On September 10, 2019, the federal government announced the appointment of the first ever federal Pay Equity Commissioner. The Pay Equity Commissioner’s role is to provide leadership and direction for the administration and enforcement of the new federal Pay Equity Act (the “Act”). The Act establishes a new pay equity regime which is aimed at reducing gender based pay discrimination by ensuring all federally regulated employers take proactive steps to ensure they are providing equal pay for equal value.read more
Derogatory Facebook Post Violation of Human Rights
In Perez-Moreno v Kulczycki, 2013 OHRTD No 1080, Perez-Moreno, filed an application under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) against that his co-worker, alleging harassment in the workplace on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, citizenship and ethnic origin. Interestingly, Perez-Moreno did not also name his employer, the Cranberry Golf Resort located in Collingwood Ontario, in the action.
Kulczycki posted on Facebook that she had been written up at work for calling Perez-Moreno “a dirty Mexican.” This post occurred after Perez-Moreno, Kulczycki’s manager, had intervened in an argument between her and another individual at work. Kulczycki stated to other employees that “now that Mexican is not going to give me anything.” The OHRT found that the statements of Kulczycki amounted to harassment in the workplace which violated the Code.
Perez-Moreno did not seek monetary damages but asked the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (OHRT) to remove Kulczycki from their shared workplace. Although the OHRT’s remedial authority is quite broad, it did not extend to the order sought in this case. However, given the seriousness of Kulczycki’s conduct, the OHRT ordered her to complete the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s online training entitled “Human Rights 101” within 30 days of this decision. The OHRT also provided a copy of the decision to the employer, a non-party to the action, to consider whether human rights training might be beneficial in the workplace.
It is clear from this decision and the growing jurisprudence in the realm of social media that workplace-related postings on social media are captured by human rights legislation where they amount to harassment in employment. This decision should serve as a reminder to employers, who can be held vicariously liable for the conduct of their employees, to ensure that employees are made aware that their conduct online can result in a human rights complaint in the workplace.