Labour & Employment Law Bulletin: Who is an “employee” under the British Columbia Human Rights Code?

22.5.14

The Supreme Court of Canada has provided some important guidance regarding who qualifies as an "employee" under the British Columbia Human Rights Code in the case of McCormick v. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.

The case centred around a complaint filed with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal by Mr. McCormick, an equity partner at Fasken, alleging that the requirement to divest and retire discriminated against him as an “employee” on the basis of his age. While the Tribunal found that Mr. McCormick was an “employee” for the purposes of human rights legislation, its decision was eventually overturned by the British Columbia Court of Appeal. In upholding the Court of Appeal’s decision, the Supreme Court of Canada found that the factors determinative of an employment relationship are the extent to which an individual is controlled by, and dependent on, the alleged employer.