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Discrimination based on "family status" where Canada Border Services refused to modify schedule for mother of two

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

In a decision issued last month - Johnstone v. Canada Border Services, 2010 CHRT 20 - the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ("CHRT") found discrimination based on "family status" where Canada Border Services refused to modify the work schedule for an employee who was the mother of two young children but who wanted to still have full-time hours.

The decision re-affirms that the scope of "family status" in human rights legislation can encompass childcare responsibilities.

Law firm Oglivy Renault has written a good summary of the decision ("Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Weighs In on Accommodating Employee Childcare Obligations") which can be found here.

Both parties have apparently filed an application with the Federal Court of Canada for judicial review of the decision, Ms. Johnstone on the basis that the CHRT should have awarded her reimbursement for her legal fees.

This will not be the first time that the Federal Court has presided over this case. Back in October 2005, the Canadian Human Rights Commission had initially dismissed Ms. Johnstone's complaint without sending it to the CHRT for a hearing. On judicial review, the Commission's decision was overturned by the Federal Court (Johnstone v. Canada (Attorney General), 2007 FC 36). That decision was subsequently upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal (Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnstone, 2008 FCA 101).