‘But it was due to my addiction’—when is last-minute confession too late?

June 01, 2014 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

It is not uncommon for an employee to disclose an addiction only when being terminated for misconduct that may be related to the employee’s substance abuse. The employee then tries to trigger human rights protections due to his or her “disability.” A recent Alberta court decision, Bish v. Elk Valley Coal Corporation, provides a good example of when such a claim may simply be too little, too late, even under Canada’s protective human rights laws. read more…

Allergies in the workplace can’t be ignored

September 29, 2013 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…

Mood problem or mental disorder? When can employers discipline?

May 12, 2013 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…

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

March 24, 2013 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.

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Accommodating Mental Illness

November 15, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Alix Herber and Hadiya Roderique

In Canada, employers have a duty to accommodate individuals suffering from a disability to the level of undue hardship. In the case of an employee with a physical disability, it often can be relatively straightforward to identify accommodations that can be implemented.

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Accommodating Disabled Workers – Undue Hardship in Hard Times?

October 25, 2010 0 COMMENTS

by Chuck Harrison

When warehouse worker Dan Tomasella was injured in a car accident in 2008, his employer did the right thing: Maersk Distribution accommodated his graduated return to work and provided him with light duties.

Maersk stepped up again when Tomasella’s shoulder injury was further aggravated. But when the economy took a turn for the worse, Maersk laid him off because of his disability. A labor arbitrator has now found that the employer’s human rights “duty to accommodate” substantially changed when its business was sideswiped by the crashing economy.

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