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New Human Rights guide for the workplace

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February 16, 2004

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For immediate publication

Toronto - The Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPAO) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today announced that in partnership they have produced an all-new and updated version of the publication Human Rights at Work.

A plain language guide for employers, Human Rights at Work covers the key human rights issues facing today’s workplaces: job design and hiring, accommodating persons with disabilities, drug and alcohol testing, harassment policies, and rights for pregnant employees and same-sex partners. The book advocates best practices and principles that create an environment of mutual respect.

"This publication is an essential tool that no workplace should be without," said Chief Commissioner Keith Norton, who will be speaking about the new publication at the Annual Conference of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario on February 19 at noon. "A full 75 per cent of all complaints received at the Commission are in the areas of employment. Among these complaints, disability and race are the most frequently cited grounds."

Human Rights at Work reviews all the relevant laws in Ontario that relate to human rights in the workplace and outlines the prohibited grounds of discrimination: age, ethnic origin, disability, family status, and others, as well as employer responsibilities. The publication also includes practical information such as checklists, examples, a list of prohibited interview questions and a sample job application form.

"We’ve made this updated version of the guide as easy to understand and user-friendly as possible," said Dan Stapleton, Chief Executive Officer of HRPAO. "It offers concrete advice and real-world guidance for dealing positively with all types of human rights issues in the workplace."

"We are pleased to be working with the Ontario Human Rights Commission to educate human resources professionals in the province," he added.  "Organizations need to be proactive in creating fair and equitable working environments for all employees."

Employers could be held liable by a court or human rights tribunal if they or responsible staff members do not act to end discrimination or harassment in their workplace. There are also costs in terms of low employee morale, high stress, damaged professional reputations and employee absences.

"Compliance with human rights law also makes good business sense," said Norton. "Dealing promptly with these issues saves time and money."

Limited copies of Human Rights at Work are available for purchase or can be ordered at the HRPAO Annual Conference, which runs Feb. 18-20 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto, 123 Queen St. West.

About HRPAO:

The Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPAO) is the not-for-profit association focused on innovations, issues and ideas that inspire leading human resource management. With more than 13,000 members across the province, the association is the source of knowledge and the voice of experience for any practitioner or business in Ontario that wants to find ways to create the best practices in the working world and draw the best work from people on the job.

About OHRC:

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) was established in 1961 to administer the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Commission’s mandate under the Code includes: investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment; making efforts to settle complaints between parties; preventing discrimination through public education and public policy; and, looking into situations where discriminatory behaviour exists.

For a conference media pass or more information, please contact:

Sharon Ferriss,
HRPAO Communications Manager
Tel: (416) 923-2324 ext. 312
E-mail: sferriss

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Afroze Edwards
Sr. Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management
(416) 314-4528