Discrimination in the workplace is all-too common, both from the employer and fellow employees. In fact, three-quarters of human rights claims are related to discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination has many faces, from failing to assess someone’s abilities and merits, to stereotyping, excluding and specifically targeting. Discrimination can be both intentional and non-intentional, but either way, your rights under the Human Rights Code may be violated.
Section 5 (1) of the Human Rights Code states the following: “Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability”.
Section 5 (2) further describes that every employee has a right to freedom from harassment in the workplace on the basis of these grounds.
If you experience discrimination under the grounds of the Human Rights Code, the first step would be to keep a record of all the incidents that have occurred. Then, you would talk to your employer and try to find a resolution through your workplace internal process. If your attempts are unsuccessful, you may be able to file a claim with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO), who may make an order against the person who discriminated against you to either pay for harm caused, or to order them to stop discriminating against you.
Additionally, an amendment to the Human Rights Code, namely Section 46.1, provides remedies for discrimination if you decide to go through an Ontario court. If the court finds discrimination has occurred, you may be awarded monetary compensation for loss of employment, as well as damages for reasonable notice, and reinstatement. Compensation may include damages for injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect. It may also attract damages for wrongful dismissal.
Wilson v. Solis Mexican Foods Inc. is the landmark case from 2013 where discrimination damages were first awarded in an employment setting, according to Section 46.1. The plaintiff alleged she was wrongfully terminated partly due to an ongoing injury. The court found the employer discriminated against the employee in terminating her employment, and awarded $20,000 in damages. The court also held that firing someone due to a disability constitutes discrimination.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully dismissed and/or discriminated against, please contact our firm for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we get you money.