“My hair type is also linked to my race”: Discriminatory Dress Codes

Cree Ballah, a 20 year old working at a local Zara, recently went public with allegations that management made discriminatory comments about her hair. Managers told Ms. Ballah, who identifies as biracial, that her hair didn’t fit with the “clean professional look” the store required and even tried to “fix” her hair in the busy mall.

Ms. Ballah told CBC “My hair type is also linked to my race, so to me, I felt like it was direct discrimination against my ethnicity in the sense of what comes along with it.”

Unfortunately, Ms. Ballah’s experience doesn’t appear to be an unusual one for Ontario workers. Just last month Akua Agyemfra, a server at a local Jack Astors reported to CBC that an assistant manager asked her about her hair in her job interview. Ms. Agyemfra says was later sent home from a shift for wearing her hair in a bun at work, an issue Ms. Agyemfra similarly linked to race saying “a lot of Caucasian people don’t really understand”.

As these stories and a popular tweet earlier this month showed, perceptions about professionalism, race and hair continue to affect women of colour in the workplace.

Discriminatory Dress Codes

Since I last wrote on the subject of discriminatory dress codes, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has called on employers to end sexist, gender-specific dress codes.

Neither the Commission nor the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal appears to have dealt directly with the issue of race and hair in workplace dress codes in past policy statements or decisions.

However, decisions from other Canadian jurisdictions confirm that comments like the ones Ms. Ballah and Ms. Agyemfra endured might amount to illegal discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity or colour at work.

For example, in a 2014 Nova Scotia Human Rights Board of Inquiry decision a woman complained that she experienced racist and sexist discrimination at work, referencing (among other allegations) incidents in which managers commented negatively on her dreadlocks or touched her hair. The Board agreed that this conduct was disrespectful, offensive and “related to her race”. Together with other evidence, the manager’s comments about the employee’s hair grounded the Board’s ultimate finding that the complainant had been subjected workplace discrimination and harassment on the basis of her race. The employee was awarded $8,000 in general damages.

As with any workplace rule about dress or appearance, rules or requirements for employees’ hair may be appropriate in some circumstances even if there is a relationship between the employee’s hair and their race. For example, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal dismissed a complaint by a woman who worked as an “extra” or background performer that she had been discriminated against by a talent agency on the basis of her race and colour when it chose not to represent her. In that case, the Tribunal accepted that a performer’s appearance could be a real job requirement in the actor-agency relationship.

Other employers might have legitimate safety or hygiene concerns that could reasonably limit acceptable at-work hair styles. For example, your employer might be in the right to ask you to tie your hair back or wear a hair net if there’s a risk it could be caught up in machinery or get into food products.

Outside of the world of television casting or workplaces with real safety concerns, dress code rules or comments about employee appearance that have an adverse impact on racialized workers would likely be a lot harder to link to reasonable, real job-duties and, therefore, a lot harder to defend at the Human Rights Tribunal. Regardless, as the Nova Scotia Board reminds us, you really shouldn’t touch your employees’ hair or bodies without consent anyway.

DECISIONS DISCUSSED:

Cromwell v Leon’s Furniture Limited, 2014 CanLII 16399 (NS HRC)

von Rotsburg v. Local Colour Talent and another, 2012 BCHRT 36 (CanLII)

This blog is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you would like legal advice or have questions about your particular workplace problems please contact a lawyer. Our lawyers’ information is available on our Contact Us page.

COMMENTING POLICY: Comments may be subject to moderation. Commenters should refrain from using offensive or discriminatory language and from disclosing any personal or potentially privileged information.

It’s 2016!: Equal Pay for Women

Thanks in part to famous women like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson the issue of equal pay for women has gained renewed traction. It is 2016, after all!

Of course, women and their allies have been pushing for equal pay for equal work for a long time. Unfortunately, many women continue make less than their male counterparts whether due to blatant discrimination or because old stereotypes and expectations continue to have an impact on women at work.

What are your rights?

If you think you are being paid less because you’re a woman or because you do a job that has been traditionally done by a woman, you may have recourse to the Human Rights Tribunal, the Ministry of Labour, the Pay Equity Commission – or even to the courts! While the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in Ontario, somewhat different rules apply depending on where you work.

