Defending Claims In Different Fora The Competing Jurisdiction Of Arbitrators And Tribunals In British Columbia
It has long been recognized that an essential element in protecting human rights was a widespread knowledge among the population of what their rights are and how they can be defended.” Boutros Boutros-Ghaii, Sixth UN Secretary-General, 1992-1996
Human rights claims arise in a number of situations, not the least of which are those defining the relationships between employers and employees. Section 13 of the British Columbia Human Rights code, inter alia, prohibits discrimination in employment on the grounds of “race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation or age.’ Accordingly, the modern workplace can be a virtual minefield of potential claims by employees, both in the context of allegations of specific incidents of discrimination or systemic discrimination generally. However, the significant number of judicial, arbitral and tribunal decisions in Canada that address jurisdictional disputes over human rights claims arising in the workplace demonstrates a lack of clarity in terms of where a potential claim can, and should, be addressed.