The Ontario Human Rights Code. Equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. In the past?. Today we will look at . A short bit of history About the Code and who it protects What to do if discriminated against How to spot discrimination . Preamble to the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The Ontario Human Rights Code
Equal rights and opportunities without discrimination
The Code was one of the first laws of its kind in Canada. Before 1962, various laws dealt with different kinds of discrimination.
If you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed:
The complaints process:
CASE STUDY A: DARLENE
This scenario is based on an actual case before a Board of Inquiry, known as Noffke v.McClaskin Hot House.
Was the Ontario Human Rights Code violated?
Would Darlene have to say anything to the owner for him to know he was violating the Code?
Was Darlene’s termination a factor in assessing whether her rights were violated?
In its finding, the Board ordered the owner to pay Darlene $2,750 for mental anguish and $240 for lost wages. It also ordered the owner to post a copy of the Code at his business site and, for a two-year period, to inform the Commission any time he terminated a female employee. Having a separate provision for sexual harassment in the Code recognizes that the majority of harassment complaints are sexual in nature and commonly committed by people in positions of authority.
Sexual harassment is not, however, limited only to male-female situations. It can also occur between two men, two women or woman to man.
CASE STUDY B: PARAMVIR
This was an actual case known as Pandori v. Peel Board of Education.
Would the Code take precedence over the Education Act?
Does the weapons policy discriminate against Khalsa Sikhs?
Was the policy discriminatory? Can the Board of Education prove that providing Sikhs with the right to practise their religion (that is, to wear the kirpan) would cause the school undue hardship? Would it pose a substantial risk to student safety?
• There was no evidence that Khalsa Sikhs had ever misused a kirpan in any Canadian school.
• The kirpan’s similarity to a weapon (particularly when secured and worn under clothing) was irrelevant. While others might well steal a kirpan to use as a weapon, a person bent on aggression could easily obtain other weapon-like objects on school premises, such as screwdrivers, knives, forks and baseball bats.
In its decision, the Board of Inquiry ruled that sacrificing the rights of Sikhs in order to control non-Sikhs, who might be violent, was unacceptable, given the other measures available to curtail violence in schools. It found that the respondent had not proven undue hardship and ordered the Board of Education to withdraw the amendment regarding the wearing of the kirpan. Khalsa Sikhs would be entitled to wear real kirpans to school. To meet the concerns of both parties, the Board of Inquiry stated that kirpans would have to be of reasonable size, worn under clothing and secured so that removing the kirpan would be difficult. Principals would also have the right to suspend the wearing of a kirpan if it were to be misused by its wearer.
CASE STUDY C: DAN
Did the shift manager have good reason for firing Dan?
Dan believed he was fired because he was a Black person. What additional factors would be taken into consideration in a human rights investigation?
Furthermore, some co-workers ignored and isolated Dan, possibly contributing to the harassment. This and the poisoned environment constituted discrimination. An investigation would try to determine if Dan’s firing was, at least in part, due to racial discrimination on the part of the shift manager. In effect, if a Board of Inquiry finds that discrimination plays even a part in a decision by an employer, then the employer has violated the Code.
Case Study E: Karen
This scenario is based on Youmans v. Lily Cups, which went before a Board of Inquiry but was settled prior to the completion of hearings. As such, discrimination was not confirmed. For teaching purposes, the following is based on the perspective of discrimination having occurred.
What kind of discrimination did Karen face?
What other factors would lead us to believe that she or other women may have been discriminated against?
Is there any reason that men should be hired as service persons and women as packers?
What about the mechanical aptitude test?
Was the test a bona fide requirement for more senior positions?
What did the statistics say about the representation of women in the company's workforce?
Women were well represented in the bottom ranks of the company but not in more senior positions.
All of these factors could point to systemicdiscriminationagainst women. Unequal treatment, harassmentand constructivediscriminationare all part of the practices that keep women from advancing in society.
What must be done to ensure that women receive equal treatment as well as equal opportunity at this company?
First, the company eliminated differences in pay by creating a single entry-level position for both men and women. It also created plant-wide seniority for all positions, including packers, and stopped using the mechanical aptitude test.
Given the company's long-term systemic practices, would these actions stop discrimination and make up for the lost opportunity that women had suffered?
Thus, the respondent, without admitting they had discriminated against Karen, agreed to:
In this way, women would achieve more equal representation at senior levels. Furthermore, female employees would become aware of their rights and opportunities for advancement.
In other words, the company will create a climate of equal opportunity for all of its employees through active encouragement of, and commitment to, female employees.
Case Study F: Rita
How should the teacher have handled Rita's concern about the class presentation?
When the teacher first gave the assignment, or later, when Rita raised her objection, the teacher could have prevented the situation by either:
Either of these alternatives would have avoided singling Rita out and making her feel different because of her Aboriginal heritage. By setting Rita apart from the others, the teacher set the stage for the student harassment that followed
How should the principal deal with the situation?