No more human rights forum shopping?

August 25, 2013 - by: Lindsey Taylor 0 COMMENTS

By Lindsey Taylor

A few weeks ago, we reported on the recent decision in Baker v. Navistar Canada Inc., which confirmed that unionized employees aren’t able to bring employment claims to court. Rather, these claims must be brought within the framework of the special legal relationship between the union and the employer, either by way of a grievance or a complaint to the respective Labour Relations Board if there are grounds to do so.

But what about human rights issues – where should a unionized employee address those? And can a unionized employee pursue claims in both arbitration and human rights forums? A recent case from the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, Mahdi v. Hertz Canada, says “no.” read more…

Managing the message in the hiring process in Canada: human rights risks

June 23, 2013 - by: Marc Rodrigue 0 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

Hiring a new employee can be a lengthy process, fraught with complex evaluations of skills, qualifications, and other attributes. The whole process must of course comply with applicable provincial and federal antidiscrimination laws.

What people say during the process may provide evidence that a hiring decision is discriminatory. Where multiple people are involved, the risk increases that remarks are made that are perceived as discriminatory. As one employer in Ontario recently discovered in Reiss v. CCH Canadian Limited, failure to manage the message to candidates can lead to a successful human rights claim even if the decision itself was proper. read more…

Mood problem or mental disorder? When can employers discipline?

May 12, 2013 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

Employers in Canada can’t discriminate against employees based on mental disabilities. But the broad interpretation that courts and arbitration boards frequently apply to human rights laws often makes it difficult to know where the boundaries of “mental disability” lie.

In a recent arbitration decision in Ontario, Windsor (City) and WPFFA (Elliot), the arbitrator found that an employee’s mood problems and stress issues weren’t classifiable as mental disorders. He didn’t qualify as having a mental health disability requiring accommodation. read more…

Gender identity and expression now protected in Ontario

May 05, 2013 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Alix Herber and Keri Bennett

Human Rights Tribunals across Canada are constantly expanding the interpretation of prohibited grounds. Ontario has recently joined Manitoba and the Northwest Territories and gone one step further by recognizing gender identity as a prohibited ground. read more…

Better an addict than a thief: disciplining drug- and alcohol-dependent employees

March 24, 2013 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Jennifer M. Shepherd and Hannah Roskey

It’s well established that discrimination against an employee on the basis of a physical or mental disability is prohibited in Canada. Drug or alcohol addictions constitute a “disability” under most human rights legislation such that employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of their addictions.

read more…

Definition of ‘employer’ key to human rights claim of worker in isolated location

January 27, 2013 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 1 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

The Alberta Court of Appeal has recently added to the ongoing debate in Canada over who is or isn’t an employer in the human rights context. In its recent decision in 375850 Alberta Ltd. v. Beverly Noel and the Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, the dismissal of the complainant’s appeal illustrates that naming the correct employer is vital to the outcome. read more…

Is sexual harassment discrimination if there is no evidence of differential treatment?

December 16, 2012 - by: Chuck Harrison 0 COMMENTS

By Charles Harrison

The answer to the question in the title is yes, a Canadian court confirmed recently.
Sexual harassment is discrimination. Overturning a decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court, the British Columbia Court of Appeal recently clarified that evidence of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is alone sufficient to establish discrimination on the basis of sex.

That decision overturned a lower court decision that had held that the harassment of a female couldn’t be found to amount to sexual discrimination without evidence that males were treated differently. read more…

Employee who talks about settlement gets less

December 02, 2012 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

By Brian P. Smeenk

It’s common practice across Canada, when settling a discrimination or wrongful termination claim, to agree that the deal will remain confidential. What can an employer do if employees fail to honor that agreement? What if they blab about the settlement to their coworkers? read more…