Human Rights Tribunal Accepts that Medical Conditions that are not Permanent are Protected under the Human Rights Code

In a decision rendered on March 14, 2016, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario rejected an employer’s request to have a Human Rights Code complaint dismissed on the basis that the employee had failed to establish the existence of a disability.

The adjudicator found that there was no requirement that medical conditions be permanent or persistent in order to qualify as disabilities within the meaning of the Code, specifically declining to follow prior case law from the Human Rights Tribunal which had established these requirements. The adjudicator also rejected the employer’s argument that a disability had to be ongoing at the time of the adverse treatment in order to be considered discrimination. Instead, the adjudicator observed: “The protections under the Code would have little meaning if an employer could terminate an employee because of disability-related absences provided the disability no longer exists at the time of termination.”

The employee was represented by Morgan Rowe of RavenLaw.