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Sexual harassment under the Code: Smith v. The Rover’s Rest

wikisexualharassmentThe case of Smith v. The Rover’s Rest, 2013 HRTO 700 is a recent case dealing with sexual harassment and reprisal under the Human Rights Code of Ontario.

At the time of the incidents, the applicant, Debbie Smith was a 39-year-old mother being paid $7.00 per hour as a bartender at the Rover’s Rest in Ajax, Ontario. The applicant worked at the bar between February and September of 2009. On November 8, 2009 Ms. Smith filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging that the individual respondent, the manager and owner of the small business, Bruce Dorman had subjected her to sexual harassment and advances during employment. Further, the application alleged she was terminated when she refused these advances and when the respondent wrongly believed that she was in a relationship with someone else.[1] She further alleged, that after she was terminated, the respondent delivered discriminatory, harassing and threatening letters to her. (more…)

Coming this January

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Remedial powers of the Human Rights Tribunal

justiceOften employers are unaware of the pitfalls of becoming embroiled in a Human Rights application. Employers are sometimes shocked to find that the Tribunal’s powers not only lay in monetary awards, but also in non-monetary, as well as future compliance or public interest remedies. If an employer is found to have breached the Code, below are just some examples of such powers and remedies which the Tribunal may order. (more…)

Family status: Recent interpretation under the Human Rights Code

handsRequests for accommodation due to family status are becoming more common as societal norms continue to change. The leading case in Ontario that addresses the worker’s rights and the employer’s obligations on the ground of family status is arguably Devaney v. ZRV Holdings Limited, 2012 HRTO 1590. The case confirms that an employer’s failure to reasonably accommodate an employee’s family caregiving responsibilities may result in a breach of the Human Rights Code (“Code”), and that family status has now been interpreted to include elder care. (more…)

Knowing your limitation periods under the Human Rights Code

clock-407101_640The Human Rights Code allows for a person who believes that their rights under the “Code” have been infringed upon to file an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The “Code” states that the application must be made within one year after the incident, or if there were a series of incidents, within one year after the last incident in the series. But what happens when a person files an application outside of the limitation period? (more…)

Constructive discrimination: The case of Tawney Meiorin

Sambrano Legal Humn Rights Toronto On

Constructive or adverse discrimination in employment occurs when rules or standards are established that do not discriminate at first glance, but have an adverse effect on persons whose rights are protected under human rights legislation. In such a case, the burden shifts to the employer to establish that such rules or standards are essential to the job, also known as bona fide occupational requirements (BFOR’s). British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v. BCGSEU is the leading case which addresses this issue. This seminal human rights case from the Supreme Court of Canada established a three-part test which has become the standard to evaluate constructive discrimination. (more…)

Is the appearance of “youth” a bona fide occupational qualification?

younglookingOn September 16, 2008, Kimberly Ouwroulis filed a Human Rights complaint alleging discrimination based on her age. The complaint was filed after she was terminated from a strip club, allegedly, for being too old. [1] Ms. Ouwrouls was employed as an exotic dancer and was 44 years of age at the time.The Code

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The Expanding Scope of Employer Liability under the Human Rights Code

SambranoLegalThe recent human rights decision of Morgan v. Herman Miller Canada Inc. examines the issue of employer liability under the Human Rights Code of Ontario.  What happens when there are allegations of discrimination but no findings?

The applicant, Aldeen Morgan, worked as an installation scheduler with the corporate respondent, Herman Miller Canada Inc. (Herman Miller). After Mr. Morgan’s employment was terminated, he filed a human rights application (more…)

What is the Human Rights Tribunal Of Ontario?

hrlllOnline presentation of the Human Right Tribunal of Ontario
The HRTO is a quasi-judicial adjudicative agency whose primary role is to resolve claims of discrimination and harassment brought under the Human Right Code of Ontario. The Code is law that protects people in Ontario from discrimination and harassment in areas ranging from employment to housing.  (more…)

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