Discrimination in the Workplace
Human Rights legislation prohibits discrimination against employees and job applicants on the basis of a number of characteristics (commonly referred to as “grounds” of discrimination).
Prohibited “Grounds” for Discrimination
- Physical disability
- Source of income
- Religious beliefs
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
- Mental disability
- Family status
- Gender Expression
- Gender identity
- Place of origin
An employee (or former employee) may have reason to believe that he or she has been discriminated against in the course of his or her employment on the basis of one of the protected grounds. This discrimination may have occurred in relation to an occurrence during employment or as part of the termination of employment.
Human right issues may also arise when an employee has been sexually harassed or assaulted at the workplace.
When an employee notifies his or her employer that he or she has a need related to a protected ground in the human rights legislation (often a disability) that impacts his or her ability to work, the employer is required to accommodate that need up to the point of undue hardship.
An employee who believes he or she was subjected to discrimination may file a complaint pursuant to the applicable human rights legislation.
For more information on the human rights complaint process in Alberta, click here.
When hearing a human rights complaint, the first step is to determine if the facts and evidence support a finding that there was discrimination. If there was discrimination, and depending on the circumstances, there may be another step to determine if there was a reasonable justification for the discrimination based on a bona fide occupational requirement.
We can advise both employers and employees on these factually, legally, and emotionally challenging issues. We can also provide representation to both employees and employers before the applicable human rights commissions.