Too Young and Too Old: Age Discrimination in Ontario

Jun 18, 2014

Age discrimination can occur at the beginning of the employment relationship or the end.

The Ontario Human Rights Code (“Code”) protects employees from discrimination in employment on the basis of age, meaning 18 years or older. This includes during the interview process and well as at the time of termination.

A prospective employer should not ask you questions about your age. If a prospective employer makes comments which suggest they are looking for a candidate of a different age, they could be violating the Code. Comments like this could include wanting a more mature employee or someone with less experience.

In this 2013 case, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that the applicant had experienced age discrimination. The applicant applied for a legal writer position and was denied the position, despite being qualified, because the employer stated it was seeking a more junior candidate with lower salary expectation.

Similarly, the human rights Board of Inquiry foundage discrimination in termination in Mckee v. Hayes-Dana Inc.. In that case, the employer targeted older employees when downsizing. The Vice-president had made comments that he hoped to keep people with career potential as opposed to conducting lay-offs based on seniority.

If you believe age was a factor in the decision to terminate your employment, even if it was not the only factor, you should seek legal advice.

For additional information about human rights protection in Ontario, see here.

If you believe that you have experienced age discrimination at work, please contact us at [email protected] or 1-888-640-1728 (toll free) or 647-204-8107 (within the GTA).

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