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Unlawful Discrimination & Human Rights Violations

For Employees

What is Workplace Discrimination?

Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms: an ageing employee is forced into retirement; an employee injured at work is fired the next day; a woman is paid less than her male coworker.

The workplace is supposed to be free from discrimination for all employees in Canada, but that is unfortunately often not the case. When employees experience discrimination in the workplace, they often feel isolated, and they don’t know where to turn.

The good news is that employees who are experiencing discrimination in the workplace have a way to fight back.

Discrimination is illegal in Ontario under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status and medical condition.

Analogous provisions exist in all provinces and for federally regulated employees. Non-code discrimination often also creates legal recourse of various sorts.

How do I know if I am being discriminated against?

You deserve equal respect and consideration. The Code guarantees “equal treatment with respect to employment” for all employees. Most people think about discrimination in the context of pay equity or job opportunities, but the Code applies to every aspect of the working environment.

Discrimination in job applications, recruitment, training, transfers, promotions, apprenticeship terms, dismissal, layoffs, rate of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, benefits, shift work, discipline and performance evaluations are all prohibited under the Code.

What if my co-workers are discriminating against me?

Discrimination and discriminatory harassment in the workplace is illegal. These laws apply not only to your employer, but to anyone in the workplace. It might involve only your immediate supervisor, or it could be something happening in the entire company because your employer doesn’t care, doesn’t know, or doesn’t understand its obligations under the Code.

To some extent, your employer has an obligation to protect you from discrimination in the workplace. If your employer is found culpable for failing to do so, you may be entitled to compensation.

What should I do if I am being discriminated against in the workplace?

It can be tempting to ignore workplace discrimination. You might be fearful that claiming discrimination will hurt your job opportunities. You might worry that you won’t be believed, and you might even question yourself whether it really is discrimination. You might just want to quit and move on with your life.

However, you are entitled to be made whole for this discrimination. The first step is to learn your rights and enforce them – you are your own first line of defence.

What can Levitt LLP do for me?

The lawyers at Levitt LLP are Canada’s leaders in employment and labour law. We have made successful human rights complaints against some of Canada’s largest employers in hundreds of unique cases.

We understand what you are going through. We can advise you of your rights under the Code and otherwise. We can determine if your job and career are being limited because of unlawful discrimination, and we will fight to make you whole for the losses you incurred as a result.

Each situation is unique, so schedule a consultation today with one of our lawyers to learn about your options.

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