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human rights code

Disability and termination under the Human Rights Code

Under the Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code), an employee cannot be terminated due to a disability. If the Human Rights Tribunal finds that the termination was based in part or in whole on a disability, this may be considered a breach of the Code. The matter was addressed in one of the first Tribunal decisions of 2017, Ben Saad v. 1544982 Ontario Inc.

 

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Despite settlement breach, an award of compensation not warranted

Although the Tribunal found there to be a contravention of settlement, it deemed that the delay in receiving the monies was relatively minor, and therefore an award of compensation was not warranted.

 

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Protecting employees from social media harassment

It is well known that employees have certain legal obligations to their employer with respect to the content of their social media profiles. An arbitrator recently confirmed that employers also need to be careful about the content of their social media pages as it relates to their employees.

 

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Res judicata revisited at HRTO and OLRB

The legal doctrine of res judicata can cause an Application at the Human Rights Tribunal to be dismissed. This was the case in Chen v. Harris Rebar.

 

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Family status accommodation: How to respond to requests

Because of changes in demographics and other reasons, employees are increasingly asking for changed work schedules or time off work to care for children and elderly parents (i.e. family status accommodation). Depending on the size of the business and the employee’s duties these requests can create real problems. As a result, employers often ask whether a request for changed hours or time off work must be accommodated. The legal landscape has been shifting in this area for a number of years. This blog discusses the applicable legislation and some recent case law.

 

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Discrimination and a decision on remedies

In an application filed under the Human Rights Code of Ontario, once the matter has been heard, and the Tribunal has found the respondent to be liable, the next stage is that of remedy. Monetary and non–monetary damages may be awarded as was the case in Kohli v. International Clothiers, where the applicant, Ms. Kohli, had filed an application alleging discrimination in employment on the basis of sex.

 

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Managing toxic employees in the workplace

A workplace is a team environment. It functions best when the atmosphere is positive. One of the biggest concerns for employers, in Ontario and elsewhere, is how to address and manage the presence of toxic employees in the workplace. In a recent report from the Harvard Business School, “toxic worker” was defined as someone who “engages in behaviour that is harmful to an organization, including either its property or people.”

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: An employee who was told to quit if she felt unsafe; current and 2017 payroll rates; and the introduction of a new Bill to cover physical size and weight in human rights legislation.

 

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Gender identity and gender expression

Following our previous post on the British Columbia government’s bill to amend the Human Rights Code (Code) earlier this year, the bill recently received royal assent and gender identity and gender expression are now expressly included in the Code as protected grounds. Though the meaning and application of these new protected grounds will need to be fleshed out by Tribunal and court decisions, the Tribunal’s website now provides the following descriptions…

 

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Medical documentation request after employee illness

Is an employer’s request for medical documentation after an employee’s illness in keeping with the Human Rights Code (“Code”)? The following case examines whether or not it is a breach of the Code for an employer to request medical documentation as a condition of returning an employee to work.

 

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OHRC’s Policy on discrimination and language: Arnold v. Stream Global Services

As per the OHRC’s Policy on Discrimination and Language, although the Human Rights Code does not explicitly identify “language” as a prohibited ground of discrimination, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario may consider claims under a number of related grounds, such as ancestry, ethnic origin, place of origin and in some circumstances, race. The 2010 matter of Arnold v. Stream Global Services offers an explicit interpretation of this policy.

 

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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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“Age is an impediment”: Fair severance for older employees in Ontario

Courts have previously recognized that older employees may struggle to find comparable re-employment. In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded 24 months’ common law reasonable notice to a dismissed employee who was 61 years old at the time of dismissal. This decision provides some helpful direction and guidance for employers that move to terminate the employment of older, long service employees from their organization.

 

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Gender wage gap has not been closing: Report to the Ontario government

The gender wage gap steering committee recently submitted its final report to the Ontario government. The main finding was that the gender wage gap has not been closing and the government must take action. Further, the committee stated that there is much that employers can do immediately in order to ameliorate the situation.

 

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Intersectionality: Re-think your pre-think

We need to take a step back and reassess our assumptions that preclude those who are marginalized. We need to get a sense of how we can think inclusively while building roads to view human diversity as more than a product of a singular association or identity. The concepts of accommodation, accessibility and inclusion that an organization uses have to be robust enough to pay respect to the fact that people are a system of identities that continuously flow and change.

 

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