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Recent developments: Gender identity and gender expression proposed legislation

Having this type of legislation in your jurisdiction means that employers operating in that particular jurisdiction cannot refuse to employ or refuse to continue to employ any person, or discriminate against any person with regard to employment or any term or condition of employment, because of a person’s gender identity or gender expression.

 

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New Brunswick’s Human Rights Act: Amendments proposed

On March 15, 2017, Bill 51, An Act to Amend the Human Rights Act, received first reading in the New Brunswick legislature, and second reading the next day. The goal of the changes is to modernize the legislation and increase its efficiency. Indeed, this has been the first extensive review of the legislation in 25 years. These changes come on the 50th anniversary of the Human Rights Act. The ultimate goal of the review was to evolve with society and ensure that values are protected. Bill 51 aims to do just this.

 

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Genetic discrimination provisions in human rights legislation: Will Ontario be the first Canadian jurisdiction?

Canada is on its way to including provisions in human rights legislation that prevents discrimination based on a person’s genetic characteristics. The issue is that a person can experience discrimination and harassment simply because of something that may be—something that has the potential of happening. Employers must be aware that human rights legislation is in the process of evolving to include provisions to prevent this type of discrimination, and this will apply in the workplace as well.

 

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Pregnant employee awarded damages in discrimination claim

In a recent matter heard before the Human Rights Tribunal of Alberta (the Tribunal), it was decided that an employer discriminated against its employee in the course of her employment, on the ground of gender, in both sexual harassment and pregnancy. Such action is contrary to the Alberta Human Rights Act. In coming to its conclusion, the Tribunal had to address whether the employee had established a prima facie case of discrimination. If so, did the employer have a defence to the discrimination?

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: a matter that looks at just cause for dismissal; a claim of discrimination in relation to cessation of benefits upon turning the age 65; and claims that address bonus payments on termination.

 

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Court of Appeal overturns finding that respondent must admit discrimination to settle a human rights complaint

Under the Nova Scotia Human Rights framework, a Board of Inquiry must approve any settlement reached after a complaint is referred to a hearing before the Board. Recently, in Nova Scotia (Human Rights Commission) v Grant, 2016 NSCA 37, a Board of Inquiry refused to approve a settlement. The Board concluded that it could not approve a settlement unless the respondent admitted discrimination. As the respondent in this matter had not made such an admission, the Board refused to grant the necessary approval—barring a settlement that the parties were willing to accept.

 

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Is the recent increased support for Pride reflected in current legislation affecting employment?

July 3, 2016 marked the first time a Canadian Prime Minister marched in Toronto’s Pride parade. But some may be wondering, ‘Do Canadian laws currently protect LGBT rights in the workplace, and have they kept up with the evolving climate of increased inclusion?’ The answer depends on the particular jurisdiction involved because the issue is addressed in human rights legislation across Canada.

 

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Update: Is the failure to provide parental leave “Top-Up” benefits discriminatory?

I previously wrote a post about a Nova Scotia Human Rights Board of Inquiry Decision which considered whether an employer’s failure to provide top-up benefits to biological parents on parental leave was discriminatory. The Court of Appeal issued its decision on February 10, 2016.

 

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Alberta the newest province to add gender identity and gender expression to human rights legislation

Effective December 11, 2015, Alberta has added gender identity and gender expression as a prohibited ground of discrimination under its Human Rights Act.

 

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The duty to accommodate: When is the point of undue hardship reached?

Under human rights legislation, employers have a duty to accommodate an employee’s needs related to a prohibited ground of discrimination to the point of undue hardship. It can often be difficult for employers and their legal counsel to assess when the point of undue hardship is reached.

 

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Is the failure to provide parental leave “top-up” benefits discriminatory?

In Adekayode v Halifax (Regional Municipality), a Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission Board of Inquiry recently considered a complaint alleging that an employer’s failure to provide a top-up of employment insurance benefits for biological parents during a parental leave was discriminatory.

 

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HRinfodesk poll result and commentary: Do you conduct criminal record checks? Should you?

Criminal record checks are often in the news, and the federal government was part of that news with recent changes to pardons (now called “record suspensions”) and a program that encourages employers to hire offenders. So we thought it would be a good time to ask our readers, “Does your organization conduct criminal record checks on potential candidates?”

 

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Workplace human rights: Is this sexual harassment?

I am a workplace human rights trainer and I learn of some important real-life scenarios from my workshop participants. I am often asked to provide expert feedback. The following are two very interesting workplace human rights scenarios—I have changed the names of those involved:

 

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An interesting story of how the employer did the right thing

I recently read a case coming out of the Yukon where an employee accused his employer of discriminating against him based on the ground of mental disability, which was contrary to the Yukon Human Rights Act.

 

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Terminating an employee with a disability (Part II)

Is it possible to terminate an employee who suffers from a disability and not commit a human rights violation? I recently read a case that made it clear that employers can do so when there is a justifiable reason to terminate not involving the disability, or after all efforts to accommodate the employee have been exhausted. But employers must be able to show this with evidence.

 

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