Accommodating childcare obligations

Employers should not dismiss requests for accommodation
By Stuart Rudner
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/30/2014

Last year, the federal courts found in favour of Fiona Johnstone, a border services employee who alleged she had been discriminated against on the basis of family status. She sought to have her schedule changed to accommodate daycare availability in the area.

At the time, many speculated this would “open the floodgates” to employees with children being able to dictate their work schedules. In my blog on www.hrreporter.com, I opined it would not be relevant to most employees — it would only be applicable where the employee could establish a very significant need.

The decision was recently addressed by the Federal Court of Appeal, which confirmed the lower court’s ruling but also established a four-step test an individual must meet before discrimination on the basis of family status will be found.