Federal Court

Human Rights Legislation

Employee had substantial childcare family obligation

Employee’s home terminal was Jasper. Employee was on laid off status and was recalled to report to temporary work assignment in Vancouver. Employee advised employee could not report to Vancouver because of childcare issues. Employee did not report by deadline and employer terminated employment. Employee filed complaint alleging employer discriminated against employee on basis of family status by failing to accommodate employee parental childcare obligations and by terminating employment. Tribunal allowed complaint of human rights discrimination because of family status by employer. Application for judicial review was dismissed. Tribunal did not err in finding parental childcare obligations came within term “family status” in Canadian Human Rights Act. Interpretation was reasonable. Tribunal applied correct test for finding prima facie discrimination on basis of family status. Tribunal did not err in finding that employer did not meet duty to accommodate employee. There was nothing unreasonable about determination that employer did not meet duty to accommodate. Employee satisfied requirement of having substantial childcare family obligation. Employee did not have opportunity to respond to major shortage recall. Employer’s failure to respond to employee denied employee opportunity to realistically explore and consider options for childcare in responding to shortage or accessing accommodation available under employer’s policy or collective agreement. Tribunal had sufficient basis to conclude employer’s conduct was reckless. Award of compensation was reasonable.

Canadian National Railway v. Seeley (Feb. 1, 2013, F.C., Leonard S. Mandamin J., File No. T-1775-10) 225 A.C.W.S. (3d) 195.

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