The Ontario Human Rights Code makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee or job candidate on the basis of sex. In other words, it’s against the law for some one to refuse to hire you because you are a woman or to pay you less because you are a woman.

Similarly, the Ontario Employment Standards Act provides for “equal pay for equal work”. An employer can’t pay a woman less than a man who is performing work that is substantially the same in terms of skills, efforts and responsibility. However, even this rule is subject to conditions. It only applies if the man and the woman are working under “similar working conditions” and in the same “establishment”. Of course, a man can still be paid more than a woman if he has more seniority, employees are paid on the basis of an objective measurement of their merit, pay is linked to production or for some other non-sex-based reason.

Another piece of legislation, the Pay Equity Act, remedies some of the unfairness that would be caused if women could only turn to the Human Rights Tribunal or the equal pay rule for help. The Pay Equity Act is based on the principal of “equal pay for work of equal value”, which is a broader concept than “equal pay for equal work”. This broader approach lets the law take into account the fact that certain work has been traditionally performed by women and has been historically underpaid, but has the same value as certain other work traditionally performed by men. The Pay Equity compares “female class jobs” (think: nurses, social workers) with “male class jobs” (think: engineers, technicians) to determine which jobs are of “equal value” and should be equally compensated. Unfortunately, while the Pay Equity Act probably helps you if you are a public sector employee in Ontario, it does not apply to smaller, private sector employers. It also doesn’t apply to private sector workplaces where everyone works in male job classes or female job classes. This means that if your employer only employs nurses, pay equity does not apply because there is no male job class at your workplace that your wages could be compared to.

In addition to legislation, your employment contract, collective agreement or employer’s rules and policies may provide you with other rights or access to programs designed to address the gender pay gap.

There are important exceptions to the rules against sex discrimination, though. Special interest organizations may discriminate on the basis of sex –or other grounds- in hiring if sex is a real requirement based on the nature of the work. Individuals hiring some one to provide them or a family member with personal care can also refuse to hire some one on the basis of their sex. At the same time, “affirmative action” is legal under the Human Rights Code: this means that an employer can treat employees differently on the basis of sex if they are implementing a special program designed to help disadvantaged persons or groups achieve equality.

This blog is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you would like legal advice or have questions about your particular workplace problems please contact a lawyer. Our lawyers’ information is available on our Contact Us page.

COMMENTING POLICY: Comments may be subject to moderation. Commenters should refrain from using offensive or discriminatory language and from disclosing any personal or potentially privileged information.

Am I Really an Independent Contractor?

An increasing number of businesses (think: Uber!) use “independent contractors” instead of “employees”, casting off the responsibility to deduct taxes and contribute to programs like Employment Insurance or the Canada Pension Plan.

But what effect does working as an independent contractor have on your rights as a worker? Does the fact that you are called an independent contractor actually make you one?

AM I REALLY A CONTRACTOR?

The question of whether you are an employee or a contractor effects your rights at work, especially if you are dismissed. Generally, employees who are fired without cause are entitled to notice or pay in lieu of notice but contractors are not. Employees, unlike contractors, can unionize their workplace.

In cases where a company claims that some one is a contractor and not an employee, Ontario courts consider factors including:

-Do you work exclusively for one company or boss?

-How much does the company or your boss control how you do your work?

-Do you own the tools you use to do your job?

-Do you share in the business risk or profit?

-Whose business is it?

While some people are clearly employees or clearly contractors, many workers fall in between these two categories.

In Ontario, both the common law and the Ontario Labour Relations Act recognize a middle category between independent contractors and employees: the dependent contractor. Dependent contractors, like employees, may be entitled to notice if their employer dismisses them without cause and may be able to unionize.

KEENAN V CANAC KITCHENS – DEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision confirmed that courts will look at what your work is really like rather than focusing on the title a company gives you in a contract.

In this case, husband and wife Lawrence and Marilyn Keenan had worked for a company called Canac Kitchens Ltd for more than 30 years when their employer closed its door and dismissed them without any notice or compensation. Roughly 20 years before their dismissal the Keenans had signed an agreement that said they were working as full-time “sub-contractors”, not as employees. In spite of this written agreement, their work remained unchanged.

