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Legal Content

Employment Laws

Hiring managers must ensure that recruitment and selection processes are compliant with all employment laws. Employee & Labour Relations in Human Resources Services can provide support to managers during the hiring process by answering questions and consulting with departments about the legality of selection criteria, assessment testing and screening methods.

Information Box Group

Hiring managers must avoid irrelevant and unlawful interview questions designed to solicit information related to grounds protected under human rights legislation, including: a candidate’s age, race, religion, gender, citizenship and nationality, disability, and sexual orientation. Understanding and complying with employment laws when conducting searches will help ensure fair and lawful hiring practices are employed while allowing hiring managers to obtain adequate information on which to base hiring decisions.

The Ontario Human Rights Code and Reasonable Accommodation

The Ontario Human Rights Code states that every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment, without discrimination or harassment because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.

This right extends to all aspects of the hiring process, including the posting, application, screening, interviewing, selection, and offer stages. The hiring decision cannot be influenced either directly, or indirectly, by one of the prohibited grounds.

In addition, the University has a duty to accommodate an individual’s needs, to the point of undue hardship, where those needs are protected by any enumerated ground of the Ontario Human Rights Code. If an individual makes an accommodation request during the hiring process, or if it appears that an accommodation may be required, please contact an Employee & Labour Relations Advisor or Employee Health Services in Human Resources Services for assistance and guidance.

AODA 2005 and Integrated Accessibility Standards

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is a provincial law that recognizes the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ontario and requires the development, implementation and enforcement of standards for accessibility to goods, services, employment, transportation, information and communications, and buildings for persons with disabilities. The Integrated Accessibility Standards was enacted on June 3, 2011, under the AODA, 2005. This new regulation sets out rules that organizations, institutions, businesses and municipalities must follow to support persons with disabilities.

The Integrated Accessibility Standards specifically outlines guidelines for employers to address barriers faced by persons with disabilities in workplace accommodations, performance management, career development and advancement and communications. It also provides guidelines for recruitment, assessment and selection. Employers must provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports in the hiring process. An ‘Accessibility Clause’ must be included in all job postings, flyers or information brochures about recruitment, job fairs and other related recruitment materials.

Be proactive in considering any accommodation needs for interviews and assessment. For example, consider the location of the interview. Is your office accessible to an individual who uses a mobility aid? For more information on accommodating applicants or staff with disabilities, contact your Employee & Labour Relations Advisor, Employee Health Services, or the Employment Equity Specialist.

McMaster’s Policy on Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Harassment: Prevention and Response

McMaster University’s Policy on Discrimination and Harassment: Prevention and Response (the “Policy”) affirms the University’s commitment to fostering a respectful and inclusive organizational culture that is free of discrimination and harassment. The Policy sets out responsibilities and procedural guidelines for the University community to ensure this commitment is upheld.