Employees in British Columbia are protected against discrimination. For those employed by organizations falling within federal labour jurisdiction, the Canadian Human Rights Act prevents discrimination or harassment based on race, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation or other protected grounds. Victims of such behaviour in the workplace could file complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. (Other employees who fall within provincial jurisdiction will have recourse through the BC Human Rights Tribunal.)
Navigating such a complaint could be a daunting prospect, and the complainant must include specific information with the claim. The first requirement is to describe the nature of discrimination and the particular grounds that were violated. The employee must also explain:
- How discrimination took place
- The reason it happened
- Where it happened
As an employee filing with the Canada Human Rights Commission, you have 12 months from the date of the act of discrimination to file a complaint, although exceptions exist. Furthermore, you can file a complaint on another person’s behalf, such as for a co-worker. However, you must have the consent of that person to do so. There is no fee payable with a human rights complaint.
Although it is not necessary to retain a lawyer’s services to file a complaint, having legal counsel can simplify the entire process. A British Columbia lawyer can ensure that all of the necessary information accompanies your complaint and that it is filed within the allowed period, and that your complaint is filed with the correct administrative body in your situation. The Commission does not take sides, and all proceedings will be impartial. Therefore, having an experienced lawyer to advocate for you can increase the chances of a positive outcome.
Human rights violations should never be tolerated. If you’re experiencing inappropriate treatment in the workplace, it’s important to understand your rights to seek the justice you deserve.