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I Want To Leave Work Early To Pick Up My Child. Does My Employer Have To Accommodate Me?

New employee rights, and concomitant employer obligations, are springing up with such frequency that this weekly column barely has room to catalogue them. Following is the latest addition.

Your employer denies your request for an hour shift change to allow you to pick up your child from school each day at 5 p.m. Can you now file a valid human rights complaint for discrimination based on family status? Absolutely. And, however unlikely to succeed there can be no reprisal for making the complaint.

But will you win? In its recent decision in Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnstone, the Federal Court of Appeal made its decision based on the answers to four questions:

Are you responsible for the child's supervision? This is fairly straightforward. If you are the parent, not a second cousin thrice removed, the answer is likely yes.

Have you searched for alternate, even pricier, solutions before asking to rearrange your schedule? You, not the employer, are the parent and you know your need...

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