Many H.R. Departments pride themselves on the skill with which they can interview prospective employees in order to assess their qualifications for the position being advertised, the fit of the employee with the organization, and the likelihood that the employee will stay with the organization for a reasonable period of time. What employers are often not cognizant of is the limitation imposed on this process by the provisions of various provincial and federal Human Rights statutes.
Just in case employers needed yet another reason to be careful to ensure that employees in their workplaces treat one another with respect and avoid a “locker room mentality”, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has provided one. In Lombardi v. Walton Enterprises, (2012) HRTO 1675 the Tribunal found a corporate employer and Assistant Manager jointly and severally liable for homophobic slurs directed at an employee.
I had the opportunity to attend, and indeed the privilege of attending, Toronto’s Pride parade on Sunday July 3. There are people in Canada who feel inhibited from attending and people around the world who would in fact go to jail, or worse, for organizing or participating in a public declaration of the incongruity of sexual orientation that our societies have a tendency to want to hide; that’s why I consider it a privilege to attend. What’s all of this got to do with running a business and managing workers and not running afoul of the law?
Morris has been Everett’s supervisor for over six years. Recently Morris had hired several administrative assistants and was giving the new recruits a workplace tour. The entourage stopped near the area where Everett was working and Morris introduced everyone. “Everett is your go-to person, ladies, for advice on fashion, hair, make-up or anything else a girl needs to know these days.”
I am a workplace human rights trainer and I learn of some important real-life scenarios from my workshop participants. I am often asked to provide expert feedback. The following are two very interesting workplace human rights scenarios—I have changed the names of those involved:
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).
I am on holiday in Montreal and delighted to see the city blanketed with banners announcing “International Day Against Homophobia.” A human rights issue…