Court rules in favour of employee who claims she was discriminated against for being a mother
An important court ruling for parents who work outside the home and need child care.
The Federal Court has upheld a Human Rights tribunal decision, which essentially says employers must try to accommodate employees with family obligations.
Robyn Benson, head of the Public Service Alliance of Canada calls it "a huge win for Canadian workers with family obligations." She tells the Star "it is clear now that employers must carefully consider each and every family status accommodation request and accommodate them short of undue hardship."
The case in question began 9 years ago at Pearson International Airport where Fiona Johnstone was working full time for the Canada Border Services Agency. At the time full-time work meant rotating shifts and irregular hours but with a new child she was finding it impossible to make child-care arrangements. Border Services told her the only fixed shifts were part-time. She took it for 3 years but kept the complaint going.
The Federal Court has ruled Fiona Johnstone was "discriminated against on the basis of her family status. Border Services must now pay her the difference between her part-time and full-time pay and benefits for that three years and give her 20-thousand dollars in damages.
According to a spokesperson for Canadian Border Services, their policies were revised in June 2011 to accommodate these types of requests. The agency also has another 30 days to decide whether to appeal the ruling.
(files by D. Agar)