Given the elimination of mandatory retirement years ago, employees are working for longer periods of time and well into their 60s and some into their 70s. Age has always been one of the key Bardal factors, in addition to title, length of service and compensation, that courts use to determine an appropriate common law notice period. In the recent case of Ozorio v. Canadian Hearing Society, 2016 ONSC 5440, Justice O’Marra confirmed that an employee’s age remains a significant factor in determining a common law notice period.
A recent Ontario Human Rights case further underscores the employer’s ongoing duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship, and that Code based harassment or discrimination constitutes a breach under the Human Rights Code of Ontario.
This human rights case demonstrates the importance of preparing and maintaining proper documentation when interviewing job applicants for a position with the employer. In fact, the notes of the hiring manager in this case highlighted the fact that there were other reasons for not hiring a job applicant—and those notes likely prevented the employer’s liability.
Many H.R. Departments pride themselves on the skill with which they can interview prospective employees in order to assess their qualifications for the position being advertised, the fit of the employee with the organization, and the likelihood that the employee will stay with the organization for a reasonable period of time. What employers are often not cognizant of is the limitation imposed on this process by the provisions of various provincial and federal Human Rights statutes.
A recent decision by the Federal Court of Appeal has upheld the mandatory retirement practice for Air Canada pilots. This decision overturns earlier findings by the Federal Court of Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that contractual provisions forcing Air Canada pilots to retire at 60 violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.
A photo of a beautifully designed stairway with an integrated accessibility ramp recently caught my eye. It is a fine example of a creative and attractive solution to a problem we are seeing more and more. Unfortunately, I think the stair is actually a hazard for anyone who uses it, not just persons with disabilities!
The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench recently challenged the Human Rights Commission’s decision to dismiss an employee’s discrimination complaint based on age as without merit. The employer denies discriminating against the employee on the basis of his age, and maintains that the employee was terminated for poor performance.
We know that there is no precise method to determine the common-law period of reasonable notice when terminating employees. What has evolved and has been the most quoted case to help with this is the infamous Bardal vs. Globe and Mail. This case tells us that reasonable notice must be decided with reference to each specific case, considering the character of employment, length of service of the servant, the age of the servant and the availability of similar employment, having regard to the experience, training and qualifications of the servant.
The federal government gave royal assent to Bill C-13, Keeping Canada’s Economy and Jobs Growing Act on December 15, 2011. Several of the measures enacted have an impact on employment law for federally regulated workplaces. One of the measures amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to eliminate the mandatory retirement age for federally regulated employees.
Old habits die hard. The Human Resources industry is obviously having a hard time abandoning the notion that 65 is the accepted age for retirement. Since amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code in 2006, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based solely on age. Prima facie compelling retirement at age 65 is a breach of the Code.
Between November 22 and November 25, 2010, the Federal Court of Canada will hold hearings and then decide whether the mandatory retirement age of 60 years should stand for about 3,000 Air Canada pilots.