News & Events
Employee who required flexible working hours to care for elderly parent discriminated against on the basis of 'family status'
What is considered a family status obligation worthy of human rights protection and whether employers have to accommodate the family status obligations of their employee are topics that have become the subject of much debate in the law over the past few years. We've had cases regarding the childcare needs of employees and cases regarding an employee who needed to assist his wife (spousal care). I knew it was only a matter of time before we saw a claim like this one, involving an employee with elder care responsibilities.
Devaney v. ZRV Holdings Ltd., 2012 HRTO 1590 (decided August 17, 2012), involved an architect who worked for an architectural firm for approximately 27 years, from 1982 until he was terminated in January 2009. By all accounts, the complainant was very good at what he did and there were no significant issues relating to his employment until the latter part of 2007 when he began to spend less and less time in the office. His absences markedly increased from mid-2008 to the end of that year. This was a problem for his employer as they expected their employees, particularly those like the complainant who were project managers and lead teams of people, to be present for 'face time' in the office during the core work hours of 8:30 to 5pm. In the complainant's case, he was the lead on a significant project for the firm.