Toronto Workplace Discrimination Lawyer

Discrimination of any kind is a dehumanizing experience, which can be particularly hurtful when it occurs in a professional environment like the workplace. Full-time employees spend almost as much time at work (or working remotely) as they do at home. When discrimination affects employment prospects, income, or day-to-day work experience, the impact cannot be underestimated, and employers who engage in or allow discriminatory conduct must be held accountable.

At Haynes Law Firm, we help employees who have experienced various forms of discrimination, from subtle micro-aggressions affecting their ability to advance to overt displays, such as termination after disclosing a pregnancy. Our firm’s founder, Paulette Haynes, has dedicated nearly 30 years to the practice of employment law and has worked with both employers and employees on a wide range of discrimination matters. Paulette understands how intimidating it can be for an employee, particularly one who has been made to feel less than, to hold their employer accountable for unfair treatment. Our firm offers employees accessible and empathetic legal representation with the experience necessary to successfully hold employers liable for discriminatory conduct in litigation or through administrative channels.

Grounds For Discrimination Under the Human Rights Code

Provincial legislation protects employees from discrimination based on several enumerated grounds under the Human Rights Code. Federally regulated employees have similar protections under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Grounds for discrimination under both include (but are not limited to):

  • Race
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Family Status
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity or Expression
  • Pregnancy
  • Creed
  • Citizenship

Discrimination Applies Whether Grounds Are Perceived or Factual

In some cases, an employee’s race, gender, sexual orientation, age, creed, or family status may be incorrectly perceived. Employees may still have a valid discrimination claim if they are discriminated against based on an erroneous perception. To demonstrate discrimination, a person must only establish that they were mistreated due to the perception that they were a member of a protected class.

Defining Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination takes many forms and can often be subtle, making it difficult to identify in some cases. Often, discrimination in a workplace is systemic, and those who engage in it may not even realize their biases or their impact on various workplace decisions. In other cases, the reasons for certain behaviours are made extremely clear, particularly in instances of harassment or violence. Biases and stereotypes can affect a wide variety of workplace issues, such as:

  • Hiring decisions;
  • Opportunities for career advancement;
  • Workplace discipline;
  • Harassment and violence;
  • Dress codes and other internal policies; and
  • Decisions around workplace accommodation, or leaves.

Choosing the Best Forum for a Discrimination Claim

An employee can choose to bring a discrimination claim before an administrative board, such as the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, or in court by filing a civil claim. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The ideal forum typically depends on the desired outcome.

While certainly more costly, a civil claim has the potential for greater financial compensation if successful. A judge presiding over a trial is more likely to award financial damages than other relief types, such as reinstatement. Administrative boards also award monetary damages; however, the amount is usually much more modest.

If you seek a different remedy, such as a change in policy at your workplace, or reinstatement to a role after termination, an administrative law claim might be the best option. Administrative forums are more likely to order specific performance remedies than a court and can be an excellent and cost-effective forum to facilitate change.

There are limitation periods to keep in mind, as well. Claims before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario must be brought within one year of the discriminatory incident. In contrast, civil claims have a limitation period of two years from the date the conduct was discovered or ought to have been discovered.

No matter how you opt to proceed, Haynes Law Firm has the necessary experience to set you up for success. Paulette Haynes is a passionate litigator with extensive experience advocating before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and at all levels of provincial court. Her meticulous attention to detail, extensive preparation, and compelling advocacy makes her a daunting opponent before any tribunal or in a courtroom.

For Highly Skilled Representation in Employment Discrimination Claims, Contact Haynes Law Firm

Toronto employment lawyer Paulette Haynes and her team of employment professionals at Haynes Law Firm work with employees (and employee candidates) who have experienced discrimination in the workplace. The Haynes Law Firm team has worked on both sides of this issue for nearly three decades and is privy to the various tactics used by employers to avoid liability in workplace discrimination matters. To ensure you receive fair compensation or a remedial remedy appropriate for your circumstances, contact the team at Haynes Law Firm. Please fill out the online form or call 416-593-2731.