Family status discrimination case law in flux


Deborah Howden Head ShotFamily status discrimination claims could be on the rise, Toronto employment lawyer Deborah Howden tells

Howden, partner with the Toronto office of Shibley Righton LLP, explains that Ontario’s Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s family status, which covers the relationship between a parent and child.  

And while the number of cases claiming this type of discrimination still trails those involving allegations concerning a person’s disability or sex, she says the gap could be closing.

“I think they will increase in number as parents continue to juggle their responsibilities in increasingly complex workplaces,” says Howden, who adds that the popularity of telecommuting has helped keep the number lower than might otherwise have been expected.

“But it’s still a real problem when telecommuting is not an option,”

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