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human rights

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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Call for a national accessibility action plan to meet obligations to people with disabilities

For years I have followed the work of advocacy groups in order to understand the needs of people with disabilities. One issue stands out among the research: the removal and prevention of barriers is vital to provide equal access to daily living. Two recognizable advocacy groups are asking the federal government to get on with a plan of action.


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Woman suffered discrimination at work for disability

Elsa Torrejon was diagnosed in early 2009 with breast cancer. After telling her employer about her illness and requesting an indefinite leave to receive treatment for breast cancer, she found herself dismissed and fighting for her human rights.


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Employer’s duty to accommodate an employee’s illness

I am often asked by HR Managers and other supervisory personnel how long an employee can be off work due to illness before he is deemed to have abandoned his position. Many HR people question whether they have to retain the opening indefinitely where there is no reliable prediction as to when an employee will return to work. The issue is important in that…


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AODA – Are the doorman and elevator attendant back?

Despite such pressing topics as the fast-approaching Bill 168 changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, almost certainly the biggest topic this year was the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). I mean, you’ve already prepared your organization for Bill 168, right—and it wasn’t too painful, was it? Well, the AODA Customer Service Standard is going to creep up quickly, too, and it will change the way you do business.


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‘Hazing’ and ‘horseplay’ in the workplace – a serious matter for the employer

I recently read an article on “hazing” and “horseplay” in the workplace. Photos and videos revealed incidents where employees were subjected to some very unusual, and downright unacceptable, treatment in the transportation and works department of their municipal employer.


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Employees who hate working…a human rights issue?

An employee who hates working and being managed by his or her supervisor – Can this become a human rights issue in the workplace? Well it depends!


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Accessibility standards: Are you ready for the customer service standard?

Are you ready for the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act?


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Human rights on vacation in Montreal

I am on holiday in Montreal and delighted to see the city blanketed with banners announcing “International Day Against Homophobia.” A human rights issue…


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Human rights law update – News from the front

New human rights procedures came into effect in Ontario in mid-2008, and we’re beginning to see the results of the changes. Session Two at First Reference’s Ontario Employment Law Conference, June 2, 2010, will look at the following topics…


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Dealing with a disability leave

What can an employer do when an employee has been off work for a significant period of time due to a disability (illness or injury)? How long must the employee remain employed with the employer under human rights law? These are questions often asked by employers and human resources professionals.


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Harassment has potential to breed violence when unchecked!

My colleagues and I recently made fun of the possible employment law issues that could come out of the implementation of full-body scanners as a form of screening device for airport security. But I never expected this, and so soon.


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Training: Are you engaging your employees?

There is training, and then there is engaging training…


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Human rights are a strategy, not a barrier

When you think of human rights, what comes to mind? Is it equality and basic rights for all? Or is it an intrusion into your business operations? Maybe you consider human rights a challenging opportunity, or just another way for employees to take advantage of employers in court. The Canadian Human Rights Commission wants employers to understand that human rights law and isn’t just about punishing employers; it’s about promoting equality, diversity and compromise, as well as business productivity, efficiency and growth.


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Discrimination prevention strategies

What can employers do in their workplace to prevent discrimination against employees who have disabilities?


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