The recent decision of Misetich v. Value Village Stores Inc. reaffirms that family status accommodation under the Human Rights Code is a joint obligation, involving both the employee and employer.
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.
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.
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.
The question of “can an employee “sign away” their human rights?” became relevant in a recent case. After signing a release with her employer, the Applicant filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging discrimination with respect to employment because of sex contrary to the Human Rights Code.
Where the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario finds there is a separate proceeding that may involve similar facts, the Tribunal has discretion to defer consideration of an application until the proceeding has been completed. Such was the question, whether or not to defer the application in the recent interim order in West v.Yogen Fruz Canada Inc.
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.
When a respondent is first made aware that a Human Rights application has been filed against them, often their first response is to deny any accusations and to request a summary hearing in hopes of disposing of the matter at the outset. While such hearings may be requested, it does not always work to the advantage of the respondent. Such was the case in the recent Interim Decision of Lomotey v. Kitchener Waterloo Multicultural Centre.
The recent decision by the Federal Court of Appeal addresses the employer’s duty to accommodate. Ms. Laura Flatt, the applicant, sought a judicial review from the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (Board) after her grievance against her employer, the Treasury Board of Canada, was dismissed. The applicant had filed her grievance based on discrimination on the grounds of sex and family status contrary to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
In the summer of 2013 the applicant, Amanda Lugonia, began a new job at the same time she discovered she was starting a new family, the result of which was instant dismissal from her new employer. The respondent denied that the applicant’s pregnancy was a factor in the termination of her employment and in addition denied knowledge of the pregnancy, claiming the reason for her termination was due to lack of “fit”.
Following a verbal altercation with his supervisor, the applicant was terminated after he refused to partake in an anger management program as a requirement of his continued employment. On October 31, 2008 the applicant filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging discrimination based on race. The respondents, Knoll, denied the allegations.
The case of Smith v. The Rover’s Rest, 2013 HRTO 700 is a recent case dealing with sexual harassment and reprisal under the Human Rights Code of Ontario. At the time of the incidents, the applicant, Debbie Smith was a 39-year-old mother being paid $7.00 per hour as a bartender at the Rover’s Rest in […]
Requests for accommodation due to family status is becoming more common as societal norms continue to change. The leading case in Ontario that addresses the worker’s rights and the employer’s obligations on the ground of family status is arguably Devaney v. ZRV Holdings Limited.