ACC – Keep an open mind when determining which relationships are covered by family status protection. For example, the Ontario Human Rights Code defines family status as “the status of being in a parent and child relationship.” This definition however, has been liberally interpreted by both courts and tribunals to include most parent and child “type” relationships including non-biological parent and child relationships and non-biological gay and lesbian parents. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has also taken the position that family status protection extends to individuals providing eldercare to aging parents. Given the aging population, employers should prepare for family status accommodation requests from employees who are looking after older parents with special needs.
Tag Archives: Employment
Metro – Canadian employers have historically taken an ignorant view of human rights tribunals and their often extraordinary decisions. But that may be quickly changing.
Sweeping changes to human rights legislation and left-leaning adjudicators directed to interpret remedial legislation — such as human rights laws — in a broad and inclusive manner, should leave employers very concerned. Here are some of the reasons why…
Annual Report 07/08 – Concerning the monetary claims, after looking at the constituent elements of the harassment experienced by the complainant, the Panel awarded $50,000 in general damages. On the claim for loss of income…the Panel awarded the sum of $425,058.00 for loss of income during the years 1997-2006.
StarPhoenix – Dora Cooke’s recent claim against HTS Engineering in Sudbury is illustrative of this. After eight months on the job, Cooke quit, asserting she was subjected to psychological harassment and bullying by Patrice Comeau, one of her supervisors. She sued for constructive dismissal.
Her accusations stemmed from an instance when Comeau, a high school acquaintance she had kept in touch with, called her boyfriend a loser, and a few occasions, when he called her pathetic or an idiot over her performance. Cooke also said Comeau raised his voice at personnel in head office and sometimes directed salty language toward suppliers.
Surprisingly, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice did not conclude Cooke was free to look elsewhere if she was unhappy. Instead, it listened to seven days of testimony in an attempt to sort out who called whom what. The judge found in Cooke’s favour, awarding her damages both for wrongful dismissal and mental distress.
Toronto Star – Ontario’s newly streamlined human rights watchdog is swamped with allegations of sex, race and disability discrimination, the Starhas found.
“We are really overwhelmed by our volume of cases now,” said Katherine Laird, the senior official whose job it is to support people who say they are victims. “Our phones are ringing off the hook.”
The Ontario Attorney General created a new human rights system nearly two years ago, making it easier for people with claims to get a hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario…
Ontario Human Rights Commission chair Barbara Hall believes only a small number of cases are ever reported. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” she says.
Globe and Mail – Here’s a question for you: How many employees do you need before you have to start worrying about potential actions under federal or provincial human rights legislation? One? Ten? One hundred?
The answer is “yes.”…
If the BC Human Rights Tribunal is any guide, all you have to do is fire an employee who is absent from work for an extended period of time due to a medical disability by email and you could find yourself paying damages of $35,000 (not including legal fees) for “hurt feelings” because the employee was not terminated in person.
Financial Post – This conundrum is exacerbated by the new Human Rights Tribunal, which permits even the most frivolous complaint to proceed to a full hearing, at overwhelming costs to employers but at no cost to employees…
When employers are so unfortunate, they can expect to spend several years and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, defending themselves while their business deteriorates. Their accusers can revel in their plight while they spend not a dime.