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The Supreme Court of Canada interprets workplace discrimination broadly

In British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal v. Schrenk, 2017 SCC 62, the Supreme Court of Canada considered the scope of section 13(1) of BC’s Human Rights Code, which concerns discrimination “regarding employment or any term or condition of employment.”

 

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Supreme Court of Canada confirms that all workplace harassment is protected – even by third parties

In British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal v. Schrenk, 2017 SCC 62, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that human rights legislation is to be interpreted broadly and purposively and specifically found that the protection against workplace harassment is not limited to conduct perpetrated by an individual’s employer or co-worker. This decision will have significant implications for employers and employees alike.

 

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Employee’s secret recording of meetings with management contributes to finding of just cause for dismissal

A recent decision from the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench supports that an employee’s use of his work phone to secretly record meetings with management may support an employer’s decision to terminate for just cause.

 

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Update on genetic discrimination provisions in human rights legislation

Canada is on its way to including genetic discrimination provisions in its human rights legislation. Since March 2017, some interesting developments have occurred.

 

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The #metoo moment

The sudden fall from grace of film producer Harvey Weinstein, over sexual harassment allegations, has proven to be the first rock in a landslide; in the weeks since, women everywhere have begun to voice complaints about past and ongoing instances of unwelcome sexual attention.

 

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The Wall: Tearing down a poisoned work environment

Although a similar CSI-style wall is unlikely to be recreated in a typical workplace, other examples of pervasive, non-specific harassment may arise. It is incumbent upon leaders at all levels in an organization not just to recognize harassment and potentially, a poisoned work environment, but to take steps to remedy the issues.

 

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Workplace politics of politics in the workplace

workplace partisan political arguments

I drove past a house flying a confederate flag last week and asked myself, “Could I live beside that person?” You can’t do anything about the politics of your neighbour, although you don’t have to invite him or her to your backyard BBQ. The workplace, however is another story. How does an employer deal with an employee’s unpopular politics?

 

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What you don’t know can hurt you: A new wave of WSIB claims for chronic mental stress

On May 17, 2017, Bill 127 (Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act) received Royal Assent. The Bill modified the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to allow WSIB benefits for workers who suffer from chronic mental stress in the course of their employment.

 

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Protecting employees from third-party harassment

Even if an employer is not fully successful at the end of the day, the moral boost to workers of knowing that their employer is willing to go to bat to stop harassment in its tracks cannot be overstated.

 

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Talking damages: Put your money where your mouth is

When it comes to human rights cases, awards for general damages are often less than $10,000, even though the $10,000 cap on general damages was removed almost a decade ago.

 

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Bad facts make bad law (for employers): Court recognizes new tort of harassment #learnthelatest

The Ontario Superior Court recently recognized a new tort that would allow employees to sue their employers for harassment in civil court. To find out more about how the new tort of harassment in the employment law context, register to Learn the Latest® at the Ontario Employment Law Conference on June 20, 2017.

 

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Is it work-related? Novel workers’ compensation decisions deal with harassment and assault #learnthelatest

It may seem fairly obvious when a worker breaks her leg “in the course of employment”. However, injuries and illnesses related to bullying and harassment have drawn significant attention in recent years, and decisions from various workers’ compensation tribunals across the country illustrate that determining the work-relatedness of such injuries is no simple task.

 

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Workplace health and safety law and partisan political arguments

workplace partisan political arguments

In March, a discussion was posted with respect to how workplace political expression could go awry with human rights law. The article also provided some best practices on how human resources professionals and employers can appropriately address human rights complaints specifically on the basis of political belief, activity or association. This following discussion, “Part 2”, addresses how workplace political expression could also contravene harassment provisions under occupational health and safety legislation.

 

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Workplace instant messaging: Information overload

We all know that social media, electronic communications and the online world has changed how we interact socially. Who has the patience to leave a voice message for a friend about a restaurant meeting place, let alone listen to one? That’s what instant messaging is for. Short, efficient and no small talk. But, does this efficient communication work in the workplace?

 

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Tort of harassment: Employer ordered to pay employee $100,000

This blog discusses a case where a trial judge awarded an employee $100,000 general damages because the employer committed, among other things, the tort of harassment.

 

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