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News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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Kevin Sambrano

HRTO confirms co-op student’s right to pursue interests

Co-op students may be covered by the “Code”, and should be afforded the same inalienable rights as all other employees during a potential interview or  co-op placement.

 

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Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario: the “Code” matters, not social norms

Although there may be social norms at play, a business owner would do well to continue to update and implement workplace and human rights policies on an ongoing basis, otherwise, they may be liable for any breach of the “Code”, whether intended or otherwise.

 

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No reason given for refusal of HRTO request to expedite, no reasons required

In this matter, the Request to Expedite was dismissed through a letter from the Registrar. In the interim decision, the Tribunal further explained that in matters dealing with process, there are no grounds for reconsideration, as only final orders may be reconsidered.

 

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Abrams v. Kupar: Pregnancy not a factor in short-term employee’s termination

In the matter of Abrams v. Kupar, the applicant, who was pregnant at the time, was terminated from a new job. The applicant believed it was due to the fact that she was pregnant. The respondent alleged that the termination had nothing to do with her pregnancy, but rather that the employee was not suited for the job. The matter was heard at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The Tribunal’s decision was in favour of the respondent.

 

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HRTO issues rare interim order based on family status

As common as an interim order or decision may be, it is uncommon that the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario may issue an order that institutes compliance on the part of the respondent prior to the conclusion of the matter. Such was the case Tomlinson v. Runnymede Healthcare Centre.

 

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E.T. v. Dress Code Express Inc., the “Code” as applied to minors

The Ontario Human Rights Code is extensive in its efforts to protect persons within Ontario, and may apply to minors in the workforce. Regardless of the age of the employee, chances are they are covered by the “Code,” and their rights may be enforced if not by the employee, then by a litigation guardian. Age as well as the other protected grounds, is not an excuse or invitation for abuse.

 

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Marijuana use remains cloudy

Canada legalizes marijuana

As laws regarding marijuana continue to evolve, even now employers are faced with ongoing legal questions concerning medical marijuana use in the workplace.

 

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The “G” word: Brooks v. Total Credit Recovery Limited

Brooks v. Total Credit Recovery Limited, a decision from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario examined words, their etymology, and their impact in the workplace.

 

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Vexatious litigants and abuse of process at Tribunal

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has the authority to govern its own proceedings. Within this authority is the power to declare any applicant a vexatious litigant and to identity any abuse of process, either of which may result in the dismissal of an Application. The recent interim decision addresses both of these issues.

 

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Family status: The employee’s obligation under “the Code”

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.

 

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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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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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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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Does the Tribunal have the power to deal with allegations of “unfairness” at work?

Whether or not the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has the power to deal with general allegations of unfairness in the workplace was recently revisited in Murray v. YouthLink.

 

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