This dispute involving PSAC and Canada Post Corporation (CPC)
has been ongoing for almost 30 years. It was in 1983 that the PSAC
first filed a lawsuit before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
claiming equal pay for equal work pursuant to the Canadian Human Rights
Act. PSAC maintains that CPC is guilty of
wage discrimination against a group of employees comprised mainly
of women. The complaint was granted by the Canadian Human Rights
Tribunal, however the complaint was successively rejected by the
Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal.
This litigation reminds us that the issue of pay equity is far
from being resolved. Certain Canadian provinces, such as Quebec and
Ontario, have enacted specific laws relating to pay equity
requiring employers to perform an exercise comparing job positions
and salaries. However, the scope and legal consequences of this
legislation still remains unknown to many employers. On January 8,
2011, the Quebec Pay Equity
Commission revealed that less than 60% of Quebec
businesses have complied with the Pay Equity
Act adopted in 1997.
In Quebec, all enterprises with ten (10) employees or more are
required to comply with the Pay Equity Act. Complaints may
be filed against businesses who have not performed or completed
their first pay equity exercise. The defaulting enterprises are at
risk of being imposed the payment of retroactive salary adjustments
as well as penalties ranging from $1,000 to $45,000.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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