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Can smoking or weight be considered when hiring?

Expert: Howard Levitt

Currie asked:

When hiring in Manitoba, can I take into account the fact that a person smokes or is obese as a valid reason to not hire someone? I find these individuals derail efficiency and increase costs.

Howard Levitt answered:

If the person is addicted to smoking or is obese as a result of a physical disability, you cannot discriminate against them, including by not hiring them, as result of that.

If you do, they could file a claim against you before the applicable human rights commission. In Ontario, they can proceed, with free legal representation, to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

About the author

Howard Levitt, Counsel to the national law firm Lang Michener. He is author of, The Law of Dismissal in Canada, The Quick Reference Guide to Employment Law and an upcoming book on Canadian Hiring Law. He is Editor In Chief of the Dismissal & Employmnet Law Digest.

Phone: (416) 307-4059
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