For many of us who are parents, September feels like the real New Year. Workplace issues can arise with respect to shifting childcare obligations, as kids transition from summer schedules to school schedules. Employers may be met with requests to accommodate worker childcare obligations or requests for time off and should be prepared with respect to how to handle these issues both practically and legally.
Alberta employers should keep this decision in mind when responding to an employee’s last minute request or demand for time off work to deal with childcare obligations, and even other family needs. Arguably, and if the right facts exist, employees could be protected under the Alberta Human Rights Act even if they have made no efforts to seek out alternate child care. The result is that they could be entitled to the short period of time off, in most cases despite the negative impact that their absence will have on the employer’s operations.
What if a single mother asks to miss work to care for her sick child? Or an only child asks for a reduced work week to care for an elderly parent? For many years, discriminating on the basis of family status has been illegal in most Canadian jurisdictions. However, it is only recently that the courts and adjudicators have been called upon to decide the scope of an employer’s obligation to accommodate...