Complaint Made for Improper Purposes or in Bad Faith

Information Sheet DA11

Conditions for dismissal: section 27(1)(e) of the Human Rights Code

For the Tribunal to dismiss a complaint under s. 27(1)(e) of the Code, you must show:

The complaint was filed for improper motives or was made in bad faith.

Information about this ground of dismissal

It is difficult to prove a complaint was filed for improper motives or made in bad faith. These applications are rarely successful, because the Tribunal requires objective information to support them, and a respondent must meet a high standard to persuade the Tribunal to dismiss a complaint on this basis.

Even if the respondent’s information supports the allegation of improper motives or bad faith, a hearing may be necessary to test that evidence.

It is not enough for a respondent to present a different version of the facts and argue that the complainant is lying or is in error, or to show that the complainant has a negative attitude towards the respondent.

Required information in the application to dismiss under s. 27(1)(e)

A respondent must provide enough information to satisfy the Tribunal that:

  • The complaint was not prompted by an honest belief that a contravention of the Code has occurred, but by some ulterior, deceitful, vindictive, or improper motive or
  • The complainant’s overriding purpose in filing the complaint is improper (inconsistent with the purposes of the Code)

Examples of information the Tribunal has considered are:

  • The nature of the allegations set out in STEP 4 of the complaint (for example, whether they are they malicious, having little to do with the discrimination alleged)
  • Information showing that the complainant engaged in a pattern of threats and harassment against the respondent