The Human Rights Code protects people from retaliation for being involved in a complaint. It protects people because they:
- made a complaint or might make a complaint
- are named in a complaint or might be named in a complaint
- give evidence or help in some other way in a complaint, or might do so
It is not necessary that the respondent named in the retaliation complaint be the respondent in a previous complaint or possible future complaint. For example:
A manager punishes someone who they think might file a complaint against the employer.
An employer refuses to hire someone who filed a human rights complaint against a former employer, assuming that they are a “trouble maker”.
Everyone has a duty not to retaliate against someone because of their involvement or possible involvement in a complaint.
What conduct is retaliation?
A retaliation complaint must set out facts that, if proved, could be retaliation, against each person named as a respondent.
This means the complaint must include information showing:
- The respondent was aware that that the complainant made or might make a complaint; was named or might be named in a complaint; gave evidence or might give evidence in a complaint; or otherwise assisted or might otherwise assist in a complaint.
For example, the respondent was at the hearing where the complainant testified.
For example, the complainant told the respondent that they were going to file a complaint or that the respondent’s conduct is discriminatory.
- The respondent evicted, discharged, suspended, expelled, intimidated, coerced, imposed a penalty on, denied a right or benefit to, or otherwise adversely treated the complainant.
The complaint must describe the conduct that the complainant says is retaliation.
For example, did the respondent evict, discharge, suspend, expel, intimidate, coerce, penalize, or deny a right or benefit?
- There is a sufficient connection between the respondent's conduct and the complainant’s involvement in a complaint or possible complaint.
This connection may be established by proving that the respondent intended to retaliate.
This connection may also be inferred where the respondent can reasonably have been perceived to have engaged in that conduct in retaliation, with the element of reasonable perception being assessed from the point of view of a reasonable complainant, apprised of the facts, at the time of the conduct.
A person may think that they have been retaliated against, but a complaint must set out facts showing that the conduct could be retaliation.
For example, an employer is entitled to discipline an employee who has filed a complaint for conduct that breaks a workplace rule. But if the employer disciplines the complainant for conduct that would not normally be punished, that could be retaliation.
Make a retaliation complaint
If you decide to file a complaint see File a Complaint.