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Work Life: A New Comic Strip on Work Law

For my new textbook on Canadian labour and employment law, which I’m writing during my present sabbatical, I’m considering a running comic strip. The strip will run through the book, and deal with situations that arise in the life of a small bar-cafe. Here’s a sampler, dealing with discrimination in the hiring process. The text will explore the scenario and have students develop legal arguments on behalf of both sides of the story. I’d be interested in any comments or suggestions as I play with different ideas. Check out my avatar!

Does the woman applicant have a common law action against me and my company?

Does she have a human rights complaint? What grounds in Section 5 of the Code might she rely on?

If she files a human rights complaint, what would be my (the employer’s defense)? Would I succeed in that defence in your view?

If she won a human rights complaint, what remedy do you think the Tribunal would order?

Now, what if the job applicant was not an older woman, but a young woman with blonde hair. I don’t hire her because I prefer dark haired bartenders. ¬†Would the she have a human rights complaint against my preference for dark haired servers?

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4 Responses to Work Life: A New Comic Strip on Work Law

  1. David Scrimshaw Reply

    September 10, 2012 at 9:30 am

    My suggestion would be to reduce the amount of ink in the background. Take out the bricks and remove or lighten the colours.

  2. Dan McGarry Reply

    April 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    One of my favourite wrongful dismissal cases dates back a few years ago to a veteran exotic dancer who launched a suit against the bar that had employed her.

    She claimed that they let her go due to her age. Age of course being a protected ground under Human Rights legislation.

    Looks are however not protected and an employer may discriminate based on ‘lookism’, to address David’s question regarding his preference for dark haired bartenders.

    The exotic dancer won her suit because she was able to prove that she still had the required ‘looks’ for the job.

    • admin Reply

      April 23, 2013 at 1:33 am

      Dan, I’m not aware of that case. Do you have a citation? I recall a complaint being fired by an exotic dancer alleging age discrimination (not a wrongful dismissal, but a human rights complaint), but I didn’t see a decision, so I assumed it settled or was withdrawn.

  3. Dan McGarry Reply

    April 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    David, I stand corrected. Based on the nature of the employment relationship in that industry, it would have of course been a Human Rights complaint. The case was widely reported at the time.

    I will check to see if I can retrieve any pertinent information.

    At the moment the tragedy in Dhaka Bangladesh is the prime topic of discussion.

    As my maternal grandparents were employed for decades in the garment trade on Spadina Avenue, I am well aware of the work conditions that existed in this sector in Canada and the subsequent loss of employment to offshoring.

    Not that many years ago Jim Stanford stated that the total difference in labour costs between a car assembled in Oshawa and one assembled in Mexico would represent an additional cost of about $9 per monthly payment to the consumer.

    To steal someone’s phrase this recent disaster is another example of “the high cost of low prices”.

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