HR Risk: Human Rights Damages on the Rise

*This article appeared in the April 2014 issue of HRD Magazine and is written by Lorenzo Lisi.

Human resource professionals are a sophisticated lot. They understand the law, assess risk, and make decisions relative to employee accommodation and business realities. There is always risk of a claim or complaint, but generally (in the past), damage awards where there was a violation of human rights legislation were relatively low.

Recently, however, Canadian courts and tribunals have shown a willingness to increase
damage awards for a breach of human rights legislation, resulting in significant damage awards. Some would say we are moving towards the U.S. model of damages for human rights for claims of discrimination and harassment.

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