This video explains the important role of employment law in Ontario during the hiring process, with a specific focus on the Ontario Human Rights Code. The text below provides a summary of the video.
To read along, click here.
Ontario Employment Law During the Hiring Process
The hiring process is an important part of establishing an employment relationship. The Ontario Human Rights Code applies throughout the entire employment process, including the hiring process—from reading a job posting to signing an employment contract.
Applying for a Job
Employers must base their hiring decisions on criteria and competencies required for a job. Therefore, job postings should outline specific requirements and competencies for the job. These competencies must not reflect areas of prohibited grounds of discrimination as per the Ontario Human Rights Code. For example, a job ad should not list “Canadian experience” as a requirement since this is not specific and may imply discrimination. Instead, the job ad should list specific requirements such as “excellent oral and written communication skills”.
When applying for a position, you should highlight your specific credentials, skills and experience that match the job requirements. It is also important to make sure that every detail of your resume is accurate and up-to-date. Be prepared to provide examples or proof of your skills and credentials. If you are hired and the employer discovers that something on your resume or application is inaccurate, that can be grounds for dismissal.
Interviewing for a Job
As we learned in the previous lesson, employers cannot refuse to hire you based on any of the prohibited grounds of discrimination as per the Ontario Human Rights Code. Sometimes, in an interview setting, discrimination is unintended. For example, an employer may ask if you are married or have children when they really want to know if you can work during evenings and weekends. You do not need to answer a question that you feel is discriminatory in an interview. Instead, focus on the actual requirements of the job in your response. For instance, “I have a very flexible schedule and I am available to work during evenings and weekends.”
On another note, in some specific cases, discrimination may be necessary. For instance, discrimination may be permitted if the disqualification is meaningful and for a legitimate business purpose. For example, a physical disability may be a legitimate reason not to hire someone for a job with certain physical requirements that would be impossible for the person to perform or would put someone in danger.
If you are offered a job, you may be provided with an employment contract to sign. You may also be provided with additional contracts during the course of your employment. For instance, a restricted covenant or non-competition clause which may affect where you can work in the future. Once you sign a contract, you are agreeing to the terms set out in the contract. Therefore, it is very important that you read the contract carefully and understand the contract before signing it. You may wish to ask the employer questions to clarify terms or get legal advice to help you understand the contract.
If an employee is unionized, that means that they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. In these cases, a union, representing a group of employees, negotiates employment terms and conditions with the employer in a contract called a collective bargaining agreement or collective agreement. The rules of a collective agreement are different and cover many aspects of employment for unionized workers, therefore it is important to read it thoroughly and understand it if this applies to you.