Free Human Rights in Employment Relationship Essay Sample

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal states that this appeal case was heard in Montreal, Quebec by a Review Tribunal chaired Maurice Bernatchez from August 21 to 23, 1990 and on September 17 and 18, the same year and ruling rendered on June, 25 the following year. The matter of a hearing was held before a human rights review tribunal between Lucie Chapldelaine and France Gravel and Canadian Human Rights Commission as appellant and Air Canada as respondent while Canadian Air Lines Pilots Association was the intervenant.  The complainants were seeking more financial claims and to be integrated as Air Canada pilots with full seniority retroactive to the date of the discriminatory act. "The judgment had declared the Complainants' complaints to be substantiated and had allowed a portion of their financial claims, dismissing their claim to be integrated as Air Canada pilots with full seniority retroactive to the date of the discriminatory acts," the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal report states.  Bernatchez- led Tribunal declined to reopen the inquiry terming as untrue the complainants' claims that some exhibits had been produced without their knowledge.  Further, the Review Tribunal also denied the complainants the sum of about $361,316 in France Gravel's case and $345,706 in Lucie Chapdelaine's they were demanding as actual financial losses.  Instead, the Review Tribunal said they deserved $52,418 and $83,054 respectively. With regard to the seniority claims, the complainants appealed the Tribunal's judgment, "mainly because it had concluded that it did not have the jurisdiction to make an order awarding pilot seniority to the Complainants, retroactive to the date of the discriminatory act."  With regard to moral claims, review Tribunal upheld the tribunal's decision to award $ 1,000 for moral damages.

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Second, examine the issues relevant to human resource management and human rights (HRM). Explain the important issues identified in the case as they pertain to HRM. Be sure to keep in mind that others have likely analyzed these cases as well. Consider a search for these other commentaries.

This case brings to the fore a number of human resource management and human rights issues. Firstly, the decision to unfairly lock out potential employees from a recruitment exercise comes to the fore. Air Canada's decision to lock out the complainant yet they had met the required height criteria was unfair and unjust. Secondly, the rationale for which the respondent arrived at the 5'6" height requirement cannot go unquestioned. It discriminates against many potential employees and especially women who are usually shorter than male counterparts. "Considerably more women than men were adversely affected by the Respondent's height policy.  In this context, it may be said that the policy affected women "differently from" men.  According to the Tribunal,  "the effect of the Respondent's height policy, although perhaps "on its face neutral" in its application, operated to deprive 82% of all Canadian women and 11% of all Canadian men between the ages of 20 and 29 from the opportunity for employment as a pilot," The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal states. "The Tribunal concludes therefore that the Complainants have established a prima facie case of discrimination based on sex," the report states. The fact that respondent modified its height requirements standards from indicates that it was no valid requirements for pilots. This case also typifies a poisoned work environment. According to Canadian Human Rights Commission, any form of harassment and discrimination of the employees leads to a poisoned work environment. Such an environment is hostile or intimidating to workers. By indirectly discriminating against women seeking to work as pilots, Air Canada may end up recruiting more male pilots than females. Consequently, this may end up intimidating female employees because they are likely to be few in the place of work.  

It is a type of sexual harassment in which the harasser uses submission to or rejection of sexual requests as a basis for decisions such as hiring, firing, pay, performance evaluations, and promotions. In other cases companies use this tactic to discriminate against employees. However this was not the case in the Air Canada scenario.

Employer retaliation

It is a form of revenge against an employee who took steps seeking to enforce his or her legal rights. The laws prohibiting discrimination in the work place also prohibit retaliatory action being taken against an employee by an employer because the employee has asserted rights or made complaints under those laws. In this case the working relationship between the complainants and the respondent Air Canada would have been negatively affected by the legal battle. It is evident in the decision by France Gravel not to attend the interview in 1982. On the other hand, Lucie Chapdelaine turned up but later withdrew her candidacy. It is evident that Air Canada is guilty of indirect discrimination where the company employed policies that worked against women by setting same height requirements for male and female pilots.   

