When it comes to establishing a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code a little dab of motivation will do you. The law has long been that if an employee is subjected to any kind of negative treatment which relates, even in part, to a prohibited ground of discrimination, a violation of the Human Rights Code is established as if it was the entire motivation.
If you are an employer contemplating terminating an employee who has been off a very long time on disability, it is extremely important that you fully investigate the possibility of accommodating that disability before pulling the plug. Even if it turns out that a proper investigation of the employee’s medical status and consideration of work available would not have changed the decision to terminate, you can still end up on the wrong side of human rights legislation.
Barbara Findlay wrote, “The notion that there are two and only two genders is one of the most basic ideas of our binary, Western way of thinking. Transgender people challenge our very understanding of the world. And we make them pay the cost of our confusion by their suffering.”
Carrie worked as a bus driver in Alberta. She developed what is called “environmental urticaria”. This meant that exposure to fumes such as diesel fumes or perfumes caused hives, flushing, discomfort and facial swelling. In order to treat these symptoms she had to take antihistamines but the antihistamines caused drowsiness. Nobody likes a drowsy bus driver.
The media was abuzz last week with a story about a university professor who denied a request for accommodation from a student in his on-line course. Part of the course required the student to meet with others for a group assignment. The others in this case were women. The student said that his firm religious beliefs prohibited him from meeting with women.
Sometimes an employer has to accommodate childcare issues. Before you start drafting a letter to your employer demanding new hours that better fit your daycare schedule, however, remember that the details are in the fine print. Joy’s story makes that point.
See if you can identify the employment law violations which arise in the following story of Burt, the Elf
The Ontario Human Rights Code
prohibits discrimination in employment, accommodations, services and contracts, on the basis of gender among a number of other prohibited grounds of discrimination.
There have been reports out of the U.S. that some employers have been asking job candidates at the interview stage for the password to their Facebook page. That’s a question Canadian employers would be wise not to ask.
QUESTION: My employees deal with the public and the image of our company is extremely important. We have a fairly strict dress code and I enforce it. Can I be accused of discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code?