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Employment law, human rights prohibit advertising discrimination

Employers in British Columbia face many challenges when it comes to the human rights of their employees. Under employment law, unanticipated claims may arise, and because they were not evident at first, employers can find themselves in a tight spot. One of the areas in which it is essential to comply with non-discrimination and human rights involve employment advertising.

No limitations, preferences or specifications may be used in advertisements except when they can be justified. In British Columbia, personal characteristics that are protected include race, colour, age, mental stability, physical disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. Also family and marital status, ancestry, place of origin, religion or political belief may not feature in advertisements.

If an employer fails to comply with discrimination rules as set out in the Human Rights Code, a complaint might follow. However, for such a claim to be valid, the employee must show that an advertisement was placed for the purpose of recruiting an employee. The complainant must also prove that he or she has a personal characteristic which is included in the protected list and that the wording of the advertisement excludes anyone with that characteristic from applying.

Anyone filing such a claim against an employer will also have to state where and when the advertisement was published, and a copy must be attached to the complaint. An employer who is accused of violating the human rights of an employee can utilize the services of a lawyer who has experience in dealing with all matters related to British Columbia employment law. Some business owners play it safe by having a lawyer review advertisements before they are published.

Source: bchrt.bc.ca, "What Employment Advertisements are Discrimination", Accessed on March 27, 2018

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