Perhaps the most fundamental employee protections are those contained in the BC Human Rights Code (the Code) which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on certain grounds. An employer may not fire you, or refuse to hire or promote you, based on any of the following:
- Place of Origin
- Political Belief
- Marital Status
- Family Status
- Physical or Mental Disability
- Sexual Orientation
- Criminal Conviction (if it relates to a matter unrelated to your employment)
Examples of employment-related discrimination include an employer refusing to hire you because of concerns that you are too old for the job, or that your young family may interfere with your availability for work (family status). This is known as direct discrimination.
The Code also protects you against indirect discrimination: employment policies or practices that are not obviously discriminatory but tend to place a greater burden on employees who are members of a protected group. For example, a change in an employer’s daily hours of operation might interfere with single parents’ ability to find suitable daycare for their children. In such cases, the employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate these employees.
Employees regularly seek our advice on possible workplace discrimination. If we believe a human rights violation has occurred, we can help you file a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal and resolve your claim through settlement or at a hearing.
Have questions about workplace human rights? Contact us!