Outline / explain the lessons / implications of this human rights case for human resource management practices.

 From this case it is clear that human rights violations and discrimination to be precise impact negatively on a company. Specifically, the Canadian Human Rights Act, " prohibits discrimination based on a person's race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or conviction for which a pardon has been granted."Air Canada lost hefty sum of money in moral and financial claims paid to the complainants. At the same time, the protracted legal battle with the complainants affected the company's image negatively giving it a bad reputation. It can be learnt that although potential employees may not learn of human rights abuses by the companies, when known it works against the potential employer was the case of Air Canada. It is advisable that human resource managers ensure that their recruitment policies are not discriminatory. It exposes indirect discrimination. The Canadian Human Rights Commission draws a distinction between direct discrimination and indirect discrimination. "Cases of direct discrimination are those where the discrimination is apparent from the facts. For example, a policy that entitles only men to be employed as security guards would be characterized as direct discrimination because it explicitly excludes women. Indirect discrimination, however, is less apparent at first glance. For example, a policy that requires job applicants to have a driver's licence appears neutral, but this standard may exclude applicants who are ineligible for a licence based on a disability such as epilepsy. Cases such as this one would be characterized as indirect or adverse effect discrimination."

As Meiorin cited in Canadian Human Rights Commission observed, "Employers designing workplace standards owe an obligation to be aware of both the differences between individuals, and differences that characterize groups of individuals. They must build conceptions of equality into workplace standards."

In The Grismer Case: British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) v. British Columbia (Council of Human Rights) cited in Canadian Human Rights Commission "Employers and others governed by human rights legislation are now required in all cases to accommodate the characteristics of affected groups within their standards, rather than maintaining discriminatory standards supplemented by accommodation for those who cannot meet them. Incorporating accommodation into the standard itself ensures that each person is assessed according to her or his own personal abilities, instead of being judged against presumed group characteristics. Such characteristics are frequently based on bias and historical prejudice and cannot form the basis of reasonably necessary standards."

Implications of this human rights case for human resource management practices.

However, the law recognizes that, in certain circumstances, a limitation on individual rights may be reasonable and justifiable. "Discrimination or exclusion may be allowed if an employer can show that a discriminatory standard, policy or rule is a necessary requirement of a job, that is, if it is a bona fide occupational requirement."  "However, the employer must prove that it would be impossible to accommodate the employee without undue hardship,"

As observed in the 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada released the Meiorin decision (British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v. British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union (B.C.G.S.E.U.) 35 C.H.R.R. D/257 (S.C.C.), which provides direction to employers as to whether a particular occupational requirement is reasonable and justifiable and therefore, a bona fide occupational requirement. In its decision, the Supreme Court outlined a new three-part test. The Meiorin test sets out an analysis for determining if an occupational requirement is justified. Once the complainant has shown the standard or requirement is prima facie (at first view) discriminatory, the employer must prove, on a balance of probabilities, the standard: was adopted for a purpose that is rationally connected to job performance, was adopted in an honest and good faith belief that the standard is necessary for the fulfillment of that legitimate purpose and is reasonably necessary to accomplish that legitimate purpose-This requires the employer to demonstrate that it is impossible to accommodate the employee without the employer suffering undue hardship.

Despite the efforts made by various agencies the fight against gender discrimination and human right abuse in work place is far from won. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cited in Grohol says women working 41 to 44 hours per week earn 84.6% of what men working similar hours earn. "It gets worse as women work longer hours - women working more than 60 hours per week earn only 78.3% of what men in the same time category earn," Grohol observes.  This calls for consulted efforts in order to eliminate these discriminations. They impact negatively not only on the company but the production of the country at large. Such discriminations deny qualified candidates opportunities for employment as less qualified persons get the jobs.


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