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Chapter 4 Meeting Legal Requirements
After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
Explain the impact of government on human resource management.
Identify the jurisdictions of Canadian human rights legislation.
List the major provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Explain the effect of human rights legislation on the role of human resource specialists.
Define harassment and explain what is meant by the term sexual harassment.
Outline an Employment Equity Program.
Canadian Human Resource Management includes a complete set of Microsoft PowerPoint® files for each chapter.
(Please contact your McGraw-Hill Ryerson representative to find out how instructors can receive these files.) In the
lecture outline that follows, a reference to the relevant PowerPoint slide for this chapter is placed beside the
corresponding lecture material. The slide number helps you to see your location in the slide show sequence and to skip
slides that you don’t want to show to the class. (To jump ahead or back to a particular slide, just type the slide number
and hit the Enter or Return key.)
Part 3
Attracting Human Resources
LECTURE OUTLINE (with PowerPoint slides)
Meeting Legal
Slide 1
Government Impact
Slide 2
The Charter of Rights and
Slide 3
Governments present many challenges to human resource
departments. Federal and provincial laws regulate the employeeemployer relationship and challenge the methods human resource
departments use. Governments create special regulatory bodies such
as commissions and boards, to enforce compliance with the law and
aid in its interpretation.
• Responsibilities of human resource specialists:
-- Stay abreast of laws, interpretations and rulings
-- Develop and administer programs to ensure compliance
-- Pursue their traditional roles of obtaining, maintaining, and
retaining an optimal workforce
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is contained in the
Constitution Act of 1982 and is probably the most far-reaching legal
challenge for human resource managers. Although the charter
provides fundamental rights to every Canadian it does not include:
• The Right to Bargain Collectively and to Strike
-- Are not fundamental freedoms therefore, strikers can be
legislated back to work and have compulsory arbitration imposed
The Right to Picket
-- Employers can ask for injunctions to restrict picketing activities
The Right to Work
-- Mandatory retirement at the age of 65 is permissible
Human Rights Legislation
Slide 4
Human rights legislation is a family of federal and provincial acts that
have a common objective to provide equal employment opportunities
for members of protected groups. The two layers of employment laws:
Federal law
-- Passed by Parliament and enforced by the federal Human Rights
Commission (applies to employers under federal jurisdiction)
 Provincial law
-- Passed by provincial governments and enforced by provincial
human rights commissions (applies to employers under
provincial jurisdiction)
Chapter 4 Meeting Legal Requirements
Direct vs. Indirect
Slide 5
Human Rights Legislation
Slide 6
• Discrimination is defined as “a showing of partiality or prejudice
in treatment; specific action or policies directed against the
welfare of minority groups” (Source: Webster’s New World
Dictionary of the American Language)
 Discrimination is not defined in the Charter of Rights and
 Direct discrimination on grounds specified in the human rights
legislation is illegal
 Systemic (indirect or unintentional) discrimination
-- Any company policy, practice, or action that is not openly or
intentionally discriminatory, but that has an indirectly
discriminatory impact or effect
-- Examples include minimum height and weight requirements;
internal hiring policies, internal hiring policies, limited
accessibility of buildings or facilities
Prohibited Grounds of
Slide 7
Bona fide occupation qualification (BFOQ)
-- Legal form of discrimination
-- Justified business reason for discriminating against a member
of a protected class
Duty to accommodate
-- Requirement that an employer must accommodate the
employee to the point of “undue hardship”
1. Race and Colour
-- Discrimination that is intentional or unintentional, subtle or very open
2. National or Ethnic Origins
-- It is illegal for human resource decisions to be influenced by the
national or ethnic origins of applicants
3. Religion
-- A person’s religious beliefs and practices should not affect
employment decisions
-- An employer must accommodate an employee’s religious practices
unless those practices present undue hardship
4. Age
-- It is not considered discriminatory to terminate employment because a
person has reaching the normal age of retirement for employees
working in similar positions
Part 3
Attracting Human Resources
5. Sex/Sexual Orientation
-- It is illegal to recruit, hire and promote employees because of their sex
-- It is unlawful to have separate policies for men and women
-- In 2000, Parliament passed legislation treating same-sex partners the
same as legally married and common-law couples for all purposes of
federal law
6. Marital/Family Status
-- Discrimination based on marital status is illegal e.g. denying a woman
a job because her husband is already employed by the same company
-- Nepotism is a form of discrimination based on family status i.e.
