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human rights legislation

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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Workplace partisan political arguments

workplace partisan political arguments

The U.S. 2016 presidential election and post-election are causing much debate, criticism and protest outside of America. Canadians have actively participated in public marches and protests in response to Trump’s comments and proposed policies, as well as the recent proposedU.S. ban on entry to that country from certain Muslim nations. In this context, employers are right to ask whether workplace partisan political arguments fit in the workplace.

 

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New parents, new responsibilities: Help for employers with post-parental leave concerns

A recent Globe and Mail article highlights the fears that new parents face as they contemplate returning to work after a parental leave. It also highlights the issues employers must address when those employees return to work. Since our employer clients often raise questions about post–leave matters, we would like to offer some helpful tips on this issue.

 

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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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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: A case that addresses an employer’s improper deduction from its employee’s final paycheque; a FAQ that addresses an employee’s misuse of sick days; and a human rights case where an employee established disability based on miscarriage.

 

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Loose lips sink shifts?

A recent online article reported that two seventeen-year-old employees were fired from a Kansas City pizza joint for talking about their pay rates. Both were new employees with the same experience, and the female employee discovered she was earning $0.25/hour less than her male co-worker. When she contacted her employer for an explanation, she was fired for discussing wages with a co-worker, as was the male co-worker. The employer advised that discussing pay was against employer policy, even though both employees stated that such policy was never disclosed to them.

 

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Mental health or physical disabilities that deal with the duty to accommodate

Mastering the ins and outs of the duty to accommodate under human rights legislation is hard. In fact, some would go so far as to say impossible. It’s no wonder this topic has floated to the top of the list of challenges faced by HR practitioners. I’ve given this some thought and come up with a number of rules that I feel should be followed in all cases.

 

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The duty to accommodate revisited: H.T. v. ES Holdings Inc. o/a Country Herbs

The duty to accommodate presents itself to employers in many forms. While the most common accommodation involves a disability, often there are other grounds for accommodation that an employer must address as illustrated in H.T. v. ES Holdings Inc. o/a Country Herbs.

 

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Accommodation of childcare

In the following case, a breach of human rights legislation was found where the employer refused to allow the employee to have the summer off in order to look after her autistic child.

 

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Human Rights Tribunal finds miscarriage constitutes disability

A recent interim decision of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal addressed whether a miscarriage could constitute a disability for the purposes of human rights legislation.

 

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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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Recognizing obesity as a disability – Slippery slope or basic human dignity?

On December 18, 2014, the European Court of Justice decided that while obesity, in itself, is not necessarily a disability, where obesity hinders a person’s ability to engage in “full and effective participation” in the workplace, it could warrant the protection of disability legislation. So what is the status of obesity as a disability in Canada?

 

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Constructive discrimination: The case of Tawney Meiorin

Constructive or adverse discrimination in employment occurs when rules or standards are established that do not discriminate at first glance, but have an adverse effect on persons whose rights are protected under human rights legislation. In such a case, the burden shifts to the employer to establish that such rules or standards are essential to the job, also known as bona fide occupational requirements (BFOR’s. British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v. BCGSEU is the leading case which addresses this issue. This seminal human rights case from the Supreme Court of Canada established a three-part test which has become the standard to evaluate constructive discrimination.

 

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Learn the latest! — Family status accommodation

2014 Ontario Employment Law Conference

In most jurisdictions in Canada, human rights legislation prohibits discrimination on the basis of “family status.” Until recently, few cases were brought alleging discrimination under this branch. However, recent decisions across several jurisdictions have made it clear that employers must be attentive to this ground of discrimination or risk exposing themselves to significant liability.

 

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Request for accommodation: Between a rock and a hard place

Two recent cases dealing with requests for accommodation have put the challenge of balancing competing interests in the forefront of public discussion.

 

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