Language selector


Page controls

Page content

Combining paid work with motherhood and accommodating the childbearing needs of working women are ever-increasing imperatives. That those who bear children and benefit society as a whole thereby should not be economically or socially disadvantaged seems to bespeak the obvious.
-Chief Justice Dickson in Brooks v. Canada Safeway Limited[67]

Employment and family often entail competing responsibilities: spouses or partners fall sick, daycare arrangements fall through, an aging parent needs help in making a transition to assisted living arrangements. For many workers, daily life involves a complicated juggling act between the demands, deadlines and responsibilities of the workplace, and the needs of their families.

Many commentators have noted an increasingly problematic relationship between work and family life as both average work hours[68] and the number of dual-income and sole support families have increased at the same time. Fewer families have a member who can attend full-time to family responsibilities. The aging of the population, with the attendant increase in elder care needs, also plays into this trend. More and more families appear to be struggling to manage the competing demands of the workplace and caregiving responsibilities. For example, according to a Conference Board of Canada study, in 1999, just over 46 percent of Canadian workers felt moderate to high levels of stress in balancing work and life responsibilities, up from approximately 27 percent in 1989.[69]

This juggling act has a price for both employees and employers. Recent estimates suggest that work and family conflicts cost employers at least $2.7 billion per year because of family-related absences from work. Stressed employees took an average of 13.2 days off to deal with family-related problems in comparison to the 5.9 days typical of those who report low levels of work and family conflict. Health impacts related to work/life stress cost the Canadian health care system approximately $425.8 billion per year. [70] According to another study, as a result of work/life conflict, 14 percent of working Canadians have left a job; 32 percent have refused a promotion or decided not to apply for one; and 24 percent have turned down a transfer or decided not to apply for one.[71]

The burden of this juggling act falls disproportionately on women, since women, in addition to their work in the paid labour force, continue to assume the primary responsibility for providing care for children and aging parents.[72] Studies have shown that women are almost twice as likely as men to report high levels of time stress, and have higher rates of absenteeism at work.[73]

On the other hand, the caregiving responsibilities of fathers or same-sex couples may not be recognized because of stereotypes and assumptions about appropriate family structures, and so these employees may have difficulty in having their Code-related needs recognized and appropriately dealt with by their employers. For example, it may be assumed that fathers will not or should not take parental leave, and those that do may be perceived as not being serious about their careers.

The issue has been widely recognized, and governments have taken some steps to assist employees in balancing their work and family lives. Parental leave entitlements have recently been expanded under both employment standards and employment insurance legislation. Since 2000, Ontario’s Employment Standards Act requires employers of over 50 employees to provide up to 10 days of unpaid leave for employees to attend to the death, illness, injury, medical emergency or other urgent matter related to a broad spectrum of family members, including spouses[74], children (including step-children and foster children), parents (again including step-parents and foster parents), grandparents, siblings, or spouses of their children, and any other relatives who are dependent on them for care and assistance. [75] Recently passed amendments to the Employment Standards Act entitle employees to up to eight weeks of leave to provide care or support to seriously ill family members. Family members include spouses, parents, and children, including step and foster relationships. [76] The federal government has recently amended the Employment Insurance Act to provide up to six weeks of benefits for persons who are not working because they are caring for spouses, partners, children or parents.[77]

What more could or should be done by government, employers or others to assist employees to balance their work and family responsibilities?

Are there other aspects or effects of the conflict between work and family that you would like to tell us about?

Universal Design

Current workplace policies, procedures and programs do not always take into account the demographic changes discussed earlier, and may therefore have the effect of disadvantaging individuals on the basis of family status. As a common example, while most employers offer a certain amount of paid sick days, it is less common to find employer policies that recognize that employees may also need to take time off when their children are sick and need care. Workplace programs, policies, and assumptions may therefore need to be re-examined.