having a policy of hiring employees’ children for summer jobs
7. Disability
-- With practical exceptions (e.g. a blind person cannot be a truck driver)
a person should not be denied employment solely for the reason of
being disabled
-- Drug-dependency or alcoholism may be interpreted as disabilities
8. Pardoned convicts
-- The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination against a
convicted person if a pardon has been issued for the offence
Slide 8
Slide 9
Harassment occurs when a member of an organization treats an
employee is a disparate manner because of that person’s sex, race,
religion, age, or other protective classification.
Examples of harassment
-- Verbal abuse or threats
-- Unwelcome remarks, jokes, taunting
-- Practical jokes that cause awkwardness
-- Leering or other gestures
-- Condescension or paternalism that undermines self-respect
Sexual harassment
-- Unsolicited or unwelcome sex-or gender-based conduct that has
adverse employment consequences for the complainant
-- Men may also be subjected to sexual harassment
Reasonable person—it will be assumed that harassing behaviour
has taken place if a “reasonable person” ought to have known that
such behaviour was unwelcome
Responsibility for enforcement of the Canadian Human Rights Act lies
with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC)
Deals with complaints
-- May also act on its own if an infraction is perceived
Chapter 4 Meeting Legal Requirements
Employment Equity
Slide 10
Four Designated Groups:
Aboriginal people
Persons with a disability
Employment Equity Act
Slide 11
Employment Equity
Amendment (1996)
Slide 12
Functional Impact of
Employment Equity
Slide 13
Provincial Human Rights Laws and Human Rights
-- All provinces and two territories (NWT and Yukon) have their
own human rights laws and human rights commissions with
similar discrimination criteria, regulations and procedures
Visible minorities
The Abella Commission on Equality in Employment was appointed to
determine the most effective, efficient, and equitable methods of
promoting employment opportunities for four designated groups
• Employment Equity Act was passed by the federal government in
August 1987
-- Employers with 100 employees or more under federal jurisdiction
are required to develop annual plans setting out goals and
-- As of 1996, employers are responsible for providing “reasonable
accommodation” eg. providing a sign-language interpreter for a
job interview with a deaf applicant, altering dress or grooming
codes to allow Aboriginal people to wear braids etc.
Functional Impact of Employment Equity
• Human resource plans
-- Must reflect the organization’s employment equity goals
Job descriptions
-- Must not contain unneeded requirements
-- Must ensure that all types of applicants are sought
-- Screening devices must be job-relevant and non-discriminatory
Training and development
-- Must be made available for all workers, without discrimination
Performance appraisal
-- Must be free of biases that discriminate
Compensation programs
-- Must be based on skills, performance, and/or seniority
Part 3
Attracting Human Resources
Developed by employers to undo past employment discrimination or to
ensure equal employment opportunity in the future.
