Further developments in Canadian law regarding gender identity and expression in the workplace

December 04, 2016 - by: Clayton Jones 0 COMMENTS

by Clayton Jones

In Canada, continuing legislative developments continue to occur regarding the issues of gender identity and gender expression and have gained much attention in recent months. This is, in part, due to the increased acknowledgement of the challenges faced by transgendered people including in the workplace.

One of the results is that employers are being required more than ever to pay attention to the issues of gender identity and gender expression in the workplace, including ensuring that discrimination against transgendered employees is not tolerated and that workplace accommodations are implemented as appropriate.

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Benefits beyond age 65?

June 26, 2016 - by: Marc Rodrigue 0 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

The laws that generally provided for mandatory retirement in Canada have been eliminated. Across Canada, with very few exceptions, employees generally cannot be forced to retire at age 65. But can their benefits be cut off at age 65?

Even if employers are permitted to cut off benefits to workers 65 and older under human rights antidiscrimination laws, are they contractually entitled to do so? Recent labor arbitration decisions indicate that if employers don’t properly contract to cut off benefits, they may not be entitled to cut off benefits at all.

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Legal haze: accommodating employees who use medical marijuana

November 22, 2015 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 1 COMMENTS

by Kyla Stott-Jess

One of the hot topics discussed during the recent Canadian federal election was the possible legalization of marijuana. The Liberal Party, which won the election, took a position in favor of legalization as part of its platform.

As the country waits to see whether the new government will put forward legislation to legalize marijuana, Canadian employers continue to navigate the complicated issues that arise in their workplaces when their employees have medical prescriptions permitting their use of marijuana. read more…

Rare costs award granted in human rights complaint

November 02, 2014 - by: Hannah Roskey 0 COMMENTS

by Hannah Roskey

Although courts routinely order one party to pay the other party a portion of its legal fees, administrative tribunals in Canada very rarely have the power or inclination to do so. That includes human rights tribunals across the country, which very rarely order one party to pay the other’s legal costs even where they have the power to do so.

In Kim Ma v. Dr. Iain G. M. Cleator, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal took the highly unusual step of ordering the complainant to pay a portion of the respondent employer’s legal fees. Why? In this case, the tribunal found the complainant’s conduct to be so egregious that it was the exception to the rule. read more…

Human rights complaint can hurt your reputation AND your bottom line

March 23, 2014 - by: David Wong 0 COMMENTS

By David G. Wong

Until recently, the damages awarded by Canadian human rights tribunals, courts, and arbitrators across the country for human rights violations were relatively modest. In the past few years, we have seen those awards increase, although not to an outrageous level. But that might all be changing, as two recent decisions out of Western Canada—one out of British Columbia and the other out of Alberta—suggest. read more…

Human rights claim disallowed; victim was part of the harassment

February 02, 2014 - by: Nicola Sutton 0 COMMENTS

By Nicola Sutton

In December 2013 we reported on the allegations faced by the Miami Dolphins that one of its players had been bullied and harassed by his teammates, an issue faced by many employers. Sometimes these issues are complicated when a complaining employee has been or is an active participant in the complained-of behavior.

How do Canadian courts and human rights tribunals deal with these situations? The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal had occasion to consider this recently in Kafer v. Sleep Country Canada and another (No. 2). read more…

Allergies in the workplace can’t be ignored

September 29, 2013 - by: Eowynne Noble 1 COMMENTS

By Eowynne Noble

Peanuts, gluten, perfumes, smoke, and latex—we all know allergies to these and other substances are on the rise. And workplaces aren’t immune to the problem. More and more employees are suffering from allergies and sensitivities than ever before.

To put it in perspective, Health Canada recently reported that up to four percent of Canadians have a physician-diagnosed food allergy. We understand that schools accommodate these types of allergies, but surely employers don’t have to. Not true, as was made clear in a recent Ontario arbitration decision, London Health Sciences Centre v. Ontario Nurses’ Association (LHSC v. ONA). read more…

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…

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…

Personal liability of managers for workplace harassment

February 17, 2013 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Marisa Victor and Lydia de Guzman

Canadian employers, like those in the United States, are required to deal effectively with sexual harassment in the workplace. But managers have usually been personally liable only in the worst cases.

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