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Ontario Human Rights Commission released updated policy on “preventing discrimination based on Creed”

This past December the Ontario Human Rights Commission released a new and comprehensive 173 page Updated Policy on Preventing Discrimination based on Creed to replace its earlier Policy that was first published in 1996. The Commission stated that given the significant demographic changes in Ontario, it has been working on a new policy since 2012. The aim of the policy is to highlight how discrimination on the basis of Creed can be avoided in broader Ontario society which is increasingly more diverse.

 

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Can you force an employee to provide proof of their religion or their religious beliefs?

Can you force an employee to provide proof of their religion or their religious beliefs? The issue of one’s religion or religious beliefs will only be relevant in the employment context when there is a request for accommodation. Typically…

 

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Slaw: Quebec public sector employees will have to exercise restraint with regard to expressing their religious beliefs

In the exercise of their functions, public sector employees will have to exercise restraint with regard to expressing their religious beliefs. The Bill creates duties of religious neutrality and restraint for public sector employees by forbidding during working hours the wearing of headgear, clothing, jewelry or other adornments which, by their conspicuous nature, overtly indicate a religious affiliation.

 

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Should you have a workplace holiday party?

So much is written in the media each year reminding (and warning) employers of the potential liabilities of hosting a holiday party for employees, that, as a lawyer, I wonder why an employer would take on such potential liability. The benefit to an employer of having such an event would have to be significant to justify such risks.

 

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St-Jean Baptiste Day/National Holiday, a public holiday in Quebec

In Quebec, June 24 is la Fête nationale, the province’s official holiday and celebration of French Canadian culture. The festivities occur on June 23 and 24, and since 1978 are publicly financed and organized by the National Holiday Organizing Committee.

 

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Religious accommodation and safety issues

As we can see by this article, employees requesting a religious accommodation can sometimes conflict with safety issues.

 

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Slaw: European court of human rights rules on religious freedom cases in workplaces

On January 15, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg released its ruling in the cases of four Christian employees who argued that they suffered from discrimination and that their employers encroached upon their right to religious freedom at work. . . .

 

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Slaw: Four Christians arguing right to religious freedom at work before European Court of Human Rights

On Wednesday September 5, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg heard arguments from four workers challenging British judgments over the expressions of their religious faith in the workplace. Two are arguing for the right to wear a cross at work, while the others object to dealing with same sex couples.

 

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Do your managers and front line workers have accurate info about human rights issues?

Do your managers and front line workers have accurate facts about human rights issues? A number of conversations I have had with workers lately inform me that many people allow their emotions to overwhelm the facts. The misunderstandings that flow from this emotional response can lead to costly violations of the law for your organization.

 

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Pre-hiring accommodation

As most of us are aware, the Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination in the context of employment, and applies both during the employment relationship and in the hiring process. Most of us would take it as a given that you cannot make hiring decisions based upon grounds such as race, religion, gender, or disability. However, it is not quite as widely understood that the duty to accommodate an individual applies even to those who are not yet employees.

 

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How to decide if a religious belief should be accommodated

Under human rights legislation in all jurisdictions in Canada, employers cannot ignore the religious needs or observances of employees but must work with employees to try to accommodate them. In addition, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of religion and expression…

 

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Social media presenting new challenges and opportunities for people in HR

It is becoming more and more common to hear of employers “googling” prospective employees. Where a prospective employee has a significant presence on the Internet through social media, the employer may become privy to a number of facts about the prospective employee that he or she may not have known previously.

 

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Free speech v. discrimination: When workplace rules cross the line

The recent case of Friesen v. Fisher Bay Seafood and others is a great example of free speech v. discrimination, on how and when workplace rules cross the line…

 

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Violence and harassment prevention: Keep hate crimes in check!

You have a legal obligation to understand how the race, religion and sexual orientation of your employees can impact their safety at work. Understanding these factors will empower you to take steps to protect your workers from harassment and violence as required by the recent amendments to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (Bill 168).

 

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