What Are Workplace Human Rights Violations

What Are Workplace Human Rights Violations

The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), is provincial legislation that plays a vital role in safeguarding the rights of individuals residing in Ontario. It extends its protective umbrella over a wide range of aspects including employment, trade, services, goods, contracts, and housing. The essence of the Code is to ensure that every individual is accorded equal opportunities, devoid of any form of harassment, discrimination, or reprisal.

It is imperative for everyone, regardless of their role – be it as a customer, job seeker, employee, or tenant – to grasp the protections enshrined within the Ontario Human Rights Code. In the sections that follow, we will delve into the fundamental principles of the code, its scope of application, the protected grounds of discrimination that are strictly prohibited, and how the expertise of employment and human rights lawyers can be sought to address legal matters associated with human rights.

Applicability of the Ontario Human Rights Code

The reach of the Ontario Human Rights Code extends to various social areas, encompassing:

  • Employment
  • Contracts and Services
  • Housing
  • Facilities, Goods, and Services
  • Trade and Vocational Services

Understanding Prohibited Conduct Under the Ontario Human Rights Code

In all aspects of employment, discrimination and harassment are categorically prohibited. This includes not only job interviews and assignments, but also work environment, promotions, terminations, advertisements, training initiatives, volunteer roles, and beyond.

Contracts, whether documented or verbal, must be devoid of any traces of discrimination or harassment.

The concept of equal treatment transcends into the arenas of facilities, goods, and services, touching upon entities such as schools, healthcare institutions, eateries, retail outlets, sports facilities, and recreational establishments.

The Code further extends its embrace to trade and vocational associations, securing the right of individuals to partake in unions, professional associations, and vocational bodies. This umbrella covers aspects like remuneration, work assignments, and the conditions pertinent to membership.

Delving Deeper into Workplace Discrimination

The Ontario Human Rights Code explicitly prohibits discrimination on the protected grounds, including:

  • Age
  • Race and related factors
  • Disability
  • Family and Marital Status
  • Sex, Gender Identity, Gender Expression
  • Record of Offences

Age Discrimination

The concept of age discrimination comes to fruition when individuals encounter prejudicial treatment due to their age. This pertains to scenarios where older employees, by virtue of their seniority, should not face differential and biased treatment in comparison to their colleagues.

Discrimination Based on Race and Related Grounds

The Code staunchly guards against discrimination and harassment rooted in race, creed (embracing religion, faith, or other convictions), ancestry, ethnicity, and place of origin. Every individual is bestowed with the right to unobstructed access to employment, services, goods, housing, contracts, and trade and vocational associations, irrespective of their practices, faiths, and beliefs.

Disability Discrimination

Disability, within the scope of the Code, casts a wide net encompassing physical, mental, and cognitive disabilities, mental disorders, conditions like epilepsy, visual or hearing impairments, substance dependencies, and sensitivities to environmental factors.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Experienced Human Rights Lawyers

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Not all disabilities are visible; some are inherent from birth, while others manifest over time or due to circumstances. Nonetheless, regardless of the nature of the disability, all individuals must be granted access to social realms without any form of discrimination or harassment.

This access is facilitated through reasonable accommodations provided by relevant stakeholders. The Code places a legal duty on landlords, employers, and service providers to ensure adequate accommodations are offered to disabled individuals unless such measures impose undue hardship.

Family and Marital Status Discrimination

The Ontario Human Rights Code ensures protection regardless of an individual’s family or marital status. This includes diverse marital statuses such as single, married, widowed, or separated. It also extends its shield to those in conjugal relationships outside of marriage, regardless of the gender of the partners involved.

Furthermore, the Code recognizes the importance of family status, which pertains to parent-child relationships. This encompasses a broad spectrum of connections, ranging from biological to adoptive ties, as well as relationships involving caregiving and responsibility.

In certain instances, akin to the provisions for disability, accommodation must be offered to the point of undue hardship to enable individuals with family care responsibilities to enjoy equitable opportunities in their workplaces, housing, and other facets falling under the purview of the Code.

Protection Against Sex, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression Discrimination

The Ontario Human Rights Code firmly asserts the entitlement of individuals to unbiased treatment, irrespective of their sex, gender identity, or gender expression. The term “sex” encompasses biological attributes assigned at birth, while “gender” embraces a more comprehensive spectrum.

The Code stands firm in safeguarding the rights of women, men, transgender individuals, intersex individuals, and all gender identities and expressions against any form of bias. Discriminatory practices related to maternity leave, pregnancy, and the failure to provide reasonable accommodation (where applicable) can also fall under the purview of sex and gender-based discrimination.

Protection Against Discrimination Based on a Record of Offences

The Code extends its protective cover to individuals with a record of offences who are seeking employment. A person’s past offences cannot be the sole determinant of their suitability for a job. Employers must assess candidates based on their skills and qualifications, rather than solely relying on their criminal history.

Addressing Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Without bias toward their sexual orientation, the Ontario Human Rights Code extends its protection over all individuals. The Code expressly forbids harassment or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all societal domains.

Actions to Take in the Event of a Human Rights Violation

Should an individual believe that their rights are being transgressed under the Ontario Human Rights Code, they have the option to initiate a Human Rights Application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Such applicants can pursue both monetary and non-monetary damages if their workplace is found to be infringing upon their human rights.

Gathering substantial evidence related to the human rights claim is crucial, as is properly completing the Application before submission to the Tribunal. Given the intricacies of human rights proceedings, which often necessitate sound legal arguments, it is advisable for individuals who suspect a violation of their rights to consult legal experts in the field of employment and human rights.

Role of Human Rights Lawyers

Familiarizing oneself with the Ontario Human Rights Code and its provisions is indispensable for combating harassment and discrimination. Nonetheless, embarking on legal proceedings can be a complex, time-consuming, and often daunting endeavour. Enlisting the guidance of employment and human rights lawyers can prove to be an wise investment. These professionals can help individuals fully understand their legal entitlements and chart an efficient path forward for resolution.

In Conclusion

The Ontario Human Rights Code serves as a guardian of equality, ensuring that every individual is treated fairly and without prejudice across a myriad of contexts. Understanding its tenets, asserting one’s rights, and seeking legal advise when needed, are pivotal steps in upholding the principles enshrined in this crucial piece of legislation.

Contact Us

If you are an employer being accused of human rights violations or you are an employee who believes that your human rights are being violated. Our team of experienced human rights lawyers at Achkar Law can help.

Contact us by phone toll-free at +1 (800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected] , and we would be happy to assist.

Further Reading

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Experienced Human Rights Lawyers

Contact us by phone toll-free at 1-866-561-2176 or email us at [email protected], and we will be happy to assist.