Posted in: Newsletter Post
Did Jian Ghomeshi’s recent termination from his workplace – due to his off-duty conduct – violate his human rights? Despite his alleged off-duty conduct, could the CBC be ordered to reinstate him to his position?
Our rights are something we often take for granted, and Ontario’s Human Rights Code is to be taken into consideration in all areas of life, including the workplace. But what are our rights, as employee or employer, and how might they play out in a scenario such as this one?
As stated in the Preamble to the Human Rights Code R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER H.19,
… it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination that is contrary to law, and having as its aim the creation of a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and able to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community and the Province.
An individual’s disability, for example, may make it impossible for him or her to fulfill the responsibilities of their employment. In some cases, this may lead to paid disability leave; in others, employment termination. How do human rights factor into those cases?
When a suitable position is made available, even after long-term disability benefits have been granted and paid out, or after an individual’s employment has been terminated, that person may still be entitled to employment reinstatement.
Jian Ghomeshi’s termination from his position at CBC is an interesting and current case in point. If the behaviour he has been accused of is determined to have been caused by a medical disorder or disability, the Court may rule in favour of reinstatement.
It would then become the employer’s responsibility to alter the individual’s job description to accommodate for a disability; or, in the alternative, consider the individual for a different position better suited to his or her skills and level of ability.
According to the Human Rights Code,
The Tribunal or a court shall not find that a requirement, qualification or factor is reasonable and bona fide in the circumstances unless it is satisfied that the needs of the group of which the person is a member cannot be accommodated without undue hardship on the person responsible for accommodating those needs, considering the cost, outside sources of funding, if any, and health and safety requirements, if any.
In the following case law excerpt, reinstatement was deemed an appropriate remedy to the respondent’s prior employment termination:
For more information about your legal rights, contact Access Legal Services at (416) 733-8880 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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