At trial, the Judge found that the Keenans were “dependent contractors” and ordered their former employer to pay them 26 months’ notice. The Court of Appeal upheld this decision, even though the Keenans’ work for another company in the last 2 years of their employment made them somewhat less dependent on Canac.

This flexible, realistic approach to the question of whether a worker is a contractor or an employee (or something in between) is good news for Ontario workers who may have been mislabelled by their employer or are unsure about whether they really are a contractor.

DECISIONS DISCUSSED:

Belton v. Liberty Insurance Co. of Canada, 2004 CanLII 6668 (ON CA)

McKee v. Reid’s Heritage Homes Ltd., 2009 ONCA 916 (CanLII)

Keenan v. Canac Kitchens Ltd., 2016 ONCA 79 (CanLII)

Keenan v. Canac Kitchens, 2015 ONSC 1055 (CanLII)

This blog is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you would like legal advice or have questions about your particular workplace problems please contact a lawyer. Our lawyers’ information is available on our Contact Us page.

COMMENTING POLICY: Comments may be subject to moderation. Commenters should refrain from using offensive or discriminatory language and from disclosing any personal or potentially privileged information.

Criminal Charges, Non-Conviction Records and Your Job

Recent changes to Ontario law make it harder for an employer to find out if their employees (or prospective employees) have faced criminal charges in the past – unless those charges resulted in a conviction. But, these changes haven’t banned discrimination on the basis of non-conviction charges (cases where charges were dropped or you enter into a peace bond, for example). Labour, employment and criminal lawyers alike still need to be aware of the impact a criminal charge or conviction can have on their clients at work.

HUMAN RIGHTS CODE

The Ontario Human Rights Code offers some protection to people looking to start-over after a brush with the law. It bans discrimination on the basis of a criminal conviction that has since been pardoned or received a record suspension. Unfortunately, charges that are dropped cannot be pardoned. For this reason, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has found that there’s nothing illegal about discriminating against some one because they have been charged with an offence, even if the charge was dropped. Similarly, discrimination on the basis of having entered into a “peace bond” isn’t a violation of the Code. It doesn’t offer any protection for people who have been charged with provincial offences, either.

VULNERABLE SECTOR CHECK

Even the new restrictions on background checks and the Code ban of discrimination after you’ve received a pardon is limited. An employer can discriminate on the basis of a criminal record if they have a real concern that your record prevents you from being able to do your job. For example, an employer in the child- or healthcare sector can refuse to hire some one who has been convicted of child abuse related charges, even if they have been pardoned.

People out of work because of the results of a vulnerable sector check may seek LEARN reconsideration and ask to know the reason why their vulnerable sector approval has been denied.

PROFESSIONAL REGULATIONS

Other workers may have to report past or outstanding charges to a professional college, regulator or employer. For these workers, the lack of a conviction may not mean that they don’t have to report the charge to their professional body or boss. Some workers may find themselves unable to obtain employment in the first place because of past contact with the criminal justice system while others may find themselves fired or see their license suspended or revoked following an arrest.

Lawyers helping a client assess their options after they’ve been charged with a crime should be sure to ask about their job. A wide variety work is regulated either by an independent college or some other regulatory body that may require its licensees to promptly report brushes with the law. Some examples include teachers, doctors, lawyers, licensed mechanics, car salespersons, real estate agents and people who hold a liquor license.

WHAT’S A CRIMINAL LAWYER TO DO?

Whether some one will be disciplined or fired because of a criminal charge depends on a number of factors and varies greatly from case to case.

  • Think about the employment consequences your client may face and consider working together with her employment lawyer or union to make sure that all of her interests are protected as best as possible. This may include working with her other representatives to seek a stay of any other legal proceedings pending the outcome of her criminal trial, for example.
  • If your client needs to maintain a license of any kind to keep her job or keep her business open, you should consider referring her to a lawyer with experience dealing with regulations applicable to her industry.
  • If your client is unionized, they should reach out to their union soon after any charges to seek assistance in navigating any workplace consequences.
  • If your client is refused a job or fired after her employer discovers that she has been charged with or convicted of a crime, encourage her to seek advice from a human rights or employment lawyer to determine if this was contrary to the Code or if it was a wrongful dismissal. If your client has a Union, she may wish to file a grievance.
  • If you are some one with concerns about the impact that a criminal charge or conviction may have on your job, please consider seeking legal advice from your criminal and employment lawyers.

