Training Outline

3.3 Standard Lecture: Different Forms of Discrimination (1 hour)

  • Explain to participants that the prohibition against discrimination does not make all forms of differentiation among workers and job applicants illegal. There are certain skills or competencies which are necessary, and employers have a right to require that applicants and employees possess those skills. These are often in view of the nature of the job or the context in which the job is to be carried out. Use Transparency 45 to illustrate with the taxi company example.  Answers to the first question might include individuals who are blind, persons with seizure disorders, or individual who because of other medical conditions have had their licenses revoked. Ask participants to identify other careers that may have justifiable occupational requirements.

    Example: A taxi company requiring job applicants to have a driving license, for example, excludes blind people as well as people who, due to a medical condition, no longer have a driving license. Such a license requirement on the part of the taxi company is legitimate and proportionate and therefore constitutes a genuine or justifiable occupational requirement.

  • Ask participants, “When does discriminatory behaviour arise? Stress to participants that discriminatory behaviour arises when an employer treats an applicant or worker adversely on the grounds that they have an impairment, where the impairment has no, or hardly any, effect on job performance and thus should be regarded as irrelevant. Transition to Transparency 46 by explaining to participants that you will be reviewing, in depth, various forms of discrimination – highlighting those listed. This includes direct, indirect, harassment, instruction and incitement.
  • Using Transparency 47, explain that direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favorably than another similarly situated person because of a particular characteristic protected by non-discrimination law, such as race or sex, without an objective justification. Illustrate with the example provided on the transparency.

    Example: An employer advertises for a job and states in the advertisement: only people with a driving license should apply. This requirement does not expressly exclude disabled people. However, people with certain kinds of disabilities cannot acquire a driving license and will be unable to apply for the job. If the requirement of having a driving license is unnecessary for the job, in that the job rarely requires the worker to drive, and taxis can be hired or public transport used for the few occasions when vehicular travel is required, the requirement will amount to indirect discrimination.

  • Using Transparency 48, explain that indirect discrimination occurs when an apparently neutral differentiation criterion is applied with the effect that a group protected by non-discrimination law is disadvantaged compared to others, and no objective justification can be shown to exist for the applied criterion. Illustrate with the example provided on the transparency.

    Example: An employer advertises for a job and states in the advertisement that “only people with a driver’s licenses should apply”. While at face value, the advertisement does not expressly exclude people with disabilities - it does preclude those without licenses from applying and, if not a justified occupational requirement, indirectly discriminates.

  • Using Transparency 49, explain that harassment occurs when an unwanted conduct related to a protected ground takes place with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and/or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment. Illustrate with the example provided on the transparency.

    Example: A co-worker of an employee with quadriplegia tells jokes about “wheelchair users”, degrading and humiliating the person with a disability.

  • Using Transparency 50, explain that instruction and incitement to discriminate occur when a person or institution demands or encourages others to treat a person less favorably than another similarly-situated person because of a particular characteristic protected by non-discrimination law. Illustrate with the example provided on the transparency.

    Example: A co-worker encourages or stimulates others in the workplace toward hatred or violence against another employee with a disability through mean, distasteful jokes or pranks.

    OPTIONAL EXERCISE (60 minutes): The purpose of this exercise is to provide participants an opportunity to identify forms of discrimination. Distribute the case studies provided in Appendix C: Applied Learning. Break participants down into groups of 3 to 5 participants. Explain to them that they are to work as a group and come to agreement as to the form of discrimination taking place in each of the case studies. Each group should be prepared to report its findings and discuss their rationale for the form it selected. Provide the groups 30 minutes to process the exercise and 30 minutes for debriefing as a larger group. The answers are as follows:

    Case Study 1: Harassment
    Case Study 2: Indirect Discrimination
    Case Study 3: Direct Discrimination
    Case Study 4: Instruction and incitement

  • Conclude this subsection by stressing to participants that laws prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of disability should cover all four forms of discrimination (i.e. harassment; indirect and direct indiscrimination, and instruction and incitement) and that the exception of genuine occupational requirements should be defined narrowly and applied strictly.