The Supreme Court of Canada has made it clear that employers, when designing their workplace standards, programs and policies, must be aware of the differences between individuals and between groups of individuals, and must build in conceptions of equality. The standards governing the workplace, including those for recruitment, training, promotional opportunities and the way in which work is performed, should be designed to reflect all members of society, in so far as this is reasonably possible. To the extent that a standard unnecessarily fails to reflect the differences among individuals, it may run afoul of human rights protections, and may need to be replaced, unless it would cause undue hardship[78] to do so.[79] Applying this to the ground of family status, it is not acceptable to structure systems in a way that assumes that only one family structure is valid or normal, and then to try to accommodate those who do not fit this assumption. Rather, the diversity of today’s families should be reflected when workplace policies and programs are designed, so that barriers are not created. Existing policies and programs should be actively reviewed to ensure that barriers based on family status are removed.

This includes all aspects of the workplace, whether formal or informal. For example, informal policies and assumptions that base promotion opportunities on after-hours socializing and networking may have the effect of excluding persons with caregiving responsibilities. Formal policies regarding attendance at work-related events outside of standard work hours may have a similar effect.

In recent years, many employers have been implementing “family-friendly” or “flexible workplace” policies. These include policies and programs related to, for example, flexible hours, telecommuting, job-sharing, part-time work, leaves of absence, and cafeteria-style benefits.[80] In some cases, these programs have been implemented to address specific equity issues. In other cases, the programs are based on the principle that flexibility benefits all employees.[81]

These programs are laudable attempts to make the workplace more flexible and accommodating, and the Commission believes that such programs are a positive example of how employers can promote the equality of persons with caregiving responsibilities, and move towards compliance with the requirements of the Code, as well as improve employee retention, performance, and morale.

Despite the acknowledged benefits of these programs, some concerns have been noted with regards to their operation. Depending on how such programs are designed, accessing them may have long- term consequences in terms of pensions and benefits. As well, some studies have shown that workers may be reluctant to take advantage of these “family-friendly” programs because they believe that their use will trigger negative perceptions about their commitments to their jobs and their careers, and that there would be long-term repercussions for their careers.[82] This may be one explanation as to why the uptake for such programs is sometimes surprisingly low. This suggests that these programs will only be effective where care is taken to avoid negative repercussions for using them, and where the workplace culture is positive and supportive.

As well, some commentators have noted that flexible workplace programs are most often offered in the higher echelons of employment – that is, to those in the most prestigious and highest-paid positions. Those in low-paying, entry-level positions more rarely have access, although arguably their need for such flexibility may be even greater. As well, some American studies have shown that persons from racialized communities are less likely to benefit from “family-friendly” workplace policies.[83]

What programs or policies should employers put in place to ensure that their workplaces do not disadvantage individuals on the basis of family status?

Duty to Accommodate

Section 11 of the Code requires that, where a requirement, qualification or factor results in the exclusion, restriction or preference of a group of persons identified by a prohibited ground, this requirement will violate the Code unless it can be shown that it is reasonable and bona fide in the circumstances in that the needs of the group cannot be accommodated without undue hardship. Where workplace policies and procedures such as, for example, rigid working hours, have a negative effect on persons identified by their family status, the employer would be required to show that it had attempted to accommodate, to the point of undue hardship. As discussed above, conceptions of equality must be built into workplace standards. Accommodation must first examine whether the rule itself can be modified to become more inclusive. Where this is impossible without undue hardship, the employer should consider accommodation of individual needs.

Accommodation may involve short-term or one-off arrangements to deal with temporary needs (such as helping an aging parent to make the transition into assisted living), emergencies (such as when a spouse, partner, parent or child becomes gravely ill), or recurring family responsibilities (such as attending parent-teacher interviews). It may also involve more long-term accommodations, such as flexible or reduced hours, scheduling changes, or leaves.

