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“Asking for trouble”: BC Human Rights Tribunal considers whether interview questions crossed the line

The interview process can be a legal minefield for employers. One false step, one inappropriate question can give rise to a human rights complaint alleging that the employer has discriminated against the prospective employee.

 

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Company ordered to pay $8,000.00 for discriminatory text messages during job application process

A company in Ottawa has just landed itself with a damage award from the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and a lot of embarrassing media coverage in how one of its employees discriminated against a potential candidate for employment on the basis of “race, colour and ethnic origin” during a telephone job interview and subsequent texts. The case of Bouraoui v. Ottawa Valley Cleaning and Restoration, is a shocking example of discriminatory conduct on the part of an employer.

 

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Employer liable under human rights for consultant’s discriminatory action

While many employers in Canada understand that they have obligations under human rights legislation, they likely do not appreciate that they can also be liable if a consultant contracted to provide services on their behalf engages in discriminatory action. This is what occurred in Ontario in the recent case of Reiss v CCH Canadian Limited, 2013 HRTO 764.

 

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The impact of human rights legislation on the interview process

Many H.R. Departments pride themselves on the skill with which they can interview prospective employees in order to assess their qualifications for the position being advertised, the fit of the employee with the organization, and the likelihood that the employee will stay with the organization for a reasonable period of time. What employers are often not cognizant of is the limitation imposed on this process by the provisions of various provincial and federal Human Rights statutes.

 

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Slaw: Applicants excluded from hiring process when name identified with a racialized group

A recent Human Rights Commission study measures the extent of discriminatory hiring practices existing in Quebec.

 

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