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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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Human Rights Commission tackles racial profiling

This year, a Nova Scotia Human Rights Board of Inquiry issued a highly publicized decision on racial profiling. In the case, the Board concluded that a woman had been discriminated against on the basis of her race and/or colour when wrongfully accused of shoplifting at a grocery store. In the wake of this case and research, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission has recently announced plans to take preventative measures to tackle this serious issue.

 

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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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Summary hearings at the HRTO: Is an alternative explanation enough?

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.

 

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Tribunal orders pharmacy to pay $8,000 as a result of racial profiling

Under section 46.3 (1) of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, an employer may be vicariously liable for the discriminatory acts of their employees. Such was the case in the recent Human Rights Tribunal decision.

 

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The cost of racial stereotyping: Adams v. Knoll North America

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.

 

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Are your sexual harassment and harassment policies proactive or reactive?

While at the First Reference Conference one year, an interesting conversation arose among attendees at my lunch table, where more than one complained that her workplace refused to implement an anti-bullying policy (as was required under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act), apparently because doing so would open the floodgates (as the HR Manager was the alleged bully).

 

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Zero tolerance for zero tolerance policies

Rarely has a phrase been so well-intentioned yet so fraught with pitfalls as “zero tolerance”.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with a violation of a last chance agreement; discrimination during the selection process; and, demotion and constructive dismissal.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with an employer’s dress code, if a criminal conviction can be viewed as a disability and how guetto comments in the workplace can be construed as discriminatory.

 

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What does the case of Trayvon Martin tell us about racism in Canada?

Racism has reared its ugly head as a result of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin several weeks ago in Sanford, Florida. This United States-style racism just does not exist in Canada, right?

 

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Human rights and the Oscars

Something happened at the Academy Awards Sunday night that caught my eye and got me thinking about our current attitudes about equality and racism and human rights in general. I was supposed to write this week about the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act as per my last post. But the Oscars are much more interesting, don’t ya think?

 

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Slaw: The boundaries’ of the N-word in employment

Can an employer fire a white employee for using the n-word if it lets black employees say it?

 

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Workplace violence and harassment training

I guess I’m lucky never to have experienced harassment at work and I certainly never expect to at my current job—unless you count some gentle ribbing at the annual croquet tournament. But nevertheless, First Reference recently had its first mandated workplace violence and harassment training session to educate me and my co-workers on the company’s new mandated policies.

 

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A broader view of workplace diversity

Workplace diversity efforts often focus on employees’ gender, race and ability. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants wants to broaden employers’ horizons and help them see the larger picture of diversity. “The concept of diversity encompasses factors including age, culture, personality, skill, training, educational background and life experience. The influence of a variety of perspectives and viewpoints can contribute to flexibility and creativity within organizations, which can help them thrive in a complex and competitive global economy.”

Is she suggesting organizations hire unskilled and inexperienced workers with poor personalities? Probably not.

 

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