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Category Archives: Discrimination

Workplace Harassment and Discrimination: Looking at the Allegations Against Canada’s Spy Agency

You have probably seen this in the news – five employees have filed a $35-million lawsuit against the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS) alleging a toxic workplace culture poisoned by racism, homophobia and anti-Muslim discrimination. These allegations are yet to be proven in court. However, it is important to have a discussion about the employment law issues arising from this, […]

How to Respond to Requests for Accommodation

The workplace is no longer what it used to be, and the circumstances that an employer must accommodate continue to expand. Be it childcare arrangements, medicinal marijuana, or transgender accommodation, human rights continue to impact the workplace. Employers expose themselves to significant liability if they fail to respond to these requests appropriately. Unfortunately, many make the mistake of dismissing unusual requests […]

Understanding Equality vs. Equity

As I mentioned in a recent Canadian HR Law blog post, I saw a graphic on my Facebook feed and thought that it provided an excellent demonstration of the difference between treating people equally and providing them with equality. I also thought that it confirmed how the need for accommodation can address the symptom, or the cause. In the first image, three […]

Ending Discriminatory Dress Codes

My favourite part about the intersection between Employment and Human Rights Law is its dynamism. It is constantly evolving to respond to new challenges – or perhaps more accurately, respond to the important challenges that we may be overlooking. This is exemplified in the increasing debate over gender based discrimination arising from workplace dress codes. In the past, human rights […]

Discriminating Against Smokers

In my latest Canadian HR Law blog post, I discuss the controversial implications of a recent National Post story about an employer, Jack Kowalski, who has refused to hire smokers for the past 30 years. It described Roger Nugent, who applied for a job and, after learning that the company did not hire smokers, abruptly quit smoking and then signed a […]

Understanding Adverse Effect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination, also called adverse effect discrimination, is less obvious than direct discrimination but is equally a breach of human rights legislation. In George v. Accertaclaim, a recent decision from the Human Rights Tribunal, Natalie MacDonald successfully defended against a claim that the company had discriminated against its employee by failing to consider her when making an internal hiring decision. […]

Damages for Workplace Sexual Harassment on the Rise

Our blog has previously highlighted the unfortunate manifestations of sexual harassment in the workplace. A recent decision by one of the Ontario Superior Court’s newest judges, however, shows an encouraging trend towards higher awards for workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault. Damages In Silvera v. Olympia Jewellery Corporation, 2015 ONSC 3760, Justice Glustien awarded nearly $300,000 in damages to an employee […]