Discrimination and Harassment – What You Need to Know
As of December 2015, new fact sheets have been created to help all of us understand human rights in British Columbia, including:
- Age Discrimination
- Mental or Physical Disability
- Sexual Orientation
- Racial Discrimination
- Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
BC Human Rights Code or the Code is the law that protects and promotes human rights, and protect us from discrimination and harassment. The Code allows us to file a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal if we believe we have been discriminated against.
In BC, it is discrimination when someone is treated badly or denied a benefit because of a personal characteristic that is protected by the Code:
- race, colour, ancestry, place of origin
- marital status
- family status (does not apply to buying property)
- physical or mental disability
- sex (includes being a man, woman, inter-sexed or transgender. It also includes pregnancy, breastfeeding, and sexual harassment)
- sexual orientation (includes being heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual)
- age (19 and older, does not apply to buying property)
- criminal conviction (only applies to employment)
- political belief (only applies to employment)
- lawful source of income (only applies to tenancy)
Here are some highlights from the fact sheets:
- The Code protects us from retaliation if we make, or are thinking about making, a complaint or are involved in some other way. It is retaliation when someone tries to harm you or get back at you.
- The Code applies to all provincial (not federal government regulated) businesses, agencies, and services, protecting people from discrimination in situations such as at work, in a store or restaurant, between a landlord and tenant, buying property, and in printed publications.
- Employers, landlords, and people who provide a service to the public are responsible for trying hard to accommodate the personal characteristics protected under the Code. This is called the duty to accommodate, which may require an employer to:
• provide someone with additional training
• adjust a work schedule
• modify or purchase equipment
• change an employee’s duties
- The duty to accommodate also means that there is a legal duty to adjust a policy, practice, or service, unless adjusting would result in an undue hardship.
- Discrimination does not need to be intentional to be against the law.
To make a complaint under the BC Human Rights Code, all of the following must be true:
- You have been treated badly or denied a benefit.
- There is a connection between the way you have been treated (badly or denied a benefit) and a personal characteristic protected under the Code – such as your race, colour, religious belief, gender,mental or physical disability, or sexual orientation.
- The treatment occurred in a situation such as at work, in a store or restaurant, or between a landlord and tenant.
For more information and all the facts sheets, including how to deal with discrimination and get help, please click here to be linked to the BC Government website.
If you’re interested in training for the awareness and prevention of discrimination, harassment, and bullying in the workplace, please contact Hone to learn more about our Human Rights at Work training program.
For over 20 years, Hone personnel have been involved with training for Human Rights. One of our most recent satisfied clients includes the BC Public Service Agency’s Learning Centre. Since May 2014, Hone has been honoured to partner with them for a multi-year contract, to deliver training on Human Rights to support respectful workplaces across the province.