Home|Audio Conferences|"Good Fit," Bad Decision?

"Good Fit," Bad Decision?: When is hiring, firing, or promoting for suitability unlawful?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EST

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Kim Bernhardt



Kristine Barr

Legal Representative
Canadian Union of Public Employees (Manitoba Regional Office)
Michael Hughes

Legal Counsel/Manager of Labour Relations
Covenant Health


Hiring and promoting employees who seem like a good "fit" for the culture of the workplace is a common practice, but it is a process fraught with the potential for serious adverse legal and public relations consequences. Candidates from marginalized groups for new or vacant positions may be seriously disadvantaged when staffing decisions are made on the basis of organizational "fit," leading to a lack of diversity in the workplace and claims of systemic discrimination. In this session, an expert will review the latest research on how hiring for fit affects organizational dynamics and diversity, and experienced labour and employment lawyers will identify staffing practices that result in systemic discrimination prohibited by human rights legislation and those that will withstand scrutiny.

  • What does current research say about making employment decisions based on "fit"? How prevalent is this practice? How are decisions regarding "fit" generally made? On balance, does the practice of hiring, firing, and promoting for fit positively or negatively influence productivity and innovation? Does it help or hurt recruitment and retention? How does it affect women, racialized groups, and people with disabilities?
  • Is systemic discrimination the inevitable result of hiring, firing, and promoting based on management's perceptions of how well someone fits in at the workplace? What's the line between looking for ideal qualities and character traits in employees or potential employees and discriminating against individuals because of their differing cultural norms, values, and behaviours?
  • In what circumstances, if any, is it discriminatory to make staffing decisions on the basis of personality traits or the way candidates for a position express emotion? In what circumstances, if any, would certain personality traits or attitudes be bona fide occupational requirements? For example, can hiring decisions be based on candidates' enthusiasm or assertiveness?
  • Is an employer's discretion to make employment decisions based on fit more constrained in unionized workplaces than in non-unionized workplaces? How, if at all, is the influence of implicit or unconscious bias limited by collective agreement clauses usually negotiated to address the selection or promotion of candidates to fill new or vacant positions?
  • Where the collective agreement provides for discharge of probationary employees in the sole discretion of the employer, is the employer free to discharge a probationary employee who is simply not a good fit for the organization? Is determining probationary employees' "suitability" different from determining whether they are a good fit? How, if at all, is dismissing probationary employees for "deficiencies in character and compatibility" different from dismissing them for being a bad fit?
  • Where policies and procedures are designed to fill vacancies on the basis of objective, non-discriminatory criteria, what is the role of job descriptions/posted requirements; interviews; references; work record (including performance appraisals and adverse reports); tests of skills or abilities; aptitude testing; personality; and psychological or other testing that assesses personal interests, attitudes, and values?


CPHR Alberta

CPD hours for this event can be logged online, through your CPHR Alberta member profile.

HRPA Continuing Professional Development

This program has been approved for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours under Section A3 of the Recertification Log of the Human Resources Professionals Association.

HRMA Continuing Professional Development

This audio conference has been approved by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon (CPHR BC & YK) for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours. Be sure to note the Event Identification Number in your CPHR Recertification Log.

Lancaster House CPD
  • This audio conference has been approved by the Law Society of British Columbia for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Law Society of Saskatchewan should contact their Law Society regarding CPD approval.
  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Ontario: 1.5 Substantive Hours; 0 Professionalism Hours.
  • This audio conference has been approved by the Law Society of New Brunswick for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society may count this program for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.

Additional Information

Valuable, up-to-date materials and case summaries will be available for downloading from our website. Each audio conference is accompanied by a PDF of concise summaries of the cases discussed.

Live Session – $260, plus HST
Live Session for 2 or more (Boardroom fee) – $520, plus HST
Bundle Rate – Purchase a Live Session and receive the companion MP3 Recording for $160, plus HST
MP3 Recording – $260, plus HST
(Registrations must be paid in advance of the audio conference)
Contact us for discount pricing on the entire series.

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $260. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $160.

The recorded MP3 file and materials are available for download one business day after the live audio conference. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the audio conference MP3 file and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For audio file purchases for upcoming audio conferences, once the MP3 file is available through our site, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

When you register, you'll be given a toll-free number to dial at the time of the session and an access code to join the call. For additional program and registration information, call Lancaster House at (416) 977-6618.

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