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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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The duty to accommodate: When is the point of undue hardship reached?

Under human rights legislation, employers have a duty to accommodate an employee’s needs related to a prohibited ground of discrimination to the point of undue hardship. It can often be difficult for employers and their legal counsel to assess when the point of undue hardship is reached.


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Accommodating employees with mental disabilities

Research estimates that almost one in five Canadian adults will experience a mental illness or addiction. In the last version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – The Fifth Edition (or DSM-5)the number of recognized mental disabilities increased.


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Employers should take advantage of Human Rights summary hearings

A few years back, the human rights system in Ontario was overhauled. The Human Rights Commission was to no longer investigate complaints and refer them to the Human Rights Tribunal (if they had some merit). All cases were to now go directly to the Tribunal for adjudication. Applicants (who are primarily employees) would have “direct access” to the Tribunal.


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The business case for banishing the winter blues at work

Is it spring yet?  For some people, cold weather and lack of sunshine can trigger a type of depression more serious than winter blahs. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other mental illnesses are rarely talked about at work and often carry serious stigma for those impacted.


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Three of the most popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with an employer’s miscalculation of the employee’s notice period; how an Alberta employer paid the price for failing to accommodate an employee’s disabilities; and Ontario’s new mandatory occupational health and safety training.


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Retiring employee when he reaches 65 on grounds of poor performance

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The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench recently challenged the Human Rights Commission’s decision to dismiss an employee’s discrimination complaint based on age as without merit. The employer denies discriminating against the employee on the basis of his age, and maintains that the employee was terminated for poor performance.


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It’s that time of year: Seasonal Affective Disorder hits some employees

‘Tis the season for us to put away the lawn furniture and take apart the garden. The sunlight hours are decreasing and the plants around the house are turning brown. We are now faced with leaves on the ground, colder, damper weather, and soon, Christmas commercials. As we take out our winter coats and snow shovels, it is important to remember that this is the time that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can hit employees. What can employers do?


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Breastfeeding at work

Across Canada, human rights legislation protects people from discrimination and harassment based on sex/gender; this protection includes pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is illegal to discriminate because a woman is pregnant. It is also illegal to discriminate because a woman was pregnant, had a baby or might become pregnant.


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