    DECISIONS DISCUSSED:

    de Pelham v. Mytrak Health Systems, 2009 HRTO 172 (CanLII)

    Musoni v. Logiteck Technology Ltd., 2011 HRTO 1122 (CanLII)

    J.N. v. Durham Regional Police Service, 2011 ONSC 2892 (CanLII)

    This blog is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you would like legal advice or have questions about your particular workplace problems please contact a lawyer. Our lawyers’ information is available on our Contact Us page.

    COMMENTING POLICY: Comments may be subject to moderation. Commenters should refrain from using offensive or discriminatory language and from disclosing any personal or potentially privileged information.

NEWS: Federal Court of Appeal Upholds Air Ambulance Certification

At a hearing yesterday, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed an employer’s application for judicial review of a Canada Industrial Relations Board decision certifying a bargaining unit that included pilots and in-flight paramedics.

The employer argued that while its pilots were federally regulated employees of an airline, its in-flight paramedics worked on air ambulances and should be provincially regulated because of their role in providing health care. The United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 175 successfully contended that these employees worked for the same business and should all fall under the jurisdiction of the Canada Industrial Relations Board.

This was the first case in which a Canadian labour board has been called upon to decide which laws should regulate the labour relations of air ambulance providers.

Local 175 was represented by MMW Toronto Lawyer Sarah Molyneaux with the assistance of Georgina Watts.

5 Years of Bill 168: Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance?

The Ontario government’s 2009 amendments to the Occupational Health & Safety Act –often referred to as Bill 168 – came into effect in 2010. These new rules expanded an employer’s responsibility to protect its employees from violence and harassment in the workplace, putting these safety risks on par with physical risks that were already addressed by the Act and various regulations.

Bill 168 defines workplace violence as “a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.”

Employers across Ontario responded by creating policies to help them comply with their obligations under Bill 168. Many instituted “zero-tolerance” rules for violence, threats or harassment at work, claiming that the new law required this kind of strict approach.

But does Bill 168 mean that progressive discipline doesn’t apply to unionized workers accused of violence or harassment? Can an arbitrator still take the context or the personal characteristics of a grievor into account when deciding whether to order a violent grievor back to work?

Bill 168 at Arbitration

While the post-Bill 168 case law makes it clear that arbitrators, employers and unions are all taking the issue of workplace violence and harassment a lot more seriously than in decades past, it’s also clear that the new law doesn’t prevent an arbitrator from considering other relevant factors (things like the grievor’s length of service or positive employment record, for example).

In one of the first arbitration decisions issued after Bill 168 came into effect, the arbitrator found that a grievor had made a death threat in the workplace when her employer tried to deal with her absenteeism. In this decision, the arbitrator held that workplace safety was one of the factors she had to consider when deciding whether the discipline imposed – in this case, dismissal- was reasonable and proportional to the misconduct. In other words, an arbitrator could still consider the usual mitigating factors (length of service, good employment record, the employee’s age, etc) and aggravating factors (lack of remorse, damage to the employment relationship, etc), but she would also have to take the threat seriously and consider whether there was a risk that the grievor would re-offend.

Another decision addresses the issue of “zero tolerance” policies head-on, reminding employers that:

“arbitrators must continue to consider and balance various factors in assessing the appropriateness of the discipline imposed upon an employee who has committed an act of violence in the workplace. Workplace violence and harassment policies should not automatically be deemed to be “zero tolerance” policies so that any infraction will automatically lead to dismissal. This is especially true because the definition of what constitutes workplace violence is broad, and the spectrum of the severity of violent conduct is wide.”

So far this year, more than a dozen Ontario labour arbitration decisions have referenced Bill 168. These address a variety of grievances, including unions’ complaints that employers aren’t doing enough to protect their employees from harassment. In three of the four arbitration decisions addressing whether or not an employee could be dismissed after having been found to have committed some form of workplace violence or harassment, arbitrators held that termination was too severe and ordered the employers to issue a suspension instead.

In other words, while “zero tolerance” can send a strong message to employees about their employer’s commitment to preventing (or punishing) violent behavior at work, termination may not always be the appropriate response. As with any other type of serious misconduct, employers are advised to look at the whole picture before making their decisions about discipline.

