What is the Alberta Human Rights Act?

The Alberta Human Rights Act is a provincial law that exists to protect against discrimination. Essentially, its purpose is to ensure all persons in Alberta have equal opportunities and are free from discrimination. For employers, this means:

  • Creating an inclusive and respectful workplace
  • Removing discriminatory barriers from recruitment and hiring practices as well as job promotion
  • Accommodating any employees with special needs

The Alberta Human Rights Commission provides public information and education programs, and helps resolve human rights complaints under the Alberta Human Rights Act. As an employer, it is your legal duty to understand its rules and regulations and act on your responsibilities accordingly.

Human Rights in the Workplace

The Alberta Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment based on the grounds of:

  • Race
  • Colour
  • Ancestry
  • Place of origin
  • Religious beliefs
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Age
  • Physical disability
  • Mental disability
  • Marital status
  • Family status
  • Source of income
  • Sexual orientation

Discrimination in the workplace is illegal.

As an employer, you cannot contract out of the Alberta Human Rights Act. In fact, you are responsible for preventing, investigating, and taking the appropriate actions to maintain a non-discriminatory workplace.

What does the Alberta Human Rights Act mean for employers?

Beyond your core employer responsibilities, it is important that you take the time to establish a workplace discrimination policy. The policy should state the grounds of discrimination as they relate to employment and the procedure for employees who experience harassment or bullying in the workplace. Make the discrimination policy available to staff in an employee handbook, review it during new hire orientations, and reference it during disciplinary discussions.

Remember, it is your responsibility to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including human rights law.

Ask Employer Line for Advice

We offer free employer and HR advice to ease your stress when it comes to the Alberta Human Rights Act. Don’t wait until you are deep in an employment dispute. Call our complimentary employer helpline today for advice on your employee issue at: 1 (888) 219-8767.