Major Steps: Employee
Equity Programs
Slide 14
Major Steps in Employment Equity Programs
• Exhibit commitment
-- Total support from top officials is required e.g. raises, bonuses, and
promotions dependent upon each manager’s compliance
• Appoint a director
-- Some member of the organization should be responsible e.g. vice
president of human resources with an HR specialist responsible for
day-to-day implementation
• Publicize commitment
-- Publicized externally and internally
Survey the workforce
-- To compare the composition of the employer’s workforce with the
composition of the workforce in the labour market
Develop goals and timetables
-- Goals and timetables to eliminate underutilizaton and concentration
should be established
Design specific programs
-- Human resource specialists design remedial, active, and preventive
Establish controls
-- Benchmarks are required to evaluate and reward success
Pay Equity
Slide 15
According to Statistics Canada, in 1999, women earned, on average, 85
cents for every $1 earned by men
• Equal pay for work of equal value
-- Most provinces have laws that make it illegal to pay women less
than men if their jobs are of equal value
-- At the federal level, the Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits
discrimination based on sex, making it illegal to pay women less
than men if their jobs are of equal value
• Recent cases
-- Federal government settled in 1999 at a cost of $3.5 billion
-- Bell Canada case was not settled at the time of this writing but the
final settlement may be $400-500 million
Chapter 4 Meeting Legal Requirements
Reverse Discrimination
Slide 16
This charge usually arises when an employer seeks to hire or promote a
member of a protected group over an equally (or better) qualified
candidate who is not a member of a protected group
• Places Human Resource departments in a difficult position
• Canadian Human Rights Act declares Employment Equity Programs
non-discriminatory if they fulfill the spirit of the law
Principle of Natural
Slide 17
• Minimum standards of fairness and implied obligations for decisionmaking:
-- The right to a fair hearing
-- The right to a bias-free proceeding
-- The right to present the opposing argument
-- The right of legal representation
-- The right to timely notice of a hearing
-- The right to a timely process
Other Legal Challenges
Slide 18
Other relevant issues include:
Canadian Labour Code (1971)
-- Regulates union certification and other aspects (Chapter 14)
-- Provincial equivalents are the Employment (or Labour) Standards Acts
-- An employee or employee can terminate an employment relationship as
long as reasonable notice is given. Immediate dismissal can occur if
the employee is provided severance pay
Hours of work and overtime regulations
-- Canada Labour Code sets the standards
Minimum wages
-- Set by provincial and federal boards (Chapter 9)
Occupational health and safety
-- Regulation of occupational health and safety issues (Chapter 12)
Weekly rest day
-- Canada Labour Code specifies at least one full day of rest during the
week is to be provided (preferably Sunday)
Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS)
-- Regulates the handling and labelling of dangerous material (Chapter 12)
Part 3
Attracting Human Resources
Strategic Implications
Slide 19
Ensure all rules and policies consider legal aspects
-- Human Resources is responsible to ensure that all policies and rules
take legal aspects into account
Employment equity requirements
-- Ensure that all long-range strategic plans follow employment equity
-- Required to do business with the federal government
Good corporate citizen
-- Project external equity to be attractive to job applicants
-- To ensure managers and supervisors are familiar with the laws
Sexual harassment and unjust dismissal
-- Prominent issues
Chapter 4 Meeting Legal Requirements
determination, information about the distribution of
protected classes in the firm's labour market is needed.
1. Suppose during your first job interview after
graduation you are asked, "Why should a company
have an Employment Equity Program?" How would
you respond?
5. What conditions would have to be met before you
could bring suit against an employer who
discriminated against you because of your sex?
Although each person has a different idea of why
employment equity programs are needed, a minimum
answer should mention the need for legal compliance in
a proactive manner and the need to meet the
whatever steps they can to ensure equal employment
opportunity to all people. Other reasons may include the
need to be in compliance with conciliation agreements,
court orders, or rules for government contractors.
There have to be reasonable grounds to believe that an
act of discrimination has occurred. The wrongdoer can
be sued in court only after a conciliation effort by an
appropriate human rights commission (federal or
provincial) has failed and the verdict of a human rights
tribunal has not been accepted.
6. A job applicant for a teller's job tells you that he
has been convicted of cash theft, which he
committed on his previous job, but that he had
received a full pardon. The applicant appears to be
the most qualified, but you are afraid that he might
steal again. Is there a legal way to deny him the job?
2. List the major prohibitions of the Canadian
Human Rights Act.
Figure 4-2, p. 178, lists the prohibitions of the Canadian
Human Rights Act and the prohibitions of all provincial
human rights laws.
No. Since he received a full pardon the conviction is
stricken from his records. There is no need for him to
inform you of his conviction.
3. Since a human resource department is not a legal
department, what role does it play in the area of
equal employment law?
7. Under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the
Supreme Court of Canada has made a number of
important decisions pertaining to union rights. What
impact do these decisions have on management and
The human resource department is responsible for
keeping the organization in compliance with the various
human rights laws. To do this, it usually develops and
monitors a detailed employment equity program. When
charges do arise, it is the human resource department's
responsibility to provide the legal department with the
necessary employee relations records and other
information for the legal department to defend the case.
Employees have the right to organize without
interference by management. However, the right to
bargain collectively and to strike are not fundamental
rights, but subject to regulations by the legislator. Also,
the right to picket is not protected under the Charter.
