The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has reached settlements in related complaints against the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) and two of its gaming operations.
The complaints were filed by employees who alleged managers at Woodbine Racetrack Slots and Casino Sault Ste. Marie violated Human Rights Code provisions regarding employer duty to accommodate staff experiencing disability. The employees alleged that they were required to return to work before their doctor recommended, return to activities not advised by their doctor, and produce a doctor’s note dated the same date as their absence due to medical disability.
The terms of the settlements will help ensure human rights are respected in the application of corporate disability policies and procedures within all OLG workplaces. They also clarify that OLG and its gaming operators are responsible for the actions of third-party disability case management service providers.
Commission policy and guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate set out that employers should accept all medical documentation in good faith. Corporate policies relating to disability and medical documentation must be consistent with the Code.
Under these settlements, OLG will modify its policies to ensure that a request for medical documentation dated the same date as an absence is reasonable in the circumstances, given that an employee may not be physically able to see a doctor the same day. Corporate and management responsibility for maintaining confidentiality of medical and related information was also addressed.
Under the terms of the settlements negotiated by the Commission, OLG has agreed, within nine months, to
- hire an external consultant to review and update its disability accommodation policy
- form a new independent review committee with both OLG management and staff, and
- develop an internal complaint mechanism, which the committee will oversee and monitor
The new policy and complaint process will indicate the types of actions the OLG would take in dealing with issues of unequal treatment and harassment, and inform employees of their right to file a complaint under the Human Rights Code.
Within a year, OLG has agreed to
- train all OLG staff members and its disability case management service provider in the new policy and complaints mechanism, with an emphasis on disability and the duty to accommodate, and
- focus training on the broad range of disabilities covered by the Code and the responsibilities of both OLG and its disability case management service provider under the legislation.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that will help protect the rights of nearly 8,000 workers in more than 20 Ontario lottery and gaming workplaces,” said OHRC Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall.
“Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, everyone has the right to equal treatment with regard to disability and accommodation,” she added. “All workplaces should ensure that they are properly handling medical issues and accommodating individuals fairly, whether directly or through a third party agency that manages such cases. A doctor’s note for modified work should be taken seriously.”
There are approximately 35 additional human rights complaints against OLG currently filed with the Commission.
Employment disability cases made up 56% of the Commission caseload last year, the largest single category of new complaints filed.
For more information, please refer to the Commission Web site or contact:
- 30 -