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Is the appearance of “youth” a bona fide occupational qualification?

Kimberly Ouwroulis filed a Human Rights complaint alleging discrimination based on her age. The complaint was filed after she was terminated from her job as an exotic dancer at a strip club, allegedly, for being too old. As a highly publicized case, experts quickly asked the question whether or not age, for an exotic dancer, is a BFOQ?

 

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New development in Christian Horizons discrimination case

When a support worker at an evangelical Christian organization that runs homes for persons with developmental disabilities entered a same-sex relationship, the organization found the worker had breached its “Lifestyle and Morality Statement,” which prohibited homosexual relationships. The organization, Christian Horizons, eventually terminated the employee on that ground, and the worker complained of discrimination to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

 

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Religious accommodation and safety issues

As we can see by this article, employees requesting a religious accommodation can sometimes conflict with safety issues.

 

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Federal Court clarifies that the prohibited ground of “family status” includes “childcare obligations”

Do employers have to accommodate the “childcare responsibilities” of their employees to the point of undue hardship? The Federal Court has confirmed that in the federal jurisdiction the answer is yes subject to the requirement that the childcare responsibility be a “substantial parental obligation”.

 

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Can you require employees to speak English?

Can you require employees to speak English? As always, the answer to this question is “yes”, “no” and “it depends”.

 

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Expect application for leave to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada in Air Canada mandatory retirement case

Since the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the mandatory retirement practice for Air Canada pilots, some developments have taken place. First, in the primary Vilven and Kelly case, there will likely be an application filed to obtain leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the constitutionality of section 15(1)(c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

 

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Air Canada pilots’ mandatory retirement saga continues

As you may recall, Air Canada pilots launched human rights complaints on the ground of age discrimination because the company forced them to retire at age 60. In a history of decisions spanning back to 2007 challenging the Air Canada policy that requires pilots to retire at the age of 60, which section 15(1)(c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act purports to allow, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal recently made two more decisions. One involved…

 

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Older workers and declining performance

When mandatory retirement was eliminated, I noted that this change might create some interesting HR issues for employers of older workers. In the past, employers were often in a position to tolerate declining performance, comfortable in the knowledge that the employment relationship had a fixed “end date.” As a result, they could allow the employee to work out their last few years and retire with dignity.

 

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Canadian Human Rights Commission cautions employers on rights of aging workers

Recently, the Canadian Human Rights Commission received inquiries and was made aware of media commentary about employers seeking to take advantage of the transition period to force older employees to retire before they are ready to.

 

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Variables affecting length of notice: age

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.

 

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Weight a factor in employment decisions

In a recent HRinfodesk poll, we asked our readers if a person’s weight had ever influenced their decision on whether to hire, promote or reward the person. The reason I was so interested in the topic is that a Quebec lawyer recently sued her former law firm because she believes the firm discriminated against her in employment because she was overweight.

 

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Mandatory retirement ends for federally regulated employers

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.

 

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Mandatory retirement has been eliminated − is anyone listening?

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.

 

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The Air Canada pilots’ mandatory retirement saga – will it end with the tribunal’s third decision?

In July, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal made its third decision in the case of two Air Canada pilots who challenged the airline’s mandatory retirement policy. The tribunal decided in favour of Air Canada. Then, in August, the tribunal decided in a similar case involving 70 other Air Canada pilots. The tribunal again decided in favour of the airline, but for different reasons. For those hoping the July decision would settle the matter once and for all, the August decision is sure to confuse matters.

 

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Undue hardship – myth or reality? Learn the latest!

Every employer has experience accommodating employees due to their religion, family needs, health or disability. Accommodation is a necessary practice to manage a workplace today, and it’s the law in Canada, enshrined in the Canadian Human Rights Act and various provincial statutes. But every case of accommodation is different, and interpretations of the law vary.

 

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