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Pregnancy and the burden of proof: Grudonic v. Ray Daniel Salon & Spa

In an application under s. 34 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, the burden of proof lies with the applicant. Once the applicant has established a prima facie case of discrimination, the burden then shifts to the respondent to justify their conduct.

 

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Sloan v. Just Energy Corporation: Pregnancy and fairness under the Code

The Code protects employees from discrimination based on various protected grounds. One of the more difficult of these may be pregnancy, as often the question becomes not whether or not the applicant was pregnant, but rather when the employer became aware of the pregnancy, and whether or not the pregnancy was a factor in the employee’s termination.

 

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Can an employee “sign away” their human rights?: Brown v. Prime Communications Canada Inc.

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.

 

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Maciel vs. Fashion Coiffures: pregnancy and employer’s continued obligation under the “Code”

The applicant alleged that she was terminated when on her first day of work she disclosed to her manager, Ms. Cinzia Conforti, that she was pregnant. In contrast, the respondents attributed her termination to the applicant’s alleged request to work part-time, although she had been newly hired for a full-time position.

 

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Lugonia v. Arista Homes: Pregnancy, short-term contracts and the “Code”

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”.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with the duty to mitigate; how the employer’s failure to ask an employee about questionable expenses prior to termination means no just cause; and how an employer and manager were both liable for human rights violation against a pregnant employee.

 

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Workplace accommodation: what about before birth?

When an employee is going to have a child, an employer needs to prepare for the worker’s eventual leave of absence, particularly if the employee is the mother, but increasingly for fathers, too. But important changes happen to expecting employees long before their baby is born, and employers should understand this and consider how these changes will affect the workplace.

 

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$450-million EI class-action lawsuit

The federal government is facing a $450-million class-action lawsuit for failing to provide sickness employment Insurance benefits to women already receiving maternity EI benefits while on maternity leave. The aim of the lawsuit is to ensure no other new mother who becomes seriously ill during maternity leave has to fight for sickness benefits.

 

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The underrepresentation of women in the workplace

I just read an interesting report about women in the workplace. Essentially, the report suggests that women remain underrepresented relative to their male counterparts, even though they form a highly educated and skilled labour pool in the market. Given the skills shortage that is expected to occur in the near future due to mass retirements of senior baby boomer workers, this is an unsettling finding. But why is this happening?

 

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Breastfeeding at work

Across Canada, human rights legislation protects people from discrimination and harassment based on sex/gender; this protection includes pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is illegal to discriminate because a woman is pregnant. It is also illegal to discriminate because a woman was pregnant, had a baby or might become pregnant.

 

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Could human rights law increase some kinds of discrimination?

Here’s a question that probably few lawmakers are interested in asking themselves: does human rights legislation make the people it is designed to protect less desirable to employers?

 

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Tribunal awards $35,000 to fired pregnant employee

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal recently awarded a woman $35,000 after her employer fired her when she revealed on her first day of work that she was four months pregnant. (The award covered $20,000 in lost wages and benefits, and $15,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.) In addition to the damage award, given the overwhelming number of women working for the employer, the tribunal ordered the company to implement and distribute a written policy on the accommodation of pregnancy to ensure future compliance.

 

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