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Employers may be required to accommodate your sudden child-caring responsibilities


In the recent case of Miraka v. A.C.D. Wholesale Meats Ltd. the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) established that employers may have a duty to accommodate their employee's last-minute childcare needs and obligations, even if given no advance notice, despite the negative impact on the employer's operations. Further, employees may not be required to seek alternate solutions for their childcare needs in order for this duty to be triggered. As such, this decision demonstrates the HRTO's recognition of the importance of child-caring obligations and providing for a family-friendly workplace. 

In this case, an employee was terminated because he missed 3 consecutive days of work. 2 of these days were due to sudden childcare needs arising out of his wife becoming ill. The employee brought a discrimination suit on the basis of family status and the HRTO agreed that his termination was unlawful.

The HRTO applied the Johnstone test which provides that childcare obligations that fall under the umbrella of family status are substantive legal obligations which engage the parent's legal responsibility to a child, as opposed to those arising out of mere preference. Importantly, in regards to the requirement that the employee seeks reasonable alternative childcare arrangements, the HRTO held that this element likely need not be satisfied in cases of sudden and infrequent needs to take care of one's children. The result is a very employee-friendly policy on the duty to accommodate one's sudden childcare needs.

If you believe that your employer has discriminated against you, do not face your struggle alone. De Bousquet PC has a proven track record of fighting for the rights of employees and we will help you obtain the best results in your case.

Miraka v. A.C.D. Wholesale Meats Ltd., 2016 HRTO 41

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