Employers can ask for injunctions to restrict the number
of pickets or any other reasonable limitations of
picketing activity. Mandatory retirement has been
upheld, as well as the right by a same sex partner to
receive benefit payments.
4. Suppose you are told that your first duty as a
human resource specialist is to construct an
Employment Equity Program. What would you do?
What types of information would you seek?
Figure 4-5, p. 192, outlines the major steps to follow to
develop and implement an employment equity program.
The information needed includes records about the
concentration and underutilization of each protected
class of workers employed by the firm. To make this
Part 3
Attracting Human Resources
8. A job candidate answers "yes" to the question of
whether she a smoker. She is well-qualified, but you
decide not to hire her. Does she have a legal
No. The human rights legislation does not mention
personal habits like smoking among the prohibited
causes for discrimination. It means that an employee
cannot appeal to a human rights commission if he or she
challenges an employer on this ground.
Chapter 4 Meeting Legal Requirements
1. If you are a supervisor in the production
department of a textile mill and an employee
demands to be allowed to miss Fridays for religious
reasons, what would you do? Under what
circumstances would you have to let the employee
have time off? Under what circumstances could you
prohibit it?
3. You are the human resource manager in a
hospital. A nurse informs you, in confidence, that he
has been diagnosed HIV-positive. Are you required
to take action? What legal options do you have in
dealing with this case?
It would be legal to restrict the nurse to non-invasive
treatment of patients. No other action can be taken
against this nurse.
Since most firms have policies on such issues, the
supervisor would be well-advised to check first with the
human resource department. Although the supervisor's
assessment of the situation would be a valuable input to
the human resource department's considerations, policy
considerations might override what the supervisor
thinks is best. If the supervisor and the human resource
department believe the employee's absence would not
materially affect production or if they believe they
could maintain production and accommodate this
employee's religious preferences, the employee's request
should be granted. However, if production would be
affected significantly and no other reasonable
accommodation can be made, the employee could be
denied the demand.
4. Do you think other groups will receive special
legislation to protect them from discrimination?
Which groups might get additional protection?
Probably the most likely group to get additional
protection will be people with disabilities. Gay rights
groups may gain wider protection from discrimination
based on their sexual preferences.
2. You have a job opening for a warehouse helper, a
position that requires sometimes heavy lifting, up to
50 kg. A woman applies for the job and claims that
she is able to do the work. She looks rather petite
and you are afraid that she may hurt herself. When
you deny her the job she threatens to complain to
the Human Rights Commission. What do you do?
Of course, we know that looks are deceiving. The first
step would be to ask for a demonstration of her
capabilities, a kind of performance test. If she performs
well, there is no legal reason to deny her the job. To be
on the safe side, the HR manager can ask for a doctor's
certificate that the applicant it capable of lifting 50 kg
with no negative consequences to her health.
Part 3
Attracting Human Resources
Comments to Instructors
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is for class discussion purposes.
Comments to Instructors
These exercises have been designed for students to demonstrate their computer and Internet skills to research the required
information. Answers will vary.
Chapter 4 Meeting Legal Requirements
Incident Comments
This incident points out the conflicts that can arise between line managers and human resource staff specialists. The issue
is particularly sensitive after an employment equity plan is developed because the human resource department often
strongly believes the first promotion or two can alert others in the organization as to how serious the Employment Equity
Program will be taken.
1. What weight would you give to
(a) Kate's seniority and experience?
(b) Roy's superior training?
(c) the recommendation of the records manager?
(d) the new Employment Equity Program?
Kate's seniority and experience imply that she has the necessary skills to perform the job if promoted. Although Roy's
education is superior, Kate's experience may be as valuable, if not more so. The recommendation of the records manager
should be considered carefully, since whoever is promoted will work for her. Moreover, since the records manager is
responsible for the new supervisor's performance, her wishes should receive a significant weight in the final decision.
However, at some point, the needs of the Employment Equity Program for the hospital should be considered. (In practice,
more Employment Equity Programs are established so that management has the flexibility in any one promotion decision
to select the best-qualified employee and focus on achieving the program’s goals with subsequent promotions.)
2. What are the implications for the Employment Equity Program if Roy gets the job? What are the implications
for employees presently taking job-related courses if Kate gets the promotion?
