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Can hating your job be a human rights issue?

Daniel Lublin | Jul 03, 2010

By: Ellen Low

So, it’s finally summer, and it turns out you hate your job, your manager, and working in general.  Can hating your job be a human rights issue?  It depends.  In certain circumstances, an employee who hates working, and the way they are being managed, could raise human rights issues in the workplace.

While employers have the right to manage the workplace and issue instructions to employees, a human rights issue may arise when an employee is so unhappy with the workplace that it manifests itself in an illness, such as depression, anxiety disorder, stress, or high blood pressure.  In instances where the workplace is actually making the employee ill, human rights legislation may provide the employee with protection against discrimination based on the protected grounds of disability.

These protections include an employer’s obligation to accommodate the disability,  as well as a general prohibition against terminating an employee’s employment as a result of the disability.

For example, an employee may legitimately obtain a doctor’s note requiring a leave of absence due to stress.  While the employer has the right to request further information from the employee regarding any workplace limitations, accommodation requirements, and a potential return-to-work date, the employer is prevented from retaliating against the employee for taking the required time off or requesting accommodation in the workplace.

Employees who hate working and the way they are being managed, should speak to an employment law professional for practical advice on navigating sick leave entitlements, disability, human rights, and other issues.  But, employees hoping sick leave will give them the extra-long summer vacation they’ve been looking for should know that abuse of sick leave, or fraudulent sick leave, is grounds for immediate termination.