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This webinar is brought to you by CLEONet CLEONet is a web site of legal information for community workers and advocates who work with low-income.

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Presentation on theme: "This webinar is brought to you by CLEONet CLEONet is a web site of legal information for community workers and advocates who work with low-income."— Presentation transcript:

1 This webinar is brought to you by CLEONet CLEONet is a web site of legal information for community workers and advocates who work with low-income and disadvantaged communities in Ontario.

2 About our presenter… Jessica Michael is a staff lawyer at The Community Advocacy & Legal Centre (CALC), a non-profit community legal clinic. CALC serves low income residents of Hastings, Prince Edward and Lennox & Addington counties. The clinic (formerly known as Hastings and Prince Edward Legal Services) is currently staffed by lawyers, community legal workers, law clerks and support staff and is funded by Legal Aid Ontario. Jessica joined CALC in 2004, working primarily in the area of housing law. Her clinic work currently focuses on employment law, human rights, workers compensation and CPP disability. She received her law degree from Dalhousie University. Jessica was called to the Ontario Bar in 2004. lawyerscommunity legal workers, law clerkssupport staff Legal Aid Ontario.

3 Human Rights In Your Workplace

4 Every person has the right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination and the right to be free from harassment in the workplace because of: Race Ancestry Place of origin Colour Ethnic origin Citizenship Creed General Overview Ontario Human Rights Code Sex Sexual orientation Age Record of Offences Marital status Family status Disability

5 Discrimination: To treat someone unfairly, deny a benefit, exclude, impose obligations, disadvantage, etc. because of a characteristic or perceived characteristic under the Code. Intent is not necessary to prove discrimination. Harassment: Offensive behaviour, comments or insults based on one or more of the grounds of discrimination in the Code. Harassment also occurs when people say something that they know will make you feel uncomfortable. Definitions Ontario Human Rights Code

6 If the discrimination or harassment is not based on one of the “grounds”, then the Code does not apply. Even if the discrimination is based on one of the grounds, the Code allows for certain types of discrimination. For example, an employer can discriminate against a person if the discrimination is reasonable and bona fide. General Overview Ontario Human Rights Code

7 A discriminatory standard or practice is reasonable and bona fide only if the standard or practice is: (1)Adopted for a purpose that is rationally connected to the performance of the job.  E.g. the employee must wear a hard hat for safety reasons. (2) Adopted in good faith belief that the standard or practice is necessary to fulfillment of that purpose.  E.g. the employer cannot institute a hard hat policy because he or she wants to ban Sikhs from the workplace. (3)Reasonably necessary to the accomplishment of that purpose.  To show that the standard or practice is reasonable necessary, the employer must show that it is impossible to accommodate the affected employee without undue hardship. General Overview Ontario Human Rights Code

8 Examples of discrimination based on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, and citizenship include:  Not hiring a qualified person because he or she has an accent.  Determining an employee is not a “good fit” because he or she does not belong to the racial or ethnic majority.  Assigning or not assigning a job responsibility based on racial stereotypes. Race, Ancestry, Place of Origin, Colour, Ethnic Origin, Citizenship Ontario Human Rights Code

9 You have the right to employment that respects your sincerely held beliefs and practices. You may have religious needs such as prayer breaks, religious days off, and dress requirements. If you ask your employer to meet these needs, they must be met unless your employer can show that it would be too costly or would create a health or safety risk. Creed (Religion) Ontario Human Rights Code

10 Examples of discrimination based on sex and sexual Orientation include:  Not hiring or promoting a woman because she is pregnant or plans to have a child in the future.  Considering an aggressive male employee to be strong while considering an aggressive female employee to be ‘bitchy’.  Asking a gay employee not to talk about his or her same- sex partner even though straight employees are allowed to do so. Sex and Sexual Orientation Ontario Human Rights Code

11 “Sexual Harassment” means comments or actions based on sex or gender that are unwelcome to you or should be known to be unwelcome. They may include humiliating or annoying conduct. Like other forms of harassment, sexual harassment usually requires a “course of conduct”. However, a single significant incident may be sufficiently offensive to be considered sexual harassment. Sexual Harassment Ontario Human Rights Code

12 Both women and men have the right to be free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual contact and remarks, leering, inappropriate staring, unwelcome demands for dates, requests for sexual favours and displays of sexually offensive pictures or graffiti. Sexual Harassment (cont’d) Ontario Human Rights Code

13 Protection from age discrimination only applies to people who are at least 18 years old. There is no age maximum on the right to freedom from discrimination in the workplace on the basis of age. Age Ontario Human Rights Code

14 When you apply for a job, you cannot be asked whether you have any kind of criminal record. It is, however, legal to ask whether you have been convicted of a federal offence for which you have not received a pardon. You may be asked during an interview whether you are bondable, if that is a requirement for the job. Record of Offences Ontario Human Rights Code

15 “Marital Status” means the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced, separated, or being in a common-law relationship. “Family Status” means the status of being in a parent and child relationship. Marital Status and Family Status Ontario Human Rights Code

16 “Disability” means any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness. “Disability” also includes mental illnesses, developmental disability, drug and alcohol dependency. However, temporary illnesses that everyone experiences from time to time such as the common cold or the flu are not considered to be “disability”. Disability Ontario Human Rights Code

17 If you have a disability, you have the right to be provided with equipment, services or devices that will allow you to do your job, this is your employer’s “duty to accommodate”. Employers can only decline to accommodate if they can prove that accommodation would amount to “undue hardship”. This is determined by examining: The costs of the accommodation. It is important to note that the mere fact that the employer will have to spend money is not “undue hardship”. Whether outside sources of funding can help alleviate the costs Any effect on the health and safety of others. Employment and Disability Ontario Human Rights Code

18 Employment-related medical examinations or questions, conducted as part of the job screening process, are prohibited. Medical examinations to determine the ability to do the essential duties of a job should only be used after a conditional offer of employment has been made, preferably in writing. Medical examinations that have no demonstrable relationship to job safety and performance have been found to be a violation of employee rights. Employment, Medical Examinations Ontario Human Rights Code

19 Tell the person who has acted offensively that the behaviour is unacceptable, and ask the person to stop. If this is difficult to do alone, ask a friend to join you. Keep a written record of: What happened When it happened Where it happened What was said or done and who said or did it Who saw what happened What you did at the time What To Do If You Are Harassed or Discriminated Against Ontario Human Rights Code

20 If you believe that your rights under the Code have been violated, you may contact your local community legal clinic, consult a lawyer of your own choosing, file a human rights application with the Human Rights Tribunal, or file a grievance under your union’s collective agreement to protect your rights. You cannot be punished or threatened with punishment for trying to exercise these rights. Any attempt or threat to punish you is called a “reprisal”. Punishment for Exercising Rights Ontario Human Rights Code

21 Legal Aid Ontario funds a number of free community legal clinics throughout Ontario for people living on a low income. To find the clinic closest to you, visit: You can also find us in the Yellow Pages. Contact Us Our Service Area and Contact Information

22 This webinar was brought to you by CLEONet For more information visit the Human Rights and the Charter section of CLEONet at For more legal information webinars visit:

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