The most significant implication for the Employment Equity Program is how the employees in the hospital view Roy's
promotion. Some may see his promotion as meaning the best-qualified still get promoted. Others may view his promotion
as confirmation that management of the hospital is going to remain largely a male "club."
If Roy gets the promotion, those who are trying to better themselves through job-related training may feel that training is
a good stepping stone to promotion, and that people in the hospital are not promoted simply on the basis of seniority.
3. What decision would you make if you were the human resource manager?
More important than the decision reached by students is the justification for their decision. One solution some
organizations make is to postpone any decision until several promotions can be announced simultaneously. In this
manner, women and men are promoted, which shows that the firm is serious about promoting women. However, by
promoting some qualified men, it shows the work force that men are not being excluded from consideration because of
the Employment Equity Program.
Part 3
Attracting Human Resources
1. Identify which job classes at Carver exhibit underutilization.
There is an underutilization of females, blacks, and Native peoples in the executive, management, and
salaried/commission jobs.
2. Identify which job classes at Carver exhibit concentration.
In the hourly paid jobs there is a considerable concentration of females. A slight concentration of blacks and Native
peoples exists in this hourly classification.
confrontational, would be to see the HR manager
and explain the situation to her, pointing out the
potential consequences for the company if a
complaint with the Human Rights Commission
were launched. This too should be a successful
approach, assuming that the HR manager perceives
the seriousness of the situation.
Answers to Discussion Questions
1. Is there a case of sexual harassment in this
situation or is it only fun?
Rosetta can make a good case for sexual harassment,
since she obviously feels uncomfortable and cannot get
any help from the supervisor. The Supreme Court
decision in Robicheau vs the Department of Defense
makes it clear that it is the responsibility of the
employer to make sure that the job environment is free
of harassment. If Rosetta would complain to the Human
Rights Commission, there would certainly be an
investigation and, given the circumstances, the
investigator would probably find in favour of her,
compelling management to take action. Since she quit,
she could even sue the company for "constructive
dismissal" for making her work environment
3. What are Al's responsibilities in this
instance? Did he carry them out well? Why or
why not?
Al is clearly responsible for the situation in the
finishing section, but he does not seem to be aware
of his negligence. There is little doubt that an
arbitrator or a judge would find him (actually, the
company) liable for letting things get out of hand
and for not stepping in after Rosetta complained to
If he had taken his responsibility seriously, he
would have admonished or reprimanded the
culprits. He also could have called the work group
together and told them about the legal situation. He
also could have initiated sexual harassment
information sessions, perhaps with a representative
from the Human Rights Commission as the trainer
or speaker (all HRCs have information officers,
who are available free of charge for such requests).
2. If you were Eva, what would — and could — you
do? What are the options? What is the probability
of success of each option?
Since she is a third party and not directly involved in
the case, she would have to rely on Rosetta's testimony.
However, Eva could initiate an investigation by the
Human Rights Commission, with a high probability of
success. She could also complain to the union, who
could file a grievance on behalf of Rosetta, again with a
good chance of succeeding. Another option, less
Chapter 4 Meeting Legal Requirements
Answer to Discussion Question
accommodate the needs of the disabled in their
recruitment campaigns.
1. You are a human resource consultant. What
advice will you give Mary? What measures should
the bank take to increase a) the applications of
aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities, b)
the actual hiring of such candidates, and c) their
survival in the organization?
To encourage hiring of such people, CPIB must
demonstrate commitment to hiring minorities and
publicize their commitment both internally and
externally. Any hiring standards that may discriminate
indirectly against such groups and are not bona fide
occupational requirements should be eliminated.
To encourage aboriginal applicants, CPIB should
advertise job openings in newspapers and media outlets
accessible to aboriginals. CPIB can also send recruits to
high schools and colleges and approach community
leaders for assistance in recruitment. For people with
disabilities, CPIB should emphasize their willingness to
To ensure their survival in the organization, CPIB
should foster a work climate that promotes diversity.
HR and line managers should be rewarded on the basis
of the success of the employment equity program. To
evaluate that success, semi-annual and annual
benchmarks should be given to Mary to ensure that the
objectives are being met.