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.
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.
On January 15, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg released its ruling in the cases of four Christian employees who argued that they suffered from discrimination and that their employers encroached upon their right to religious freedom at work. . . .
The Ontario Human Rights Commission issued a release recently to notify the public about an upcoming update to its policy on creed and accommodation of religious observances. The policy was created 15 years ago and is now due to be reviewed and amended to reflect the current demographics in Ontario. Public feedback is being collected to inform the new policy – yes, this means you.
Under human rights legislation in all jurisdictions in Canada, employers cannot ignore the religious needs or observances of employees but must work with employees to try to accommodate them. In addition, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of religion and expression…