Abused woman fired by employer: Could this happen in Ontario?

hands on a book

An elementary school teacher in San Diego was fired recently because of abuse perpetrated by her ex-husband. Despite the fact that the abuser was sent to jail and the teacher had a restraining order against him, the school felt that having her at the school was a threat to the students. In its letter to Carrie Charlesworth, Holy Trinity School said:

“In the interest of the safety of the students, faculty and parents at Holy Trinity School, we simply cannot allow you to return to work there, or, unfortunately, at any other school in the Diocese.”

Fortunately, changes to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, in 2010 make it extremely unlikely that a woman here could lose her job because of her abuser’s behaviour. These amendments strengthen the responsibilities of employers to support employees who may be experiencing family violence while also ensuring that the workplace is safe for everyone.

The government has developed a toolbox to assist workplaces in developing appropriate policies and programs to support the legislative requirements, which you can download at:


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