July 3, 2016 marked the first time a Canadian Prime Minister marched in Toronto’s Pride parade. But some may be wondering, ‘Do Canadian laws currently protect LGBT rights in the workplace, and have they kept up with the evolving climate of increased inclusion?’ The answer depends on the particular jurisdiction involved because the issue is addressed in human rights legislation across Canada.
A recent Ontario Human Rights case further underscores the employer’s ongoing duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship, and that Code based harassment or discrimination constitutes a breach under the Human Rights Code of Ontario.
An employer is not explicitly required to investigate a discrimination complaint under the Ontario Human Rights Code and, in 2013, the Ontario Divisional Court concluded there is no freestanding duty to investigate.
You’d probably be fair in thinking that a deaf, gay Aboriginal man can have a hard time getting a break, but Darryl Wesley seems like the type of person who doesn’t let obstacles get in his way. Nonetheless, when he was terminated from a landscaping job in North Bay, Ontario…
Three of the most popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with Saskatchewan upcoming minimum wage; Ontario’s sunshine list; and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Arbitrator Deborah Leighton has made history in her recent decision on remedy in OPSEU (Ranger) v. Ontario (Ministry of Corrections) 2013 CanLii 50479, which was released this past July 2013 by awarding more than $100,000 in damages for breach of the Ontario Human Rights Code and the applicable collective agreement for discrimination, harassment and poisoned work environment.
When a support worker at an evangelical Christian organization that runs homes for persons with developmental disabilities entered a same-sex relationship, the organization found the worker had breached its “Lifestyle and Morality Statement,” which prohibited homosexual relationships. The organization, Christian Horizons, eventually terminated the employee on that ground, and the worker complained of discrimination to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
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…