Posted by Darryl Aarbo — filed in Fundamental Freedoms
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ruled that miscarriage suffered by a Markham, Ontario woman was a “disability”. Following a miscarriage, the woman suffered from a ‘severe and debilitating’ depression. The adjudicator stated that a miscarriage is “not a common ailment, and it is certainly not transitory. It is clear from the applicant’s testimony that she continues to experience emotional distress from the miscarriage even today.” Citing her failure to meet performance targets, her employer terminated her employment.
The missed targets related directly to two sets of absences. The first absences stemmed from an injury due to a fall, and the second to deal with her depression due to both the death of a family member and the emotional effects of the miscarriage. The tribunal found miscarriage to be a disability more for the lingering emotional effects rather than merely the physical effects. The emotional effects may persist far longer than the physical effects following a miscarriage.
This ruling expands the obligation of employers to accommodate, as miscarriage is added to the list of disabilities which employers must accommodate without discrimination.
By Sharni Dhillon, Barrister and Solicitor of Aarbo Fuldauer LLP
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