Human rights laws prohibit discrimination and harassment based on certain characteristics in certain situations. These characteristics include race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital and family status. The main situations in which discrimination and harassment are prohibited are in employment, housing (accommodation) and services.
Discrimination and harassment are generally dealt with through the complaint mechanisms of human rights commissions or tribunals, or in the case of unionized employees, through the grievance arbitration process. Human rights laws are passed by both the provincial and federal levels of government. The Ontario Human Rights Code is the main provincial anti-discrimination law. If, however, a federal entity, such as a bank or airline, is involved, the federal law called the Canadian Human Rights Act applies.
Recently, many organizations have adopted anti-discrimination and harassment policies and procedures by which a complaint may be filed and dealt with through informal and formal means. These internal complaint mechanisms may provide a faster and more confidential dispute resolution process but much depends on the integrity of the organization and the investigative process.
We have strong expertise in:
Advising and representing individuals, including employees, who believe that their human rights have been violated
Advising and representing respondents, including employers, who must respond to allegations or potential allegations that human rights have been violated
Designing and drafting anti-discrimination and harassment policies
Offering fact-finding and investigative services concerning human rights
Education, training, and media commentary on human rights issues
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) compliance