In certain circumstances, employees are bullied, harassed, or discriminated against based on their religion, race, cultural background, disability, or other ground protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Protected Grounds are:
- Ancestry, colour, race
- Ethnic origin
- Place of origin
- Family status
- Marital status (even if you are single)
- Gender identity, gender expression (whether you identify as Trans or even if you are cisgender)
- Receipt of public assistance
- Record of offences
- Sex (including sexual harassment, pregnancy or breastfeeding)
- Sexual orientation (even if you are straight or cisgender)
General Damages are non-taxable funds paid to the employee, without deductions of any sort, meant to compensate for the injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect. On the low ranges, this could be around a few thousand dollars and go up to $30,000, and more in certain circumstances. The amount for damages award by an adjudicator or a vice-chair at the Tribunal will depend on the circumstances, the discriminatory events, their degree, effect, and various other factors that could mean a big difference in the amount awarded.
Special Damages are a category of damages meant to compensate for lost wages as well as other expenses spent by the Applicant. These funds are generally taxable, but there are ways a skilled Human Rights lawyer can help you structure a settlement in a way that minimizes your tax liability when possible. Employers, if found to have discriminated against an employee, may have to pay for lost wages from the date of termination until the date of a hearing (or the date they get a comparable position).