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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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Is mandatory retirement really mandatory?

Section 15.1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) provides that “every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on…age.”


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Free speech v. discrimination: When workplace rules cross the line

The recent case of Friesen v. Fisher Bay Seafood and others is a great example of free speech v. discrimination, on how and when workplace rules cross the line…


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