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Survey says workplace discrimination alive and well in Canada

For residents of multicultural Canada who have to go to work regularly, the fact that workplace discrimination is still occurs is unfortunate news. Despite the activity being illegal, a recent survey found that people throughout the nation still experience discrimination for a variety of things.

Conducted by the international human resource consulting firm, Randstad, the survey determined that many workers feel that their age, religious beliefs or sexual orientation has served as a basis for workplace discrimination. More specifically:

  • 26 percent feel they have encountered discrimination due to their age
  • 22 percent believe their gender is the reason for discrimination
  • 16 percent feel they have been discriminated against as a result of sexual orientation
  • 17 percent report being discriminated because of race
  • 16 percent faced discrimination based on their religion

As compared to other countries where data on workplace discrimination is available, Canada ended up in the middle of the pack.

There are things that businesses can do to help reduce biases that may be unconscious and lead to discrimination claims. For example, training staff on human rights obligations as part of a Respectful Workplace initiative and policy and creating standardized metrics regarding hiring, promotion and feedback is helpful.

Even when companies do take preventative measures to reduce instances of discriminatory behaviour at the workplace, it is possible that workplace discrimination can still occur. Employees who feel that they have been discriminated against in either hiring, promotion or firing, should contact an employment lawyer to determine what options may be available to them. It is possible they may be able to file a complaint with British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, or, in the alternative,  the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Likewise, Employers who are confronted with a human rights complaint are also advised to seek employment counsel in order to appropriately respond to the Complainant, Tribunal or Commission.

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