Family Status Discrimination



Call:(416) 921 7997 Ext. 225


Featured by as most frequently recommended employment lawyer.

Highest Ranking – Canadian Legal Expert Directory



Selected as a Leading 500 Lawyer ( out of 150,000 Canadian Lawyers )



Family status and marital status are protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code


Discrimination Or Harassment In The Workplace

Individuals are protected from family status and marital status discrimination in each aspect of the workplace environment and the employment relationship. This includes job applications, recruitment, training, transfers, promotions, dismissals and layoffs. It also covers rate of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, benefits, discipline and performance evaluations, among others. Family status can include childcare and eldercare obligations. Many employees have experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace, despite the fact that employers are required to maintain a safe work environment.

If you have been discriminated against or harassed, it is possible to file an applicant with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario or to include the claims as part of a civil lawsuit such as wrongful dismissal or constructive dismissal. Discrimination on the basis of family status can include childcare obligations or eldercare obligations. Although there has been some discrepancy among different tribunals across Canada, the courts in Ontario have ruled that the concept of family status and marital status includes not only the general status of having or not having a spouse or a family, but also the identity of a particular spouse. It may be discrimination if your employment is terminated because of a disagreement between your employer and your spouse, or if you are terminated because your spouse was terminated. See Monk v. C.D.E. Holdings Ltd. (1983), 4 C.H.R.R. D/1381 and Gipaya v. Anton’s Pasta Ltd. (1996), 27 C.H.r.R. D/326.

​Ontario Human Rights Code

With respect to childcare obligations, the test to determine if there is discrimination is whether an employment rule interferes with an employee’s ability to fulfil his or her substantial parental obligations in any realistic way. For example, a policy that required employees to accept reduced hours and fixed shifts if their childcare responsibilities conflicted with a rotating shift schedule was found to be discriminatory. See Johnstone v. Canada (Border Services Agency) 2013 FC 113. With respect to eldercare obligations, it was discriminatory when an employer’s attendance requirements had an adverse impact on the employee, who had to miss work to take care of their mother as the mother’s primary caregiver.

​If an employee is denied some benefit or right at work because of their eldercare obligations, or family care obligations generally, they may have been discriminated against contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code. Be sure to keep detailed records of any incidents of discrimination or harassment at work. Please note that the above information does not constitute legal advice. It is general information about the law. If you require legal advice with an employment issue, please contact the experts at Ball Professional Corporation.



Featured Publications

Canadian Employment Law

Mr. Ball is author of the authoritative and definitive text Canadian Employment Law - published by Canada Law Book (a division of Thomson Reuters). The text is used and cited by lawyers, law schools and judges across Canada.

To order Mr. Ball's Canadian Employment Law please visit the Carswell Store by clicking here or on the button below.


Google Reviews

Steven Wang
Steven Wang
19:58 18 Mar 19
Stacey was the third lawyer that I had hired to represent me, after the previous two didn't achieve anything for me. Stacey is very different. He is not only the author of Canadian Employment Law with profound knowledge and experience, he is also the most efficient one, direct to the point. He is the toughest one, well known by HR people, and he takes care of his client all by himself. There is no junior lawyers under him. That's the big difference comparing with other big employment law firms on Google, where I could only meet with a young lawyer with little experience. After he spoke with me for 45 minutes, he found the best way to break through. He didn't need to ask for a lot of document and he didn't bill hours to review them. His fee structure is aligned with his client's best interest. My problem was solved very quickly with a great result, and I only have to meet with him twice and exchange some emails. He's not just a tough fighter and negotiator, he got great strategy to make a deal. He answered my emails during the holidays. He comes in the office very early, and we had a conference call at 7am in the morning when we need to make a quick decision. To me, he is the best employment lawyer, a patient teacher and a friend. I strongly recommend him to those who need help.
Aiden Nix
Aiden Nix
01:13 06 Apr 19
Stacey was super helpful and increased my settlement a significant amount. He is very busy so you have to chase him down a bit but that is minor issue compared to all of the positives. Overall if you need a good labour lawyer then talk to him right away. He is THE lawyer to go to in Ontario!Thanks Stacey!
Sergei R
Sergei R
05:01 06 Dec 18
My experience with Stacey R. Ball was very positive. His fees are reasonable and value I received for the money was outstanding. Luckily, after his advice my situation was resolved almost amicably. You will not believe how reasonable some people can become after they start suspecting you have a good lawyer. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you suspect you might need a lawyer in the future because of some developing situation at work, I highly recommend you wait no more and talk to Stacey.
Danny T
Danny T
18:34 26 Feb 19
Stacey has recently represented me. He’s patient, but to the point which I can appreciate. No fluff. He worked quickly and even responded during his holidays. Definitely highly recommended.
Alexa Arsenault
Alexa Arsenault
19:36 01 Nov 18
If I could give Stacey Ball 30 stars I would! Stacey was right on the “ball” when it came to my legal matter. I called his office and his efficient staff scheduled me for an appointment the next day. He’s a great listener and comes to the point quickly, confidently, and succinctly. He explained best and worst case scenarios and dealt with my matter without delay. He was successful in concluding my legal matter to my satisfaction and met all my expectations. I highly recommend Stacey for all your legal matters.Alexa
See All Reviews