DECISIONS DISCUSSED:

Kingston (City) v Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 109, 2011 CanLII 50313 (ON LA)

Toronto Transit Commission v Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, 2013 CanLII 89972 (ON LA)

This blog is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you would like legal advice or have questions about your particular workplace problems please contact a lawyer. Our lawyers’ information is available on our Contact Us page.

COMMENTING POLICY: Comments may be subject to moderation. Commenters should refrain from using offensive or discriminatory language and from disclosing any personal or potentially privileged information.

Should restaurant servers have to wear high heels?

Last month a number of restaurants came under fire for having dress codes that required women to wear high heels on the job.

While restaurants claimed they only wanted their workers to look “polished” on the job, women reported that their managers made sexist comments about men “checking them out” in high heels and ignored their health concerns. One woman told Global News that her employer’s policy meant she ultimately needed surgery.Another claimed to have been forced to wear heels, or forgo shifts, even after providing her manager with a doctor’s note saying she needed several weeks to recover from injuries inflicted by a shift in heels. While the server quit her job on her doctor’s advice, the restaurant is now reconsidering its policy.

As some one with lots of experience working in the service sector, I’m familiar with impractical dress codes and the physical toll of an on-your-feet and in-heels job. Ultimately, a foot injury and a supportive manager got me excused from the high heels mandate after five years of blisters.

Are these dress codes sex discrimination?

While recent news articles and my personal experience indicates that these kinds of dress codes are common, not many cases about high heels or sexy dress codes have made their way to courts or tribunals.

At least one early decision of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal dismissed complaints by two servers who worked at a bar where they had to wear “harem outfits” at work while their male counterparts wore t-shirts and dark trousers. On judicial review the Superior Court agreed that dress codes could constitute discrimination on the basis of sex in some circumstances, but ultimately found that these servers hadn’t faced illegal discrimination.

Changing attitudes towards women and more experience interpreting the Human Rights Code might mean that the same case would be decided differently today. The Ontario Human Rights Commission cautions that employers faced with a human rights complaint would have to show that gendered differences in its dress code are based on a “bona fide” or real job requirement. According to the Commission, employers can run into trouble if they hold women to a higher standard of dress than men or expect them to dress sexily to attract customers.

In any case, high heels are clearly different from other sexy clothes – they can and do cause worker injury. Here in Ontario, a few Workplace Safety Insurance & Appeals Tribunal decisions hint at a link between injury and high heels for workers in the food service industry. However, just one decision of that tribunal has held that a worker was entitled to benefits after a high heel related injury. In that case, the worker worked on his feet and his plantar fasciitis was attributed, in part, to the wearing of high heels. If your employer’s dress code is causing you pain and injury, you may not only have a worker’s compensation claim, you may have a human rights claim, too: high heel dress codes put women at risk for injuries that their male co-workers don’t face.

In addition to being sexist and dangerous, dress codes designed to make workers more sexually appealing to customers may be discrimination on the basis of religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. There are lots of reasons an employee might be unable or unwilling to don stilettos.

DECISIONS DISCUSSED:

Re Ontario Human Rights Commission et al. and Chrysalis Restaurant Enterprises Inc. et al., 1987 CanLII 4277 (ON SC)

Decision No. 2291/07, 2007 ONWSIAT 3154 (CanLII)

This blog is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you would like legal advice or have questions about your particular workplace problems please contact a lawyer. Our lawyers’ information is available on our Contact Us page.

COMMENTING POLICY: Comments may be subject to moderation. Commenters should refrain from using offensive or discriminatory language and from disclosing any personal or potentially privileged information.

NEWS: IN-FLIGHT PARAMEDICS ARE FEDERALLY REGULATED, CANADA INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS BOARD RULES

The Canada Industrial Relations Board has certified a bargaining unit including in-flight paramedics its first decision to consider whether air ambulance services fall under federal or provincial jurisdiction.

Represented by MMW Law’s Sarah Molyneaux, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 175 argued that their new members’ employer was federally regulated because it was, in essence, an airline and because its airplanes and employees crossed provincial and national borders. The employer argued that the Board lacked the statutory and constitutional jurisdiction to certify a unit including its paramedics, who it contended were subject to provincial regulation because they worked for a healthcare provider.

