Q&A is a recurring series on the Vey Willetts LLP blog. The aim is to provide quick answers to questions we commonly encounter in our day-to-day practice of employment law. In this edition we focus on employee sick leave and medical information.
The human rights landscape in Canada is shifting and society's view of which personal characteristics deserve protection has changed dramatically. This is the result, in part, of technological advance. New technologies can offer great economic benefit but can simultaneously expose individuals to new forms ofdiscrimination.
A current and contentious example of this is genetic discrimination. Genetic discrimination refers to the differential treatment of individuals as a result of 'flaws' in their biological coding, exposed through genetic testing. Genetic testing is a method of diagnosis; a person's DNA is examined to confirm a suspected genetic condition or to determine the probability that a person will develop a genetic disorder.
On May 22, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario awarded what is one of its largest damages awards to date. The facts that precipitated this result are both atrocious and a poignant reminder that sexual violence and harassment still persists in the workplace.
The case in question, O.P.T. v. Presteve Foods Ltd., involved O.P.T & M.P.T. - two sisters who came to Ontario from Mexico as temporary foreign workers to labour at a fish processing plant in Wheatley. In addition to bringing an application against the company, the sisters also named Mr. Jose Pratas, the owner of Presteve, as a personal respondent.