Traditionally, when an employee’s absenteeism was excessive and there was no reasonable prospect of returning to work in the foreseeable future—as long as there was no contractual term providing otherwise—a Canadian employer could discharge the employee for non-culpable absenteeism or treat the employment contract as having been frustrated. This would bring the employee’s employment to an end. read more…
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…
by Keri Bennett
As we reported previously, the Canadian federal government is about to join most of the provinces in making mandatory retirement, for the most part, unlawful. That deadline is fast approaching – December 15, 2012. What can employers do until then? According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, very little.
Human Rights Commission news release
Earlier this year, the Canadian Human Rights Commission issued a news release cautioning employers against using the time leading up to December 15 to force employees to retire before they are ready to. In the release, Acting Chief Commissioner David Langtry said that “[t]he transition period should not be viewed as a license to force aging workers out the door. Forcing someone to retire because of their age clearly contradicts Parliament’s intent, even if a defence in the law still appears to be available.” read more…
Your employee is required to pass a drug test before being assigned to another company’s worksite. The employee fails the other company’s drug test and is denied the work. The employee can clearly file a human rights complaint against you as his or her employer. But can he or she go after the other company? The Alberta Court of Appeal has recently said no.
Donald Luka was an electrician employed by Lockerbie & Hole. In 2004, Lockerbie decided to transfer him to a major construction project on a Syncrude-owned site in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Syncrude’s safety policy required workers to pass a drug test before they could be admitted to the site.
Your employee is a single parent. He has to drop his children off at school each morning. They can’t be dropped off earlier than 9 a.m. He has to be back at the school by 5 p.m. to pick them up from their after-school care. He has no family to assist him. Is he covered by the family-status protections in some provinces’ human rights legislation? Do you have to accommodate him?
Increasingly, tribunals are being required to examine this issue: What is an employer’s accommodation obligation where an employee’s needs relating to his family status conflict with employment requirements?
Managing absenteeism can be a significant challenge for Canadian employers. A wide variety of factual situations may be complicated by employment standards, privacy and human rights laws, as well as any applicable union agreements.
An example of the potential challenges of implementing an attendance management program (AMP) is the decade-long battle between Coast Mountain Bus Company Ltd. (CMBC) and the Canadian Auto Workers. It involved an AMP covering transit operators in the Greater Vancouver region of British Columbia.