Employees working for federally regulated employers, such as banks, are protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act, which lays out a number of protected grounds that are deemed human rights that one cannot be treated differently on the basis of. These protected grounds include things such as race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, medical disability, family status and more. Employees who face discrimination contrary to the Act can bring forward their complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Or at least they are supposed to be able to do so.
However, there is a loophole that is shielding federally regulated employers from having human rights claims brought against them. Instead of allowing discrimination claims to be heard, the Canadian Human Rights Act allows the Canadian Human Rights Commission to deny complaints that are brought if the complainant has “failed to exhaust” the other review processes available to them. For example, if the Commission deems that a federally regulated employee should have brought their complaint forward via a union grievance first, the Commission will deny the discrimination complaint without even hearing it. This is a loophole that federally regulated employers are leaning on as a way to avoid having to deal with human rights complaints brought against them.
How can Whitten & Lublin assist you?
While many are calling for change and for the Canadian Human Rights Act to be updated to remove this loophole, for now, it acts as a significant barrier to justice for federally regulated employees who are being discriminated against in the workplace. If you are an employee facing discrimination at work, we encourage you to seek legal advice to understand your rights and options for pursuing the matter. We at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.
Author – Nasyr Asmi