Human Rights • Chapter 5
Human Rights Vs. Charter of Rights • Human Rights protects against unfair treatment by other people or organizations. • The Charter of Rights guarantees the rights of people from interference by the Government. • Human Rightsgive people the right to be treated equally and to be free from discrimination.
Human Rights are meant to help prevent discrimination and stereotyping. • Discrimination is making a distinction between people and treating them differently on a basis other than individual merit. • Stereotyping is having an oversimplified, standardized, or fixed opinion or judgment about a group of people. • Stereotyping Song • Prejudice is a preconceived opinion based on a stereotype or inadequate information.
Canadian Human Rights Act • Passed in 1977 • Applies to all government departments, Crown corporations, and business and industries that are under federal Gov. jurisdiction. • The CHRA also covers hate messages and pay equity. • The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of: • Race • Colour • National or Ethnic Origin • Religion • Age • Gender • Marital Status • Physical or Mental Disability • Pardoned Criminal Conviction • Sexual Orientation
In 2001, anti-terrorist legislation replaced s. 13(2), making communication of hate messages by computer or internet prohibited.
Provincial Human Rights Codes • All provinces have human rights codes passed by provincial Legislatures that are amended periodically. • These codes are subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and could be struck down if they violate the charter. • Provincial Human Rights Codes Justine Blainey after the Supreme Court of Canada rejected an OHA bid to keep her from playing on a boy’s team.
Administering Human Rights • Provincial Governments have appointed commissions to enforce human rights codes. • Most complaints are solved by commissions but 4% are passed to boards of inquiry or tribunals that make the ultimate decision about the complaint.
Filing a Complaint • Victims of discrimination must follow the procedure set out by your province’s human rights code. • Individuals do not need a lawyer to file a complaint and can withdraw their complaint at anytime. • All complaints are completely confidential. • A complainant is the person making an allegation of discrimination. • Prima facieis legally convincing unless disproved by contrary evidence. • Respondent is the person or organization that the complainant alleges committed discrimination.
Dismissing a Complaint • Reasons for dismissal vary from province to province but basically follow the following criteria… • If another legislative act more appropriately deals with the issue. • Where the complaint is trivial, frivolous, or made in bad faith. • If the complaint is outside the commissions jurisdiction. • If the complaint is outside of a specific time period.
Role of the Commission • If not dismissed, the respondent and complainant are asked to enter into mediation. • Mediation: intervention between conflicting parties that promotes compromise or settlement of the dispute. • If unsuccessful, an investigation is launched by a human rights officer and a report is written and submitted to the commission.
If the commissioners do not feel there is enough evidence to prove discrimination, the complaint is dismissed. • If there is evidence, the complaint is referred to a tribunal or board of inquiry. • The hearing is similar to a trial, witness are called, evidence presented, and lawyers. • The decision may be appealed for judicial review.
Remedies • Remedies are intended to put complainants in the same position they would have been in had the discrimination not occurred. • Order the person or organization who committed the discrimination to stop • Make the respondent issue a letter of apology • Order the respondent to pay the complainant for mental anguish or any losses suffered in pay or benefits • Make an employer give back the job or grant the promotion that was denied to the employee
Order an organization to adopt programs to relieve hardships or to help disadvantaged groups (economic or other) to achieve equal opportunity • Require an organization to provide human rights and anti-discrimination training for all employees, or develop policies to eliminate discrimination or harassment
Grounds of Discrimination Employment Exceptions Under the Law • Everyone has the right to equal treatment in the job application process as well as training, transfers, promotions, apprenticeship, dismissal, and layoffs. • Certain actions are not discriminatory if they are reasonable and justifiable under the circumstances. • Example: Higher insurance fees for young drivers. Stats show that young drivers file more claims than older drivers.
Bona fide occupational requirement is a qualification that would normally be considered discriminatory but is essential to the job. • Example: A transport company requiring all persons hired as drivers to have a valid driver’s licence. • Affirmative action is giving advantages to groups who have been discriminated against in the past. This is allowed under human rights legislation.
Constructive and Direct Discrimination • Constructive discrimination is when employment policies inadvertently exclude certain individuals, resulting in discrimination. • Example: Police departments used to have a min. Height requirement that inadvertently discriminated against women and minorities. • Direct discrimination refers to discrimination that is practiced openly. • Example: Refusing service or employment to someone simply because of his or her membership in a particular group.
Duty to Accommodate • To Accommodate means the employer must take reasonable measures to meet the special needs of an employee. • Example:An employee wanting to take a day off due to a religious holiday. The employer must try to resolve the issue in a way that satisfies both the employee and employer. • Undue hardship is the result of a change to accommodate an employee that affects profits or does other damage to the employer. • Example: An employee has a physical disability that prevents heavy lifting and expects the employer to install an elevator as a solution to the problem.
Harassment in the Workplace • Harassment is persistent behaviour that violates the human rights of the victim. • Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual contact, remarks, leering, demands for dates, request for sexual favours, and displays of sexually offensive pictures or graffiti. • Employers are responsible for ensuring that harassment does not exist in their workplace.
Poisoned Environment • When a person or group of people is continually subjected to actions or comments that create an uncomfortable atmosphere, this atmosphere is called a poisoned environment. • Example: A female constantly hears disparaging comments from her male co-workers such as, “Women just aren’t as capable as men.”
Accommodation and Facilities • All people have the right to equal treatment in accommodation (living/housing) and this is protected by provincial human rights codes. • Protection in this area includes the right to be free from discrimination based on age, marital status, or source of income. • Facilities refer to areas or buildings designated for public use. (Parks, halls, rinks, etc.) • Discrimination can sometimes occur in the provisions of facilities.
Meeting Special Needs • Most provincial human rights codes prohibit discrimination based on disability. • Employers are required to accommodate employees with psychological, emotional, or physical disabilities. • Where impossible to remove barriers without undue hardship, special arrangements must be made so that persons with disabilities can participate. • To prove undue hardship 3 factors are considered: • Cost • Outside sources of funding • Health and safety
Goods and Services • Everyone has the right to equal access to purchasing goods and the provision of services. • Goods: merchandise that can be purchased • Services: ways of meeting consumer needs that do not involve the purchase of tangible goods.