3. Learn how to deal with discrimination at work
Question & AnswerWhat can I do if I’m discriminated against because of my race?
One of the most common places where racial discrimination happens is at work.
The Human Rights Code says that employers and workers cannot discriminate against an employee or co-worker. If this happens, you can make a human rights complaint. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario can order your employer to:
- pay you for the harm you suffered,
- change their policies, or
- do other things to fix the problem.
Ask your employer to look into the problem
If you’ve been discriminated against, you can ask you employer to investigate. The Occupational Health and Safety Act says that employers must do this if someone tells them about possible discrimination or at work.
Your employer must also give you a written report of what they find. And they must tell you what steps they’re taking to deal with the problem.
Leaving your job because of discrimination
If your employer lets the discrimination continue, you may decide you have no choice but to leave your job. If this happens, you may be able to get , as if you were wrongfully fired. This is called .
If you’re forced to leave your job because your employer refused to do anything when you were discriminated against, the law treats it like you’ve been wrongfully fired. This means that you can sue your employer for termination pay.
You must leave your job before claiming constructive dismissal. This is a complicated area of law, so before you leave it’s important to get legal help.
Usually, you cannot claim constructive dismissal if the discrimination happens only once. But sometimes you can, for example, if the discrimination was serious and your employer refused to do anything about it.
What you can do
If you were constructively dismissed, you can ask the court or the Ministry of Labour for compensation. This means that they’ll order your employer to pay you money.
If you go to court, you often get more money. But it usually takes longer and can be more expensive because you will probably have to pay a lawyer to help you.
If you go to the Ministry of Labour, you may get less money. But you usually get it faster.
For more information about whether to go to court of the Ministry of Labour, read Can I sue my former employer in court?
If you’re in a union
If you belong to a , you cannot resign and claim constructive dismissal. You have to speak to your union representative about filing a .