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Discrimination on the Basis of Pregnancy

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled this week that an employer violated the Code when it fired an employee immediately upon learning she was pregnant.  I’ll post the decision once it up on the Tribunal website, but here is the story from the Star. I’ve written before about how the Code treats pregnancy.

Note that in this case, the employee was pregnant when she applied for the job, but did not tell the employer until the day she actually started work.  She didn’t disclose her pregnancy during the interview for fear she would not get hired.  Of course, an applicant is not required to disclose she is pregnant, and the employer is not permitted to ask during a job interview.  In other words, whether or not an applicant is pregnant is supposed to be irrelevant to the job selection process.  In this case, the employer was ordered to pay the employee $35,000.  According to the Star, this was for ‘damages and lost wages’.  We’ll have to read the decision itself to sort out what those damages are.  The Tribunal could have ordered reinstatement–it has that power–but here it did not do so, maybe because the employee had already found other work and wasn’t asking to be reinstated.


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