Parental duties not just a personal choice, require accommodation: Court

CN’s appeal of discrimination finding dismissed; must pay $35,000 and lost wages to employee with kids who refused assignment
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 08/22/2013

Personal choice or protected ground?

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion over family status as a ground for discrimination. It’s been included in human rights legislation along with things like race, religion and background, but hasn’t really been defined. Increasingly, courts and arbitrators are finding parental responsibilities should be included in the elements of family status that should be protected from discrimination. Though some employers argue having children and living in a specific area with child care limitations is a personal choice, they’re finding they may still have a duty to accommodate when an employee has a conflict between work and their parental duty.