Human Rights law is an area of law that deals with the protection of people from discrimination on the basis of a person’s age, race, sexual orientation, or on the basis a mental or physical disability.

Human Rights & Discrimination in the Workplace

Human Rights & Discrimination in Edmonton & Calgary Alberta

Human rights law deals with the protection from discrimination based on a person’s age, race, sexual orientation, mental/physical disability and other “grounds”.

These laws provide rights and responsibilities to both employers and employees in the workplace.

Many wrongful dismissal or termination cases involve a breach not only of the employment contract but also of human rights legislation that protects you from discrimination in the workplace.

Our human rights lawyers can help assert or defend your rights at work.

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What does a human rights lawyer do?

Human rights laws in Canada affect both employers and employees. If you feel that you have been discriminated against according to the human rights laws, it will help to discuss your legal options with a human rights lawyer.

We will help you determine which laws apply to you, whether your rights have been violated and what the next steps should be.

Example: You struggle with mental health problems or addictions that have caused you to miss work from time to time.

After your employer becomes aware of your illness, your employment is terminated, even though you were an otherwise good employee. Although your employer cites a lack of sufficient work as the reason for your termination, you suspect that this is not the case.

Your employer is likely in breach of human rights legislation and you may be entitled to a variety of remedies.

Human rights laws apply to part-time, temporary, or casual workers, as well as agency workers, contract workers, independent contractors, probationary employees, and domestic workers.

After an initial discussion to understand your precise circumstances, we will provide a clear idea of the legal options available to you.

Typically, employees whose human rights have been breached can consider the following:

  • Filing a human rights complaint or court action
  • Mediation with your employer
  • Negotiating a settlement with your employer
  • Representation at a human rights tribunal

Alberta’s Human Rights Act

Under the Alberta Human Rights Act (the Act), workers in the province have the right to equal treatment without discrimination in their employment. Importantly, this right cannot be “signed away” under any employment contract.

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Protected areas under the act

The Act prohibits discrimination in the following areas:

  • Statements, publications, notices, signs, symbols, emblems or other representations that are published, issued or displayed before the public
  • Goods, services, accommodation or facilities customarily available to the public
  • Tenancy
  • Employment practices
  • Employment applications or advertisements
  • Membership in trade unions, employers’ organizations or occupational associations

Protected grounds under Alberta’s Human Rights Act

Employees’ legal protection from discrimination under the Act means that an employer is prohibited from discriminating against you based on:

  • Race
  • Colour
  • Ancestry
  • Place of origin
  • Religious beliefs
  • Gender
  • Gender identity/gender expression
  • Age
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Marital or family status
  • Source of income
  • Sexual orientation

These are known as “protected grounds” and the laws apply regardless of your employment status/ Thye protect against discrimination in all aspects of employment, including:

  • The recruitment process
  • Promotions
  • Assignments
  • Accommodation
  • Raises or pay increases
  • Disciplinary measures
  • Termination of employment

Employers are expected to create an inclusive workplace that respects the dignity of every individual and employees should be aware of their rights under the Act.

Employee’s Rights and Responsibilities

Under the Act, employees have the right to:

  • Work in a respectful, inclusive work environment free of discrimination
  • Be accommodated based on their needs related to the “protected grounds” in the Act
  • Make a complaint if they believe discrimination occurred based on a protected ground under the Act

In return, employees are expected to help employers create a workplace free of discrimination and cooperate with attempts to accommodate their protected needs.

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Are Employees Protected Only in the Workplace

An employer’s liability for discrimination may extend beyond the workplace and normal work hours, depending on circumstances.

Discriminatory behaviour is prohibited away from the physical workplace as well as in it. This includes business trips and company parties/functions.

Are you protected after making a human rights complaint against an employer?

Human Rights for employees & Employers in AlbertaEmployees who are considering making a complaint of harassment, bullying or discrimination should keep detailed records of the discriminatory behaviour, including the names of any witnesses.

Many employees are discouraged from filing a complaint because they fear retaliation from an employer or another employee.

However, the Alberta Human Rights Act protects those who make a complaint against their employer from being retaliated against. In fact, the Act prohibits a person from retaliating against any other person who has:

  • Made a complaint
  • Provided evidence about a complaint, or
  • Assisted another person in making a complaint

If you believe that someone has taken retaliatory action against you for any of these reasons, you may make a further complaint.

Making e a frivolous complaint with malicious intent would preclude you from such protections under the Act. This is why it is important to first establish that you have good grounds for a complaint with one of our human rights lawyers.

Employers with reason to believe that a frivolous or malicious complaint has been made against them may make a complaint under the prohibitions section of the Act.

At Taylor Janis LLP, we have the skills, knowledge, and expertise to handle all of your employment & labour law needs.

To arrange a one-on-one consultation and document review with one of our employment lawyers, please contact us today at (780) 428-7770 in Edmonton or (403) 474-0411 in Calgary.

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Edmonton

Toll Free: 1-844-224-0222
Phone: 780-428-7770
Text: 587-400-4549
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Calgary

Toll Free: 1-844-521-1715
Phone: 403-474-0411
Text: 587-315-0244
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Red Deer

Taylor Janis LLP Employment Lawyers in Red Deer Priced to be discussed #17-104, 4808 Ross Street
Red Deer, Alberta T4N 1X4
Phone: 587-333-4399

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Taylor Janis LLP Employment Lawyers in Vancouver Priced to be discussed #202, 905 W Broadway
Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1K3
Phone: 604-423-2646
Toll-Free: 1-877-402-1002

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Kamloops

Taylor Janis LLP Employment Lawyers in Kamloops Priced to be discussed #600A, 235 – 1st Avenue
Kamloops, British Columbia V2C 3J4
Phone: 778-600-1599

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