Human rights at work are crucial for everyone, regardless of gender, race, colour, status or disability. Everyone has the right to feel secure in one’s working environment. There are some behaviours that are considered discriminatory by Canadian law and these include making racial, cultural and religious remarks in the workplace, being rude to your colleagues and superiors, racial discrimination, bullying and intimidating colleagues. You have the right to face harassment and other unwarranted acts of violence or discrimination in the workplace. If you feel that you have been discriminated against at your workplace, then you have to file a human rights at work complaint.
The law also encompasses other important human rights such as privacy, equal opportunity, safety, equality, freedom and cleanliness in the workplace. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that these things are maintained in the workplace. The Ontario Human Rights Act covers all the aspects of human rights at work. These include freedom of speech and expression, privacy, equality, safety, equality, working hours, whistle blowing, minimum wage, occupational health and safety, paid holidays and sick leave, workplace accidents and injury, occupational disorder, equal opportunity in the workplace, whistle blowers, harassment and recruitment and placement. If an employee feels that he has experienced any of these, then he should make human rights at work complaint.
If you feel that you have experienced any form of workplace discrimination, harassment or other similar acts, you should make a human right at work complaint. The employer may counter a counterclaim with an out-of-court settlement or may still decide to go ahead with the lawsuit. The employer should not useophobia as an excuse for discriminating against employees. For example, if the at-work behaviour suggests that someone might be gay, an employer may have a right to fire the person on the basis that they are gay. However, this would be unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Employment law in Canada works on a “comparative” basis, which means that it does not discriminate against people on the basis of their race, sex, age, religious beliefs or other traits. This means that both employer and employee are protected against discrimination on the basis of these traits. However, there are some employers who choose to discriminate against certain traits for reasons that have nothing to do with a worker’s actual ability or skill set. For example, some employers may refuse to hire someone because of his race. In this case, the worker would have been protected against discrimination based on race, but the reason for the refusal to hire could be a basis of discrimination due to age or other traits. Therefore, in order to win your human rights at work case, you will need to establish that there is a genuine reason for the decision to discriminate.
The Employment Equity Act protects all Canadians against discrimination on the basis of race, age, sex, disability, and origin. Part I of the Equity Act requires that all employers take measures to accommodate employees who suffer from protected characteristics. Part II sets out what must be done if an employee is discriminated against on the basis of a protected trait. If, after taking measures to accommodate the employee, the employer still discriminates against the employee, the employer must take corrective measures or provide equal opportunities to all employees.
Your Hamilton employment lawyer will help you establish that you have been subjected to a breach of the right to equal opportunity and fair treatment. If you have been subjected to such treatment, you can take your complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. There, you will need to establish that your employer has contravened the provisions of the equity act and the human rights charter.