What Was Said

Significant quotes from recent decisions.

"... the respondent's decision to blatantly breach the [Employment Standards Act] by paying the applicant and other general labourers with developmental disabilities below the minimum wage was, by its very nature, an affront to their dignity and a disadvantage. It is no coincidence, in my view, that workers who receive less than the statutory minimum wage tend to be members of disadvantaged groups in society, and often have Code ground-related personal characteristics, such as a disability or a lack of immigration status."

Human Rights Digest 15-2, February/March 2014

"... The protection of employee privacy cannot be used to justify wilful ignorance or insulate the employer from its obligations to disabled employees."

Human Rights Digest 15-1, January 2014

"In my view, in the human rights context in particular, Justice not only seeks to rectify the violation of a person's rights, but should also endeavour to heal any suffering a person has endured as a result of unjust treatment. A fundamental component of healing is the recognition of suffering. The recognition of the hurt an individual or group has endured may address their need for justice, speed up the healing process, enhance feelings of self-value and promote respect for human dignity. While the judicial sphere often speaks in terms of what is legal or illegal, human values of what is right or wrong frequently transcend beyond formal legalities and may not always be encompassed in the current state of the law."

Human Rights Digest 14-8, November / December 2013

"When faced with a difficult family situation and a request for compassion, there is no indication that the Respondent considered its duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship. Overall, the Respondent showed disregard and indifference for the Complainant's family status and for the consequences that its decision to deny the TDRA would have in this regard."

Human Rights Digest 14-7, October 2013

"[T]he fact that a workplace is found to be dangerous does not automatically give the employer the right to impose random testing unilaterally. The dangerousness of the workplace has only justified the testing of particular employees in certain circumstances: where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the employee was impaired while on duty, where the employee was directly involved in a workplace accident or significant incident, or where the employee returns to work after treatment for substance abuse."

Human Rights Digest 14-6, August / September 2013

"Offensive, irreverent and inappropriate language is taken to be the norm when you enter a comedy club. I will assume all of that to be so, and I accept that comedy clubs are places where performers push boundaries and sometimes try to generate outrage. It does not follow that comedy clubs are zones of absolute immunity from human rights legislation."

Human Rights Digest 14-5, July 2013

"The incidents that occurred during the applicant's term of employment and the termination of her employment were typical of many sexual harassment cases, and if that was all that had happened, the case would have fallen in the middle of the spectrum. What moved this case beyond the middle, in my view, were the individual respondent's subsequent stalker-like behaviour and its impact on the applicant. His behaviour not only had an impact on her mental and physical health, it also restricted her freedom of movement. I was particularly struck that she became so fearful (rationally so, in my view) that she was unable to go out at night without another person accompanying her."

Human Rights Digest 14-4, May / June 2013

"[I]t is difficult to have regard to family without giving thought to children in the family and the relationship between parents and children. The singular most important aspect of that relationship is the parents' care for children. It seems to me that if Parliament intended to exclude parental childcare obligations, it would have chosen language that clearly said so."

Human Rights Digest 14-3, April 2013

"Hate speech... rises beyond causing emotional distress to individual group members. It can have a societal impact. If a group of people are considered inferior, sub-human, or lawless, it is easier to justify denying the group and its members equal rights or status... As the majority becomes desensitized by the effects of hate speech, the concern is that some members of society will demonstrate their rejection of the vulnerable group through conduct. Hate speech lays the groundwork for later, broad attacks on vulnerable groups. These attacks can range from discrimination, to ostracism, segregation, deportation, violence and, in the most extreme cases, to genocide."

Human Rights Digest 14-2, February/March 2013

"In my view, the free speech of College [of Pharmacists] members on matters affecting the regulation of their profession falls within the scope of political belief, given the legislative framework under which the College operates and the express regulatory mandate given the College by the government regarding pharmacy technicians. This was a new legislated initiative, that involved the public welfare, and that was being debated within the pharmacy community."

Human Rights Digest 14-1, January 2013
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