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News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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discrimination in employment

Can an employer terminate an employee for just cause if they were charged with a criminal offense?

The laying of a criminal charge alone does not constitute just cause (i.e. dismissal without notice) in every instance. In order to summarily dismiss an employee for being charged with a criminal offense, the employer must show that there is some connection between the charge and the employer.

 

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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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Discriminatory grounds such as family status, age, marital status, etc. that deal with the duty to accommodate

The Ontario Human Rights Code lists a number of personal characteristics protected from discrimination: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability. These personal characteristics are often referred to as “protected grounds”. An employer is prohibited from discriminating against an employee on the basis of any protected ground.

 

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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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Can an employee “sign away” their human rights?: Brown v. Prime Communications Canada Inc.

The question of “can an employee “sign away” their human rights?” became relevant in a recent case. After signing a release with her employer, the Applicant filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging discrimination with respect to employment because of sex contrary to the Human Rights Code.

 

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To defer or not to defer a human rights application: What are the relevant questions?

Where the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario finds there is a separate proceeding that may involve similar facts, the Tribunal has discretion to defer consideration of an application until the proceeding has been completed. Such was the question, whether or not to defer the application in the recent interim order in West v.Yogen Fruz Canada Inc.

 

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Summary hearings at the HRTO: Is an alternative explanation enough?

When a respondent is first made aware that a Human Rights application has been filed against them, often their first response is to deny any accusations and to request a summary hearing in hopes of disposing of the matter at the outset. While such hearings may be requested, it does not always work to the advantage of the respondent. Such was the case in the recent Interim Decision of Lomotey v. Kitchener Waterloo Multicultural Centre.

 

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When can employers draw the line? The duty to accommodate and undue hardship

In Perron v Revera Long Term Care Inc., the Human Rights Tribunal held that an employer’s duty to accommodate does not include a duty to create a new position, fundamentally change working conditions, assign the essential duties of an employee with a disability to other employees or to hire another employee to perform them in the employee’s place.

 

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Should employees talk about mental illness?

This month media campaigns are encouraging people to talk about mental illness. This raises the question about whether employees should talk to their employer about mental illness or remain silent for fear of losing their jobs.

 

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The impact of human rights legislation on the interview process

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.

 

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