Discriminatory to dismiss for non-culpable absenteeism months before severance obligations triggered
The decision by the BC Human Rights Tribunal ("Tribunal") in USWA v. Weyerhaeuser, 2009 BCHRT 328 is important and worth reviewing for two key reasons:
- It re-affirms that employers can terminate the employment relationship for innocent or non-culpable absenteeism and provides some guidance on how this can be done through a formal "termination program"; and
- It is a reminder to employers that they can be found to have contravened human rights legislation if they treat employees on disability leave different than active employees when addressing severance entitlements at the time of a permanent closure.
The United Steel-Workers Association, Local 1-423 (the "Union") filed a representative complaint with the Tribunal alleging that four of its members (the "Employees") were discriminated against with respect to their employment, on the basis of physical and mental disability, contrary to section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code (the "Code"). read more »
Law firm Fasken Martineau issued an e-bulletin today entitled "Employee's Family Obligations: To what Extent must they be Accommodated?". It offers some practical advice for employers to follow when confronted with this murky area of law that is still in its early stages of development.
"Examining the Causal Link between Disability and Discipline: An Arbitrator's Perspective" (undated) is the title of a paper written by Barry B. Fisher, a lawyer, mediator and arbitrator in Ontario.
In August 2009 I wrote a post entitled, "Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision may signal death knell for mandatory retirment in federal sector." The decision in question was Vilven v. Air Canada, 2009 CHRT 24, which is now the subject of a judicial review application by the Air Canada Pilots Association to the Federal Court.
For more on the topic of the status of mandatory retirement in Canada you can read a bulletin that Fasken Martineau issued today entitled "Mandatory Retirement Being Retired Across Canada".
Lancaster House has announced the details concerning its 2010 Vancouver Human Rights and Accommodation Conference. The conference will be held on March 17 and 18, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. It will be co-chaired by Sandra Guarascio from Roper Greyell and Diane MacDonald, who is General Counsel for the BC Teachers Federation. Early bird rates are available until Februry 5, 2010. More information can be found here.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission announced this week that it has revised its policy on drug and alcohol testing. The revised policy can be read here.
Giving teacher term contract that ended when maternity leave started, refusing to re-hire after leave was discriminatory
(For a previous decision in which a federally regulated employer was found to have discriminated against a pregnant teacher when it did not renew her contract, see Martin v. Saultaux Band  C.H.R.D. No. 10.)