July 7, 2003

Is Obesity a Disability?

Question: Can obesity be considered a disability under human rights legislation? Although obesity is not specifically listed as a prohibited ground of discrimination under human rights legislation, courts have recognized that in certain circumstances obesity can constitute a disability. The Ontario Human Rights Commission dealt with this issue in a case involving a retail store…

June 16, 2003

Damages for Human Rights Violations Increasingly Punish Employers

Employers should guard against subtle forms of discrimination Long gone are the days when employers hung signs in the window stating that people of certain ethnic groups “need not apply.” However, employers must guard against more subtle forms of discrimination, such as the belief that a person with a disability won’t be capable of fulfilling…

May 28, 2003

Human Rights Legislation and Releases

Question: An employee whose employment was terminated brought an action against our company for wrongful dismissal. The claim was settled and as part of the settlement the employee signed a full and final release in favour of the company. The release included any and all claims related to the employee’s employment or the termination of…

April 16, 2003

Is Gambling a Disability?

Question: Is gambling considered to be a disability? What has occurred where employees have used gambling as a defence for their actions? Answer: Ontario ’s Human Rights Code adopts a very expansive definition of “handicap” which encompasses physical, psychological and mental conditions. Although the definition of “handicap” in the code does not specify “gambling,” the…

January 27, 2003

When Who Your Spouse is Gets You Fired

Was a fired employee discriminated against because of his family connections? Is this covered under “family status” provisions in human rights legislation? The Supreme Court of Canada has come down with a broad definition of family and marital status that states a person is protected from discrimination based on relationships to others. In B. v….

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