Human Rights and Workplace Discrimination
Human rights laws provide you with the right to equal treatment in the workplace
Here is the information you require to better understand human rights and workplace discrimination:
Human rights laws don’t guarantee equal treatment in the general sense. In Ontario, and throughout Canada, your workplace must be free of workplace discrimination, harassment, and reprisal or differential treatment due to certain protected characteristics.
It may be discrimination if you are treated differently because of your:
- race/ethnicity/place of origin/ancestry/citizenship
- sex/gender/sexual orientation/gender expression
- marital/family status
Human rights cases typically arise in the following situations if they relate to a protected characteristic:
- in an interview or hiring decision
- through disciplined or termination from employment
- through a demotion, pay cut or loss of responsibility
- by being denied a promotion or workplace opportunity
- by being denied benefits available to other employees (i.e., overtime, rate of pay, vacation scheduling)
- by not reinstating you to your original position after a leave of absence (i.e., sick leave, maternity leave)
- by denying necessary accommodations or modified work in the workplace
- by subjecting you to comments, displays, jokes, harassment, or a poisoned work environment
- through drug or alcohol testing
If you believe you have been discriminated against at work, you have the right to file a complaint with your employer without fear of reprisal. Your employer is obligated to protect you and legally required to investigate any allegations of workplace discrimination.
You can also file a complaint with the appropriate human rights tribunal or commission or advance your case in court as part of a wrongful dismissal lawsuit. Wrongful dismissal claims involving discrimination can include additional compensation for injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect.
Regardless of which path you select; it is best to speak with an experienced employment lawyer to ensure your rights are being protected.
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