I first wrote about genetic discrimination in the workplace in August of 2004. At that time, I compared it to the movie Gattaca, in which a man tries to hide his “imperfect” genetic makeup so that he can enjoy a way of life and secure a job reserved for people without “flawed” genes. Although Gattaca is science fiction, the movie’s plot is not that remote from present-day reality.
Imagine this: a customer enters your office or store and very quickly suffers an attack of some sort, causing her to break out in hives and have difficulty breathing. Employees remove her from the store, but she’s in such a state that she has to go to the hospital. You later discover that the customer suffers from environmental sensitivities, and unfortunately she had her first major attack at your workplace. Oh, and she claims she can no longer work because of the episode, so she’s suing you for damages and lost wages.
Halloween costumes often provoke this question in people and I wonder why. We seem to have a strong need to label or categorize people. We even want to do this on festive occasions when the whole point is to have fun!
I am honoured to have this opportunity to share with you my insights and ideas in the important and ever-changing area of workplace human rights and occupational health & safety. Looking forward to a lively and interactive online exchange!
However limited an organization’s party budget is, most of them still use the holiday season to show their employees their appreciation for their year-long efforts by holding a holiday party on or off company premises. In the last several years, however, many organizations have looked carefully at how they approach the annual holiday party, for legal and economical reasons.
The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal recently awarded a woman $35,000 after her employer fired her when she revealed on her first day of work that she was four months pregnant. (The award covered $20,000 in lost wages and benefits, and $15,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.) In addition to the damage award, given the overwhelming number of women working for the employer, the tribunal ordered the company to implement and distribute a written policy on the accommodation of pregnancy to ensure future compliance.
It’s a pleasure to welcome Andrew Lawson as a guest blogger. He will be blogging about human resources, employment and labour law issues, specifically in the areas of human rights and health and safety .