The Board agreed with the Union and found that:

“the habitual activity of the employer’s operations is that of air transportation on its airplanes. For whom or what end it flies these airplanes does not alter that it is in the business of providing air transportation. Since Parliament has seen fit to give the Board explicit jurisdiction over aircrafts and air transportation, the Board find that Northern Air’s entire operations, including its air ambulance operations, constitute a federal undertaking”

The employer has applied for judicial review of this matter at the Federal Court of Appeal.

DECISIONS DISCUSSED:

United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 175 v Northern Air Solutions Inc, 2015 CIRB 773

This blog is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you would like legal advice or have questions about your particular workplace problems please contact a lawyer. Our lawyers’ information is available on our Contact Us page.

COMMENTING POLICY: Comments may be subject to moderation. Commenters should refrain from using offensive or discriminatory language and from disclosing any personal or potentially privileged information.

ON THE JOB & IN PUBLIC: AN EMPLOYER’S DUTY TO PREVENT HARASSMENT

When CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt confronted a group of men after her segment at a Toronto FC soccer match was interrupted by a man who said “f— her right in the p—“, she started a national dialogue about the harassment female reporters have faced on the job since the “FHRITP” trend took off about two years ago.

At least one of the men involved was dismissed by his employer after footage of Ms. Hunt’s experience at the match aired. We know that you’d be putting your job at risk if you engage in this type of behaviour on live TV – but as reporters explained, experiencing this sexist heckling affects their work, too. When you work with the public like Ms. Hunt, how far does your employer have to go to protect you from harassment?

HARASSED BY THE PUBLIC

It’s clear that employers are not only responsible for preventing harassment between co-workers. While it doesn’t look like any cases have considered a journalist’s complaint that her employer didn’t do enough to protect her or respond to her concerns about harassment, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has found employers liable for harassment by customers and contractors who attend at the workplace.

In an early human rights decision, Nixon v Greensides, the Saskatchewan Board of Inquiry wrote:

“The law with respect to the duty of an employer in the area of sexual harassment has evolved over the last number of years…the consideration of harassment of an employee by customers of the employer falls very much into the same category as harassment by one employee of another employee…Sexual harassment has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. The employer has an obligation to prevent that from happening had the employee has the right to expect the employer will take those necessary steps.”

Other tribunals have followed in Saskatchewan’s footsteps. For example, in a case before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, Lanteigne v. Sam’s Sports Bar Limited, a server at a sports bar complained that a regular customer grabbed her breast while she was at work. She complained to the manager immediately and raised the issue again at a staff meeting a few days later. The complainant was later dismissed. The Tribunal found that the bar’s owner discriminated against the complainant on the basis of sex when it did not take the server’s complaint seriously and act on it in a timely and prudent manner. Because the Tribunal agreed with the server that she had been fired for pursuing her complaint, she was awarded lost wages as well as $3,000 as compensation for injury to her dignity, feelings and self respect and the bar was ordered to develop a policy that covered sexual harassment by its customers.

EMPLOYER’S DUTY

The risk that employers can be held responsible for not responding properly to a worker’s complaint that a member of the public has harassed them poses a unique challenge for news organizations whose employees routinely cover rowdy or emotionally-charged events in public spaces where bans might be impractical or even impossible. Having policies and procedures in place explaining how employers and employees should deal with harassment by the public–and following those policies and procedures when a complaint is made- is an important first step in making journalists and other people who work with the public feel safe on the job.

DECISIONS DISCUSSED:

Ankamah v. Chauhan Food Services, 2010 HRTO 2024 (CanLII)

Wamsley v. Ed Green Blueprinting, 2010 HRTO 1491 (CanLII)

Lanteigne v. Sam’s Sports Bar Ltd, [1998] BCHRTD No 40 (available on WestlawNext)

Nixon v Greensides (1992), 20 . C.H.R.R. D/469 Sask. Bd. Inq

This blog is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you would like legal advice or have questions about your particular workplace problems please contact a lawyer. Our lawyers’ information is available on our Contact Us page.

COMMENTING POLICY: Comments may be subject to moderation. Commenters should refrain from using offensive or discriminatory language and from disclosing any personal or potentially privileged information.