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Top 10 most significant employment law cases in Canada for women

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:

  1. Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd. [1989]. The Supreme Court of Canada recognizes sexual harassment as sex discrimination.
  2. Brooks v. Canada Safeway Ltd. [1989]. The Supreme Court recognizes pregnancy discrimination as sex discrimination.
  3. Bannister v. General Motors of Canada [1998]  and Gonsalves v. Catholic Church Extension Society [1998]. The Ontario Court of Appeal says sexually harassing a colleague is a just cause for dismissal.
  4. Simpson v. Consumers' Association of Canada [1999]. The Ontario Court of Appeal broadens the definition of workplace sexual harassment ruling that the Consumers' Association of Canada was justified in firing an executive director after he sexually harassed female employees outside of the office during work-related events. 
  5. Public Service Employee Relations Commission v. British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union [1999]. Rubin Thomlinson state: "A female forest firefighter was dismissed for failing the aerobics part of her job requirement. She alleged it was a case of sex discrimination as women generally have a lower aerobic capacity than their male counterparts. The court ruled that before employers rely on the occupational requirement defence, they must first prove the requirement is rationally connected to the job, was adopted in good faith, and is least discriminatory."
  6. Canadian Telecommunications Employees' Association v. Bell Canada, [2002] and Public Service Alliance of Canada v. Canada Post Corp. [2011]. Rubin Thomlinson state that in these class actions women employees fought unequal pay. The settlement in the first case cost Bell Canada $178 million and Canada Post was ordered to compensate 2,300 women it discriminated against between 1983 and 2002.
  7. Stamos v. Annuity Research & Marketing Service Ltd. [2002]. The Ontario Superior Court rules sexual harassment can constitute constructive dismissal. 
  8. Sulz v. Attorney General [2006]. The British Columbia Supreme Court awards $950,000 in damage for prolonged harassment to former RCMP officer Nancy Sulz. The damages, which included compensation for the emotional impact of the abuse as well as future wage loss.
  9. Dupont Inquest [2007]  and Bill 168 [2010]. The murder of female employees brings change to occupational health and safety laws in Ontario. The female were Lori
    Dupont, a registered nurse at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor, Ontario who was killed in 2005, and Theresa Vince who was murdered in 1996
  10. Hoyt v. Canadian National Railway [2006] and Attorney General of Canada v. Johnstone; Upheld on appeal [2014]. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Federal Court recognize family status protection includes childcare responsibilities.