Recent News in Employment Law - Myers Weinberg LLP

RECENT NEWS IN EMPLOYMENT LAW

Vulnerability of Temporary Foreign Workers

In a recent decision from the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, two temporary foreign workers were awarded a total of nearly $220,000 from their past employer.   The employees, who had come to Canada from Mexico to work for a fish processing plant, had been sexually harassed and assaulted for approximately 9 months by their employer.  The employer gained possession of their passports and visas when they first started working for him, and proceeded to threaten to send the two back to Mexico if they refused his sexual advances or complained.  The case highlights the precarious position of temporary foreign workers, and the heightened vulnerability of women involved in the program. 

All workers in Manitoba can seek recourse for sexual harassment under the Manitoba Human Rights Code or the Canadian Human Rights Act.  If you have concerns about harassment at your workplace, our lawyers may be able to help.

 Disproportionately Most Common Job in Manitoba

A 2015 analysis by CBC News reports that in Manitoba, there is a much higher proportion of people working in the job category of “visiting homemakers, housekeepers, and related occupations” than in any other province.  There are 11.3 times more workers performing these jobs in Manitoba.  These jobs include foster parenting, home support work, personal care attendance, and being a personal aide.  The average wage of these workers is $14.32 per hour. 

Given that workers in such positions can be isolated from others in the labour market, some may not know about their workplace rights.  If you or someone you know would like further information on an employee’s rights in Manitoba, contact us.

Target Closure Means Layoff for Nearly 700 Manitobans

With Target closing its doors in Canada, approximately 17,500 Canadian employees will be losing their jobs.  Target will be closing its four stores in Winnipeg, and its one store in Brandon.   Manitoba law requires that these employees receive termination pay, and a trust fund has reportedly been created by the company to ensure that employees are provided what they are owed. 

If you have any questions about termination or severance pay at your workplace, contact one of our lawyers for further information.

Winnipeg and Racism in the Workplace

An article in a national magazine recently referred to Winnipeg as a city that is “deeply divided along ethnic lines”, arguing that the city’s residents endure some of the worst racism in the country, including in the workforce.  The province’s Human Rights Code protects Manitoban employees from discrimination in employment based on ancestry (including colour and perceived race), nationality, and ethnicity.  Employers are also prohibited from engaging in discriminatory hiring practices. 

If you believe you have been discriminated against at work or while applying for a job, contact one of our lawyers for help.

Ontario to Index Minimum Wage to the Cost of Living

Starting on October 1, 2015, Ontario will begin annually indexing its minimum wage to meet the Consumer Price Index, as mandated by the Ontario Employment Standards Act.  At that point four provinces will be indexing their minimum wage to match the cost of living – Yukon, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.  Manitoba’s minimum wage is $10.70, and currently there are no provisions in the Employment Standards Code requiring that the wage be indexed to any indicators.  Nonetheless, Manitoba’s minimum wage has increased incrementally every year since 2001. 

To find out more about your rights as a worker in Manitoba, contact one of our lawyers.

Human Rights in Manitoba

Manitobans are amongst the fiercest advocates for the protection of human rights in Canada, and the province houses many respected academics and activists who advocate for the human rights of marginalized workers.  The Human Rights Code protects Manitoban employees from discrimination in employment based on ancestry (including colour and perceived race), nationality, and ethnicity.  Employers are also prohibited from engaging in discriminatory hiring practices. 

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