In light of International Women's Day back on March 8, 2015, Legal Feeds, the Blog for Canadian Lawyer & Law Times published a list of the most significant court decisions for women in the workplace over the last 25 year, as compiled by the lawyers at Rubin Thomlinson LLP in Ontario. Here is the firm's top 10 list: read more »
Temporary foreign workers win sexual harassment case; one awarded $150,000 for "injury to dignity" damages
In O.P.T. v. Presteve Foods Ltd., 2015 HRTO 675 - a decision issued on May 25, 2015 - the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ("OHRT") awarded one of the complainants $150,000 for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect due to the sexual solicitations and harassment that she experienced in the workplace. The other complainant was awarded $50,000 for this head of damage.
The $150,000 award is, according to the union that represented the complainants, the new high-watermark for this type of damages in Ontario and, according to some commentators, three times higher than the previous high-water mark. read more »
The National Post newspaper ran a story today ("Obese Canadians should be granted legal protection from discrimination, professor says") which discussed whether obese people should be protected from discrimination in Canadian human rights legislation.
The article noted that this could be achieved in a few different ways. First, obesity could be treated as a "disability", which is already a recognized ground in human rights legislation. As it relates to this approach, the article noted theat: read more »
Sexually assaulted nanny awarded $50,000 by BC Tribunal for loss of dignity, feelings and self-respect
In PN v. FR and another (No. 2), 2015 BCHRT 60, a nanny who was sexually assaulted and otherwise exploited by her employer, was awarded $50,000 by the BC Human Rights Tribunal for loss of dignity, feelings and self-respect. In awarding these damages the Tribunal stated as follows:
 In this case, the impact of the discriminatory conduct can be seen to be severe. Although it took place over six weeks, the impact was long-lasting and impacts the complainant until now. read more »
Discriminatory to provide birth mothers same amount of top-up benefits as birth fathers, adoptive parents
In a rare oral judgment that was issued on November 12, 2014 - British Columbia Teachers' Federation v. British Columbia Public School Employers' Association, 2014 SCC 70 - the Supreme Court of Canada overturned a decision by the BC Court of Appeal and restored the decision of a labour arbitrator concerning top-up benefits provided to teachers who are new parents.
The labour arbitrator, John B. Hall, had ruled that it was discriminatory - under section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code - to provide the same amount of top-up benefits to birth mothers as birth fathers and adoptive parents.
Specifically, Arbitrator Hall had ruled: read more »
On July 14, 2014 the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") released updated guidance on pregnancy discrimination and related issues. Their press release is as follows:
EEOC Issues Updated Enforcement Guidance On Pregnancy Discrimination And Related Issues
Fact Sheet for Small Businesses and Question and Answer Document Also Released read more »