Employment Benefits After Talos
Emma Phillips and Dan Sheppard
When Wayne Talos, a high school teacher, turned 65 his employer cut off his health and dental benefits. Talos filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
Talos argued, among other things, that a provision in the Human Rights Code that allowed employers to terminate certain group benefits when employees reached age 65 violated the equality rights provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Human Rights Tribunal agreed. In May 2018, it held that the impugned provision of the Code constituted age discrimination in violation of the Charter. It Tribunal refused to apply the impugned provisions of the Code. Instead, it held that the employer would have to demonstrate that cutting off Talos’ benefits at age 65 fell within one of the statutory defences to discrimination under the Code (for example, demonstrating that providing such benefits would constitute undue hardship).
In this paper, Emma Phillips and Dan Sheppard look at what the Tribunal did not decide. What rights do employees over age 65 have when it comes to workplace benefits?