shows companies at relatively early stage in implementing UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights 

The Corporate Human Rights 2017 Benchmark is a pilot project led by a not-for-profit company backed by a number of global investment management firms, governmental departments in the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and various international foundation.  The overarching goal of the Benchmark is to create the first open and transparent public benchmark of corporate … 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

Le devoir de vigilance : une obligation renforcée

L’obligation de vigilance est une obligation faite aux entreprises de prévenir les risques sociaux, environnementaux et de gouvernance lié à leurs activités. La loi du 27 mars 2017 relative au devoir de vigilance des sociétés mères et des entreprises donneuses d’ordre, publiée le 28 mars 2017 au Journal Officiel, renforce l’obligation de vigilance. Le devoir … 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

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

Small Businesses and the AODA: New Requirements as of January 1, 2017

Over the last few years, large Ontario employers have been busy implementing changes to their practices in order to meet new accommodation requirements under the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). As of January 1, 2017, Ontario employers with fewer than 50 employees must now meet additional obligations with respect to employment standards and … 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

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

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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