The Commission’s policies have recognized, and the caselaw has supported, the duty of employers to accommodate some types of needs related to the family, such as pregnancy and breastfeeding. The Commission’s Policy on Discrimination Because of Pregnancy and Breastfeeding emphasizes the right of women to make choices in the best interests of their children, and not to be disadvantaged as a result. Employment accommodations for breastfeeding may include scheduling changes, the provision of breaks, the creation of a supportive environment, and, in some special cases, permitting a leave of absence. Accommodations should be provided in a way that most nominally affects the employee’s rights.[84]

There is, however, very little case law dealing with the duty to accommodate needs related to family status per se. In Brown v. M.N.R., Customs and Excise,[85] the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that employers have a duty to accommodate needs related to family status. The work of the complainant involved rotating shifts. After her child was born, the complainant asked to work straight day shifts because she could not find a babysitter to look after her child overnight, and her husband, a police officer, also worked rotating shifts. The employer denied her request, and the complainant instead went on an unpaid care and nurturing leave. The Tribunal ruled that the employer had a duty to accommodate the needs of the complainant related to her family status. The Tribunal found that the complainant could have been accommodated, but that the employer did not pursue accommodation possibilities. The Tribunal stated:

We can therefore understand the obvious dilemma facing the modern family wherein the present socio-economic trends find both parents in the work environment, often with different rules and requirements. More often than not, we find the natural nurturing demands upon the female parent place her invariably in the position wherein she is required to strike this fine balance between family needs and employment requirements.

It is this Tribunal’s conclusion that the purposive interpretation to be affixed to s. 2 of the CHRA is a clear recognition within the context of “family status” of a parent’s right and duty to strike that balance coupled with a clear duty on the part of an employer to facilitate and accommodate that balance within the criteria set out in the Alberta Dairy Pool case ....To consider any lesser approach to the problems facing the modern family within the employment environment is to render meaningless the concept of “family status” as a ground of discrimination.

An Ontario Human Rights Board of Inquiry took a very different approach to the ground of family status in Wight v. Ontario (No. 2).[86] In this case, the complainant was expected to return from maternity leave in July, but informed her supervisor that she was unable to secure adequate daycare until October, as she was attempting to find a licensed daycare provider for her child and no such space was available prior to that time. When she did not return to work, her employment was terminated, as she was held to have abandoned her position. The Board of Inquiry ruled that the complainant was not discriminated against on the basis of family status; rather she was denied a final extension of her maternity leave because she refused to return to work until she satisfied her own personal preference for daycare. The Tribunal ruled that:

[A]n employer is not unreasonable for requiring an employee on a leave of absence to return to work when the leave expires. There is a reasonable expectation that an employee on a leave of absence will take whatever steps are necessary to do so. In this case, the complainant steadfastly refused to consider the respondent’s rights in this regard .... This was not a case of someone who, despite her best efforts, could not find daycare for her child and had to make a choice between her child or her job. The complainant had decided that the only acceptable daycare was provided through a regulated daycare facility. She was unwilling to accept less. While that was her choice, it does not follow that the right to be accommodated arises simply on the basis of what was best for her child.

A very recent decision by the British Columbia Court of Appeal takes a different approach from either of these.[87] This was an appeal from the decision of an arbitrator. The employee in this case is married with four children, the youngest of whom has very severe behavioural problems requiring specific parental and professional attention. She worked for the respondent on a part-time basis, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Because of program changes, the respondent decided to change her shift to 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The grievor was concerned because she needed to attend to her son after school hours. A medical report stated that her son was best served by having his mother care for him after school, noting that he had a major psychiatric disorder, and that his mother’s after-school care was “extraordinarily important” to his prognosis. This information was provided to the employer; however, it did not adjust the grievor’s schedule. The grievor attempted to work the schedule, but went off work after a few weeks, and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The arbitrator concluded that the ground of family status was not intended to capture such “varying circumstances of employment and varying degrees of difficulty in child care arrangements”. He explicitly declined to follow the Tribunal decision in Brown, and rejected the claim of the grievor.

The Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the arbitrator. It considered the decisions noted above, and stated that it found previous decisions on family status unhelpful, that their definitions of the scope of family status were over broad, and they conflated the issues of prima facie discrimination[88] and accommodation. The Court went on to state as follows:

[The parameters of the concept of family status] cannot be an open-ended concept as urged by the appellant, for that would have the potential to cause disruption and great mischief in the workplace; nor, in the context of the present case, can it be limited to “the status of being a parent per se” as found by the arbitrator ... for that would not address serious negative impacts that some decisions of employers might have on the parental and other family obligations of all, some or one of the employees affected by such decisions.

If the term “family status” is not elusive of definition, the definition lies somewhere between the two extremes urged by the parties. Whether particular conduct does or does not amount to prima facie discrimination on the basis of family status will depend on the circumstances of each case. In the usual case where there is no bad faith on the part of the employer and no governing provision in the applicable collective agreement or employment contract, it seems to me that a prima facie case of discrimination is made out when a change in a term or condition of employment imposed by an employer results in a serious interference with a substantial parental or other family duty or obligation of the employee. I think that in the vast majority of situations in which there is a conflict between a work requirement and a family obligation it would be difficult to make out a prima facie case.

In this case, given the major psychiatric disorder suffered by the grievor’s son, and the serious interference with the grievor’s substantial parental obligations that resulted from the change in working hours, the arbitrator erred in not finding a prima facie case of discrimination on the basis of family status.

The caselaw on this issue is still at a very early stage of development, and does not appear to have yet integrated the kinds of approaches being applied to other human rights grounds. However, the trend to this point appears to be to recognize that the ground of family status is intended to include, to some extent, consideration of the caregiving needs of parents. Further, the majority of the cases recognize that there is, in some circumstances, a duty on an employer to accommodate the caregiving needs of employees. The duty appears to clearly exist where there is a significant clash between employment and familial responsibilities. However, the scope of that duty has not been fully fleshed out. There are, for example, no cases at all related to elder care. The caselaw to this point appears to have given little consideration to systemic issues related to gender and family status, and to the duty to design standards inclusively, as enunciated by the Supreme Court of Canada in Meiorin. [89]

Nor has any consideration been given to the nature of appropriate accommodation for needs related to family status, and the balance of responsibilities between the parties to accommodation. For example, is an employer required to provide paid or unpaid time off for a parent who needs to tend to the medical needs of a child or parent? Should employees who are required to take time off work to care for a sick parent or child be subject to attendance monitoring programs? Is an employer required to schedule shifts that are compatible with child care arrangements? May an employee refuse to travel where child care arrangements cannot be made, or travel would conflict with parental obligations? Is an employer required to permit full-time employees with children to adopt part-time or modified work schedules or take leaves of absence, and if so, under what circumstances? Given the significant impact of these issues on both employees and employees, these questions require careful consideration.

Recognizing the necessity to balance the needs of both employers and employees, what is the extent of an employer’s duty to accommodate needs related to an employee’s family status? What are the respective responsibilities of the employer and the employee? What types of accommodation are appropriate in this context?

Systemic Barriers

Although the literature has identified a number of systemic barriers related to work and family, there has been little examination of such issues in human rights caselaw or policy.

For example, persons with significant caregiving responsibilities are more likely to seek part-time, casual or contract work. The vast majority of part-time workers are women. Statistics Canada figures for 2004 indicate that 27.5 percent of all part-time workers aged 25-44 have chosen part-time work in order to care for children. When this figure is broken down by sex, it reveals that 33.7 percent of female part-time workers aged 25-44 have chosen this as a means of balancing work and child care responsibilities; this is true for only 3.2 percent of men in the same age group. Only 4.7 percent of men in this age group are working part-time; while 20.6 percent of women in this age group are working part-time. [90] Over the past 30 years, women have consistently represented 70 percent of the part-time workforce.

