The Code states that every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination or harassment because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.
The right to “equal treatment with respect to employment” covers every aspect of the workplace environment and employment relationship, including job applications, recruitment, training, transfers, promotions, apprenticeship terms, dismissal and layoffs. It also covers rate of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, benefits, shift work, discipline and performance evaluations.
Relevant policies and guides:
- Policy on removing the "Canadian experience" barrier
- Human rights at work 2008 - 3rd edition
- Guidelines on developing human rights policies and procedures
- Policy on employment-related medical information
- Policy on drug and alcohol testing
- Policy on requiring a drivers license as a condition of employment
- Human rights maturity model (Canadian Human Rights Commission)
June 1996 - The purpose of this publication is to provide some practical guidance to organizations in developing effective and fair ways to prevent human rights infringements and to respond to human rights issues, such as harassment, discrimination, and accommodation needs. Employers, landlords and service providers all have an obligation to ensure that human rights are respected, and can all benefit from the information provided in this publication.
July 2007 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission has reached a settlement with a number of complainants and General Motors of Canada Limited, in complaints alleging discrimination on the ground of citizenship and place of origin.
While unequal power relationships exist in many sectors of society, they tend to appear the most in the workplace, where hierarchies are common. Both women and men may experience sexual harassment in employment, but women tend to be more vulnerable to harassment by men, because relative to men, more women hold lower-paying, lower-authority and lower-status jobs. At the same time, even women in positions of authority are not free from sexual harassment or inappropriate gender-related behaviour.
Organizations are generally not allowed to hire in a discriminatory way. However, there are some exceptions. The most common ones are:
Employment may not be denied or made conditional upon enrolment in a benefit or similar plan, which makes a distinction based on a Code ground. The general rule of non-discrimination in employment applies to pension plans, benefit plans and terms of group insurance except where reasonable and genuine distinctions or exclusions are based on age, marital status, family status or sex.
September 2004 - This submission is in response to the Ministry of Labour’s public consultation on ending mandatory retirement.The Ontario Human Rights Commission (“OHRC”) commends the Ministry for these steps towards ending mandatory retirement.
November 2005 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) welcomes this opportunity to provide comments on Bill 211, the Ending Mandatory Retirement Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005. Mandatory retirement raises a host of complex social, economic and human resource issues.
Year of decision: 2010
In a decision on June 16, 2010, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that the Toronto Police Services Board discriminated against a new recruit, Ariyeh Krieger, by not accommodating his mental disability to the point of undue hardship.
Dress codes, work schedules or shift work sometimes adversely affect individuals because of religious requirements. When this happens, the obligation to accommodate the individual, based on the needs of the group, is triggered under the Code.
Discrimination or unequal treatment may be legally defensible in certain circumstances.
1. Participating in special interest organizations
First, s. 18 of the Code provides that religious, philanthropic, educational, fraternal or social institutions that are primarily engaged in serving the interests of persons who are identified by their creed, may give priority to persons of the same creed with regard to participation or membership.