What is the Human Rights Code?
In British Columbia, there are laws established to protect and promote human rights. The B.C. Human Rights Code exists to protect people, including employees, against discrimination and harassment. When it comes to discrimination or harassment issues in the workplace, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is responsible for resolving complaints.
As an employer, it is your legal duty to understand the rules and regulations under the B.C. Human Rights Code and to fulfill your responsibilities accordingly.
Discrimination and Human Rights
The B.C. Human Rights Code states that everyone has the right to be free from discrimination in employment. This applies to hiring ads, termination, paying wages, working hours, benefits and the general environment of the workplace.
Employment discrimination is defined as poor treatment in the workplace based on any of the following personal characteristics:
- Place of Origin
- Gender Identity or Expression
- Sexual Orientation
- Physical Disability
- Mental Disability
- Marital Status
- Family Status
- Political Belief
- Criminal Conviction (not related to employment)
The Employer’s Duty to Accommodate
As an employer, you must take every reasonable step to prevent discrimination in the workplace by protecting job applicants and employees. In fact, you have a duty to accommodate employees who invoke one of the personal characteristics protected under the B.C. Human Rights Code up to the point of undue hardship. Suitable accommodations are dependent on the specific situation of your employee. However, if you refuse to accommodate, you may find yourself dealing with a discrimination claim.
Don’t wait until you have to deal with a human rights employee complaint.
It is important that you understand the B.C. Human Rights Code and how it applies to your small business. Don’t wait until you’re deep into an employment dispute. Be proactive and ask us to review your business practices for the accommodation of personal characteristics under the Code. Call us today at 1(833) 200-5103.