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Human Rights

Smokers need not apply: can Ontario employers refuse to hire nicotine users?

As of February 1, 2020, U-Haul no longer hires nicotine users in 21 of the US states in which it operates. The company, which employs over 30,000 people across the US and Canada, announced this new policy late last year. While it may be easy to understand U-Haul’s stated rationale for introducing this anti-tobacco policy, to adopt the same in Ontario would likely expose the company to liability.

 

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Full and final release upheld by the HRTO

For employers, one of the primary purposes of a full and final release is to prevent the former employee from pursuing legal action against the employer.

 

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Full and final: Human rights application successfully barred by signed release

In recent years, one of the recurring circumstances where the efficacy of a signed release has been debated is where a former employee files an application with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with workplace discrimination, payroll and safety blitzes in Ontario.

 

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Managing and addressing workplace developments caused by the spread of Coronavirus

Many employers are starting to ask questions about the legal framework within which they can prepare, manage and address developments and potential issues caused by the spread of the Coronavirus.

 

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Investigating the invisible: Examining subtle racial discrimination (part 2)

The concept of a “microaggression” has received significant attention in recent years, and was explored more fully in a previous post. At its core, a microaggression is a subtle, often unintentional, behaviour that is rooted in stereotypes about marginalized groups. Despite the absence of ill will, microaggressions in the workplace can nonetheless amount to discrimination or harassment.

 

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Fired because of race? Consider a human rights claim

In 2018, a group of eight Caucasian employees of the Spruce Hill Resort and Spa Ltd. (“the Resort”) in British Columbia made a complaint to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal (“the Tribunal”), in which they alleged that they had been terminated from their employment because they were not Chinese. The Tribunal found that seven of the employees had been discriminated against on the basis of race and colour, and one employee had been discriminated against on the basis of sex.

 

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Normal anxiety or mental illness? A guide for employers

Employers have a duty to accommodate employees suffering from mental illnesses. But distinguishing mental illness from ordinary anxiety is no easy matter.

 

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Bullying in the workplace

Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could “mentally” hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Sometimes, bullying can involve negative physical contact as well. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that is intended to intimidate a particular person or group of people.

 

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Is that porn discriminatory? Closed captioning and human rights

While the facts of the case in this article might be funny to some, it is an important reminder for employers in Ontario who provide services to the public. Provincially regulated businesses are subject to the Ontario Human Rights Code.

 

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Food for thought: do employers need to accommodate ethical veganism in the workplace?

While the Ontario Human Rights Code has been interpreted in a liberal manner, there are situations where employees will experience workplace discrimination that falls beyond its scope. One area where it remains unclear to what extent the Code will apply, however, is with respect to vegan employees.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with disability discrimination, data privacy and regulating vaping in Canada.

 

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Reinstatement and accommodation under Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation

For workplace accidents occurring on or after September 1, 2018, non-exempt employers have an obligation under section 88.1 of the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Act (the “WCBAct”) to accommodate and reinstate most workers injured in a work-related accident to their pre-accident position or a comparable position with the same earnings.

 

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2019-2020 federal government departmental mandates of interest to employers

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has released the mandate letters for each of the 37 cabinet Ministers of his minority Liberal government.

 

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Notable cases of 2019

As we shut the door on 2019 and begin 2020, we at SpringLaw thought this was a good time to look back on some of the biggest 2019 employment law cases in Ontario! Here is our list of the top 5 cases of 2019 and their key take-aways for employers and employees alike.

 

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