Employees in the Canada have certain workplace rights. To keep a business running smoothly, employers need to be aware of various laws which set out these rights, both in legislation and as a result of developments in the common law. While regular workplace training can help prevent issues from arising, even the most prepared businesses are occasionally faced with challenging employment situations which lead to a workplace dispute. One particular area which is sensitive to handle is with respect to a business' duty to accommodate a disabled employee.
Employers and employees have a symbiotic relationship. Employers must rely upon employees for a business to work and employees rely upon employers to make a living. While these relationships often work well, disputes also arise from time-to-time.
When a union and an employer cannot reach an agreement, the possibility of employees striking often looms. Recently, a situation of this nature arose in Vancouver. The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and CUPE Local 118 experienced difficulty with contract negotiations. As a result of those issues, the workers provided the team bargaining for them a 90 percent strike mandate.
Given that race is a protected ground under human rights legislation, workers who believe they have been discriminated against in the workplace because of their race can file a complaint against that employer. This is true even if the person taking the legal action is not a part of a minority group. A Caucasian man who works for the Canada Revenue Agency took such action. Despite feeling he was a lock for a management position in his office, the man was made aware that a woman or member of a visible minority would get the promotion.
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.
In any employment dispute between an employer and an employee, the outcome is never predetermined. It is possible that either side could secure a ruling in its favour. That said, there are various reasons that at various points one side might be more likely to succeed than the other.
When employees in British Columbia feels that they were victims of discrimination in the workplace, they may be able to file a human rights complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, or with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Although it is not a universal practice, many employers require employees to sign an employment contract at the time of hire. Employment contracts may be short or long and detailed. Longer contracts may address a variety of topics including health benefits, code of conduct, vacation, sick leave and internal complaint or grievance procedures. In addition, it could cover employee behavior after an employment relationship has ended, with non-compete provisions that set a period of time during which the former employee cannot get a job with a competitor. It could also address what an employee is allowed to do with proprietary information.
Workplace discrimination is not always obvious. According to a study on Canada's workforce that was recently conducted, this is particularly true for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.
Readers may be aware that there are laws in place in Canada that prohibit discrimination based on gender. Under those laws, among other things, the compensation a worker receives cannot be negatively impacted as a result of one’s gender. Sometimes claims filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commissions alleging discriminatory behavior are accepted and a case commences. Other times however, they are denied. It is important that employees in this situation recognize that a denial by the CHRC is not necessarily the end of the process. A recent Federal Court of Appeal ruling illustrates this.