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Lecture 7

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Law and Business
LAW 525
Gil Lan

Law 525 Lecture 7 Discriminatory business practices • Has multiple meanings under different legislation • Some law will be federal provincial or constitutional, will apply in different ways • Human rights code is one law • Definition from one law (human rights code)- Non-equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, on basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap (grounds differ depending on the legislation • Concerned only with marketplace business consumer discriminatory issues • What constitutes a discriminatory business practice is still being defined Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) • Creates rights for complainants, potential for compensation, orders to stop practice • Falls within authority of section 92 (13) constitution act 1867, it is not constitutional • S. 1. Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap. • S. 3. Every person having legal capacity has a right to contract on equal terms without discrimination because of race, etc. • Has separate sections for housing and employment • S. 8. Every person has a right to claim and enforce his or her rights under this Act. • S. 9. No person shall infringe or do, directly or indirectly, anything that infringes a right under this Part. • Relies on ppl who have been discriminated against and bring action themselves, complaint based, follows contract and tort law as it is a do it yourself • Fundamentally less protective in its actual effect due to no inspectors going around and working on consumers behalf, weak in the way it is implemented • Functions, powers of Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), they will make investigations if a new area is deserving of protection, if an issues arises that has not happened before they will look into a new type of discrimination, they only suggest and recommend • Functions, powers of Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario , only hears complaints brought to their attention, have the ability to order a party to either stop or start doing something • Functions, powers of Human Rights Legal Support Centre, only their to help you if you know you are being discriminated against • Remedies/Enforcement • 2 laws for disability • S. 10. “Disability” includes any degree of physical disability, condition of mental impairment, learning disability, a mental disorder, or injury • “equal” interpreted by OHRC means not only treating people same way, but may also mean treating people differently (e.g, building a ramp for a person ensures equal access to building) • Code provides equal rights/opportunities and freedom from discrimination, it recognizes the dignity and worth of every person and applies to services and contracts • Customers with disabilities also have right to equal treatment and equal access to facilities (e.g., restaurants, shops, hotels, movie theatres) • “Disability” covers visible and non-visible conditions • Harder to cover non visible disability (learning ) • Includes physical, mental and learning disabilities, drug/alcohol dependencies, environmental sensitivities • Addressing barriers: start by conducting accessibility review of facilities, take steps to address them • Duty to accommodate (s. 17) is legal obligation of firms to meet needs of persons with disabilities, to allow equal benefit from and participation in services. Might include alternative reading formats, automatic entry doors, retraining • Under Code, persons with disabilities should be able to access services (s. 1) • OHRC advises that service providers should consider the needs of persons with disabilities up-front (e.g., in design of buildings or services) • If existing structures, etc. create barriers, they should be removed (duty to accommodate: s. 17) • Where impossible to remove barriers without undue hardship, special arrangements should be made (next best solution should be put in place until ideal solution can be phased in) • Duty to accommodate varies with person’s needs. Should be assessed individually • Per Code s. 17 (2), if addressing needs of persons with disability by a firm would cause undue hardship to the firm, this may be a defence. Undue hardship includes: • costs – quantifiable costs that affect the survival of the business, or changes its essential nature. Different calculus possible for small firms compared with larger firms • outside sources of funding – oftentimes public funding/assistance available. This can be factored into “undue hardship” decision • health and safety (H & S) – some H & S requirements can be waived, if person with disability wants to assume risk, & some H & S requirements cannot be waived OHRC DAYS IN SETTLEMENT • Fact situation: • Fire alarm at Days Inn • Deaf hotel guest doesn’t hear it • Initiates complaint to OHRC • Settlement sees Days Inn install strobe light alarms in common areas and four guest rooms • Hotel also developing policies and procedures for deaf persons in emergency situations OHRC SETTLEMENT CINEPLEX • installation of new closed captioning systems in multiple Ontario theatres on a phased in basis • And agreement to install closed captioning at new facil
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