Pregnant pause: discrimination claims on the rise

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The number of pregnancy-related complaints have increased nationwide, according to the latest Human Rights Commission data, showing a worrying trend for employers and HR departments.

“More women are becoming more aware of their rights and the opportunity to seek assistance,” chairman of New Brunswick's Human Rights Commission, Randy Dickinson says. “I think also, to be fair, there are a lot of employers that we get involved with that they just didn't know their obligations and once it was brought to their attention, they quickly rectified the situation.”

Your obligations: 

  • Pregnancy discrimination is considered part of sex discrimination and is not allowed to affect hiring decisions, promotions and pay rises, or termination.
  • Even if a worker has not been employed for a full year, they are entitled to maternity leave. This ranges from 15 weeks in Alberta to 18 weeks in Quebec and Saskatchewan.
  • Both new parents are entitled to up to 37 weeks of parental leave. This can be unpaid, but their position must remain available to them unless there are independent reasons for internal restructuring


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