After failing in a harassment grievance that was based on the
Occupational Health and Safety Act, an employee has failed
in his bid to persuade the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario that
safety-related discipline against him was discriminatory under the
Human Rights Code.
The employee's union grievance had alleged bullying and
harassment against the supervisor under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act; the grievance had been denied.
In his Human Rights Tribunal application, the employee alleged
that, in one incident, his supervisor yelled at him about wearing
proper safety equipment because he did not have his safety boots
on. The employee felt that the safety boots were not necessary.
After another incident, the supervisor gave him a letter about the
need to wear appropriate safety equipment. The employee claimed
that, in yet another incident, the supervisor had berated him,
called him stupid, and threatened him with being fired.
The Human Rights Tribunal stated that it does not have a general
power to deal with allegations of unfairness. The Tribunal found no
link between the alleged actions of the supervisor and any
prohibited ground of discrimination under the Human Rights
Code (such as sex, race or disability). It was clear that the
relationship between the employee and his supervisor was fraught
with tension, and that he had been reprimanded for violation of
basic safety protocols, but there was no cogent evidence to prove
With increasing workplace attention on harassment, some
employees are looking to tribunals such as the Ontario Labour
Relations Board and Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario for
assistance. In the case of the Tribunal, the complaint will fail
unless the employee can prove that he or she suffered
discrimination or harassment because of sex, race, disability or
another prohibited ground of discrimination under the Human
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Ten days following the election, join us for a discussion with Gary Doer, former Canadian Ambassador to the US, and Gordon Giffin, US Ambassador to Canada under Bill Clinton, to discuss how the new President and Congressional makeup will shape US-Canada relations for years to come.
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