This type of non-standard work has its costs, however. Research indicates that those who work part-time may be viewed as less committed, and therefore have lesser access to promotional opportunities. Part-timers are unlikely to have senior or supervisory positions. There is also an association between part-time work and lower wages. Access to pension and health-related benefits is very low for part-time workers. [91] The lack of opportunities and benefits for part-time workers may have an adverse impact on employees with family responsibilities. As well, where an employee chooses a part-time arrangement in order to balance work and family responsibilities, he or she may find that the workload has not been reduced: it is expected that the same amount of work will be completed in fewer hours, but for less pay and recognition.

Some workplace cultures require employees to put in extensive ‘face time’, regardless of productivity or achievements: in workplaces where long working hours are valued in and of themselves, persons with caregiving responsibilities will have difficulty in having their achievements recognized.[92] In Woiden v. Dan Lynn[93], the employer insisted that the complainant, a single mother of three young children, take on extensive extended hours, including evenings and weekends. When the complainant indicated that this would be difficult for her because of her child care obligations, and suggested a modified schedule, the employer refused to consider it, and made it clear that she would be dismissed if she did not work the new hours. The Tribunal ruled that the complainant had been discriminated against on the basis of her family status.

Similarly, in workplaces where training, development or promotional opportunities are allocated informally, and are influenced by after-hours socializing, individuals with significant caregiving opportunities may find themselves at a disadvantage.

As well, individuals who take significant time away from the paid work force to attend to caregiving responsibilities may find that their education, skills and work experience are accorded little weight when they seek to rejoin the paid work force, and that their career mobility and financial security have suffered long-term consequences.

Studies of various professions have indicated that rigid schedules for “making partner” or achieving tenure, for example, may have a negative impact on women who are at the peak of their child-bearing and child-rearing responsibilities at the same time that they are expected to be providing a full focus on their careers.[94] The Law Society of Upper Canada has noted the following negative consequences for women in the legal profession who have children: loss of income, limitations in advancement, delay in promotion/admission to partnership, segregation into less remunerative and ‘low profile’ areas of practice, difficulty in obtaining access to higher profile files, unwillingness on the part of employers and colleagues to accommodate the demands of family responsibilities, and questioning and testing of commitment to work. [95]

Are there other systemic issues in employment related to family status? How can these barriers be addressed?

Negative Attitudes and Stereotypes

While we often think of work and family as very separate spheres, every employee is also a member of a family, and the two aspects of life inevitably overlap. Employees commonly display pictures of their spouses, partners, children and other family members on their desks, bring their partners or spouses to work-related social events, and discuss their families with their co-workers over lunches and coffee breaks. Some sharing of one’s personal life is a normal part of a supportive work environment.

Negative attitudes and stereotypes regarding family status can therefore have a significant impact on an employee’s experience of his or her workplace. The employee who finds that her status as a divorced single parent has been the subject of negative office gossip may feel no longer truly part of the workplace. In the case of Moffat v. Kinark Child and Family Services,[96] a gay man who was a foster parent to an adolescent boy was falsely rumoured to be abusing the child, was harassed because of his sexual orientation, and was falsely accused of misconduct to the Children’s Aid Society. The Board found that Moffat had been discriminated against in a number of ways, including on the basis of his family status.

As well, individuals may find that they are subtly excluded from the office social environment because of their family status. For example, many workplaces formally or informally celebrate weddings, births, or other important events in the lives of employees. However, the milestone events of persons who do not belong to ‘typical’ families may not be recognized in the same way – for example, the arrival of an adopted child may not be celebrated in the same way as the milestone events of other families.

Negative attitudes and stereotypes can also have an impact on access to workplace opportunities. A number of studies have suggested that mothers are perceived to be less committed and less competent in the workplace than either childless persons of either sex, or than fathers. [97] Employers may assume, for example, that women with small children are no longer dedicated to their careers[98] or are unable to work longer hours, do overtime or take on complex or challenging projects, and unthinkingly place them on the “mommy track”. [99] Or employers may feel that women should give primacy to her caregiving responsibilities, and try to enforce such roles. Negative assumptions and stereotypes may also affect fathers: for example, an employer may assume that a father with children will be unwilling to undertake extensive travel as part of his job.

Women in the paid workforce frequently report perceptions of this type of stereotyping. Many women feel that, once they have children, they are no longer taken seriously at work, and that their opportunities for career advancement are limited by perceptions about their family status. Women report taking extensive steps to avoid such bias. For example, studies have shown that there may be a stigma associated with accessing “family-friendly” workplace policies, and that women are therefore hesitant to make use of programs and policies that are designed to assist those in their circumstances.[100] Women, and to a lesser extent men, have reported having fewer or no children because of the perceived impact on their careers, delaying having children, timing births around workplace obligations, minimizing maternity or parental leaves, avoiding accessing “family-friendly” policies, and missing important family events so as not to appear uncommitted to their jobs. [101]

Are there other negative attitudes and stereotypes based on family status? How do these attitudes and stereotypes affect employees?

Benefit Plans

Many employers provide a variety of benefits for their employees, including:

  • Leaves of absence, such as bereavement, emergency, maternal and parental leave. Minimum standards for such leaves are set out under the Employment Standards Act 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41
  • Medical and dental benefits
  • Group life and disability insurance
  • Pension benefits, including survivor benefits.

Section 25(2) of the Code provides that benefit and pension plans that make distinctions based on family status do not discriminate so long as they are in compliance with the Employment Standards Act. Regulation 286/01 under the Employment Standards Act does not create any exceptions for distinctions based on family status.

As noted above, the limitations on or lack of access to benefits and pensions for part-time employees raise systemic issues connected to family status, in that women, especially those with caregiving responsibilities, are more likely to be in part-time employment, and are therefore less likely to have access to benefits. Arguably, the lack of access to benefits for part-time employees may have an adverse impact on the basis of family status.

An individual’s family status is a personal characteristic that may not be known to others. An employer who legitimately requires and collects personal information that directly or indirectly identifies a person’s status must ensure the maximum degree of privacy and confidentiality of the information. This includes information that enables an employee to claim or register for benefits.

Are you aware of instances in which pension or benefit plans have a discriminatory effect based on family status? Are there instances where differences in access to pensions and benefits are based on bona fide requirements? Are there steps that could be taken to make pension and benefit plans more inclusive of persons with caregiving responsibilities?

