Friday, March 30, 2012

Canada: Human Rights Commission Warns Against Forced Retirements during Transition Period before Ban on Mandatory Retirement Takes Effect

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is cautioning employers on the rights of aging workers. The section of the Human Rights Law that permitted federally regulated employers to impose mandatory retirement in some circumstances was repealed in December 26, 2011, but a one-year transition period was included before it would take effect. The Commission is now telling employers that that delay is "not a license to force aging workers out the door."

According to David Langtry, Acting Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, "Forcing someone to retire because of their age clearly contradicts Parliament’s intent, even if a defense in law still appears to be available." The Commission does not have evidence that this is taking place, but the Commission believes it is prudent to caution any employer that might be considering such action to think again. Even before it was repealed, he Federal Court had ruled that that section of the law violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that this breach is not a justifiable limitation of an individual’s right to equality.

For commentary on whether employers are focusing on, or thinking of acting on, this delay, see "Legal loophole allows ageism at work to go unpunished" and "Retirement 'loophole' overblown", both in the Vancouver Sun.

Source: Canadian Human Rights Commission News Release (March 26, 2012)

No comments: