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Author Archive - Kevin Sambrano

Kevin Sambrano, B.A.A. is a paralegal who is passionate about human rights. Kevin worked for a number of years as a tenant advocate organizing over 100 tenant associations and taking part in over 80 positive outcome negotiations. He completed his internship at a law firm, focusing in human rights and employment law. Recently, Kevin opened the doors of Sambrano Legal Services offering representation in human rights and employment law in Toronto and the GTA. Read more

Recent decision upholds reasonable prospect criteria

The Tribunal does not have the general power to deal with allegations of unfairness, as the Tribunal’s jurisdiction is exclusive to issues of human rights and discrimination. In order for an application to be successful, the applicant must establish a connection between one or more of the protected grounds and behaviour on the part of the respondent.

 

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Pregnancy and the burden of proof: Grudonic v. Ray Daniel Salon & Spa

In an application under s. 34 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, the burden of proof lies with the applicant. Once the applicant has established a prima facie case of discrimination, the burden then shifts to the respondent to justify their conduct.

 

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Sloan v. Just Energy Corporation: Pregnancy and fairness under the Code

The Code protects employees from discrimination based on various protected grounds. One of the more difficult of these may be pregnancy, as often the question becomes not whether or not the applicant was pregnant, but rather when the employer became aware of the pregnancy, and whether or not the pregnancy was a factor in the employee’s termination.

 

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E.T. v. Dress Code Express Inc., the “Code” as applied to minors

The Ontario Human Rights Code is extensive in its efforts to protect persons within Ontario, and may apply to minors in the workforce. Regardless of the age of the employee, chances are they are covered by the “Code,” and their rights may be enforced if not by the employee, then by a litigation guardian. Age as well as the other protected grounds, is not an excuse or invitation for abuse.

 

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Marijuana use remains cloudy

Canada legalizes marijuana

As laws regarding marijuana continue to evolve, even now employers are faced with ongoing legal questions concerning medical marijuana use in the workplace.

 

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The “G” word: Brooks v. Total Credit Recovery Limited

Brooks v. Total Credit Recovery Limited, a decision from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario examined words, their etymology, and their impact in the workplace.

 

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Vexatious litigants and abuse of process at Tribunal

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has the authority to govern its own proceedings. Within this authority is the power to declare any applicant a vexatious litigant and to identity any abuse of process, either of which may result in the dismissal of an Application. The recent interim decision addresses both of these issues.

 

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Family status: The employee’s obligation under “the Code”

The recent decision of Misetich v. Value Village Stores Inc. reaffirms that family status accommodation under the Human Rights Code is a joint obligation, involving both the employee and employer.

 

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Disability and termination under the Human Rights Code

Under the Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code), an employee cannot be terminated due to a disability. If the Human Rights Tribunal finds that the termination was based in part or in whole on a disability, this may be considered a breach of the Code. The matter was addressed in one of the first Tribunal decisions of 2017, Ben Saad v. 1544982 Ontario Inc.

 

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Res judicata revisited at HRTO and OLRB

The legal doctrine of res judicata can cause an Application at the Human Rights Tribunal to be dismissed. This was the case in Chen v. Harris Rebar.

 

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Discrimination and a decision on remedies

In an application filed under the Human Rights Code of Ontario, once the matter has been heard, and the Tribunal has found the respondent to be liable, the next stage is that of remedy. Monetary and non–monetary damages may be awarded as was the case in Kohli v. International Clothiers, where the applicant, Ms. Kohli, had filed an application alleging discrimination in employment on the basis of sex.

 

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Medical documentation request after employee illness

Is an employer’s request for medical documentation after an employee’s illness in keeping with the Human Rights Code (“Code”)? The following case examines whether or not it is a breach of the Code for an employer to request medical documentation as a condition of returning an employee to work.

 

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OHRC’s Policy on discrimination and language: Arnold v. Stream Global Services

As per the OHRC’s Policy on Discrimination and Language, although the Human Rights Code does not explicitly identify “language” as a prohibited ground of discrimination, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario may consider claims under a number of related grounds, such as ancestry, ethnic origin, place of origin and in some circumstances, race. The 2010 matter of Arnold v. Stream Global Services offers an explicit interpretation of this policy.

 

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Summary hearings and the burden of proof at the HRTO

For an application to be fully processed at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the applicant must establish a nexus or “connection” between the protected ground they are alleging and the conduct of the respondent. This was reiterated in the recent summary hearing of Wasty v. Long Wolf Real Estate Technologies.

 

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Does the Tribunal have the power to deal with allegations of “unfairness” at work?

Whether or not the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has the power to deal with general allegations of unfairness in the workplace was recently revisited in Murray v. YouthLink.

 

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