[67] [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1219
[68] According to L. Duxbury and C. Higgins in Workplace Balance in the New Millenium (Canadian Policy Research Network, 2001) the average employee surveyed spent 42 hours a week in paid employment in 1991, and 45 hours in 2001. A 2001 EKOS study found that 43 percent of workers surveyed indicated that their workload had increased between 1999 and 2001 (Survey on Canadians’ Attitudes Regarding Their Workload (Ottawa: 2001)).
[69] Conference Board of Canada, Solutions for the Stressed Out Worker (August 1999).
[70] L. Duxbury et al., An Examination of the Implications and Costs of Work-Life Conflict in Canada (Ottawa: Health Canada, June 1999).
[71] Conference Board of Canada, Survey of Canadian Workers on Work/Life Balance (1999).
[72] See L. Duxbury and C. Higgins, 2001 National Work-Life Conflict Study: Report One (Ottawa: Health Canada, March 2002).
[73] Supra, note 69: 24 percent of women reported a lot of work/life stress, while only 10 percent of men did so.
[74] Bill 171, S.O. 2005, c. 5, amended the definition of “spouse” in the Employment Standards Act so as to include same-sex couples.
[75] Employment Standards Act, S.O. 2000, c. 41, s. 50
[76] Employment Standards Amendment Act (Family Medical Leave) 2004 S.0. 2004, c. 15.
[77] Employment Insurance Act, S.C. 1996, c. 23 ss. 12, 23
[78] This Paper contains at its end a Glossary of legal terms related to human rights, such as “undue hardship”.
[79] British Columbia (Public Service Employees Relations Commission) v. BCGSEU [1999] 3 S.C.R. 3, at para 68.
[80] Cafeteria-style benefit plans allow employees to choose from a selection of available benefits, up to a maximum value or number of choices defined by the plan. This permits employees to select those benefits that are of greatest value to them.
[81] Some of these policies are reviewed in Derrick Comfort et. al, Part-time Work and Family Friendly Practices in Canadian Workplaces (Ottawa: Statistics Canada and Human Resources Development Canada, 2003).
[82] See, for example, Kelly Ward and Lisa Wolf-Wendel, “Fear Factor: How Safe is it to Make Time for Family?” Academe, (November-December 2004), and Schwartz, supra, note 65.
[83] Supra, note 65
[84] Supra, note 4.
[85] (1993), 19 C.H.R.R. D/39
[86] (1998), 33 C.H.R.R. D/191; leave to appeal denied (June 26, 2000) [2000] O.J. No 2924 (Ont. Sup. Ct.)
[87] Health Sciences Association of British Columbia v. Campbell River and North Island Transition Society 2004 BCCA 260, May 10, 2004
[88] This Paper contains at its end a Glossary of legal terms related to human rights, such as prima facie discrimination.
[89] Supra, note 79.
[90] Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table 282-0014 and 282-0001.
[91] Supra, note 81
[92] See for example, the report on the Australian finance industry prepared for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Leonie V. Still, Glass Ceilings and Sticky Floors: Barriers to the Careers of Women in the Australian Finance Industry, (1997); and Sharon L. Harlan and Catherine Waite Berheide, Barriers to Workplace Advancement Experienced by Women in Low-Paying Occupations (Centre for Women in Government, State University at Albany, January 1994) at 34.
[93] (2002), 43 C.H.R.R. D/296 (C.H.R.T.0
[94] See for example, Fiona M. Kay, Transitions and Turning Points, Women’s Careers in the Legal Profession, A Report to the Law Society of Upper Canada (September 2004), and Joan C. Williams, “Hitting the Maternal Wall” Academe (November-December 2004).
[95] Law Society of Upper Canada, Guide to Developing a Policy Regarding Flexible Work Arrangements, March 2003.
[96] (1998), 35 C.H.R.R. D/205 (Ont. Bd. of Inq.)
[97] See Kathleen Fuegen et al., “Mothers and Fathers in the Workplace: How Gender and Parental Status Influence Judgments of Job-Related Competence” Journal of Social Issues, Volume 60, Issue 4, page 737, December 2004. Subjects were asked to evaluate job applicants who were either male or female and either single, or married with two children. Results showed that parents were judged less competent and committed than non-parents. Interestingly, it appeared that fathers were held to lower standards than either mothers or childless men. Another study indicated that when female employees become mothers they are perceived as less competent, although the same effect does not occur when men become parents. People also reported less interest in hiring, promoting and educating mothers, relative to fathers or childless employees. (Cuddy et al. “When Professionals Become Mothers, Warmth Doesn’t Cut the Ice”, Journal of Social Issues, Volume 60, Issue 4, Page 701, December 2004).
[98] For example, see Broere v. W.P. London and Associates Ltd.(1987), 8 C.H.R.R. D/4189 (Ont. Bd. of Inq.)
[99] For a discussion of this phenomenon in an academic context, see Joan C. Williams, “Hitting the Maternal Wall” , supra, note 94.
[100] See Ward and Wolf-Wendel, supra, note 82 and Schwartz, supra, note 65
[101] Mary Dee Wenniger, “Most Faculty Caregivers Strategize to Avoid Discrimination”, Women in Higher Education (June 2003).


Book Prev / Next Navigation