Application to Dismiss Complaint: The respondent made a reasonable settlement offer

Information Sheet DA7

This information sheet tells you:


Time limit to apply

The Tribunal’s Rules sets a time limit to apply to dismiss a complaint.

Two rules apply if the respondent relies on a settlement offer.

  1. A respondent must apply to dismiss within 35 days of the day the complainant refuses the settlement offer.
  2. A respondent must apply at least 4 months before the hearing starts.

Legal test: section 27(1)(d)(ii) of the Human Rights Code

Section 27(1)(d)(ii) of the Human Rights Code says the Tribunal can dismiss a complaint if:

“proceeding with the complaint … would not further the purposes of this Code”.

A respondent must show three things:

  1. The respondent offered a reasonable remedy for the conduct in the complaint. The legal term is “settlement offer”.
  2. The offer states that it is “with prejudice”. This means the parties can tell the Tribunal about the offer.
  3. The offer remains open. This means the complainant can accept the offer if the Tribunal dismisses the complaint under s. 27(1)(d)(ii).

    Note: Usually respondents keep the offer open for one or two weeks after the Tribunal decides the application.

The purposes of the Human Rights Code

Section 3 of the Human Rights Code sets out the purposes. The purposes include:

  • preventing discrimination
  • providing remedies for discrimination
  • promoting a society where everyone can fully take part.

Information about reasonable settlement offers

A respondent does not need to admit fault.

The offer must be based on the complainant winning at a hearing.

The Tribunal will consider:

  • Did the respondent take other steps to remedy the conduct in the complaint?
  • Does the offer include the kind of steps the Tribunal might order?

Example: Training or a policy to avoid a similar situation.

  • Is the compensation within a reasonable range of what the Tribunal might order?

Examples:

The offer should include an amount for injury to dignity.

If the complainant claims wage loss, does the offer deal with that?

Sample argument

“The respondent made a reasonable settlement offer. I attach the offer (affidavit, exhibit 1).

I rely on Grant v. FortisBC and others, 2009 BCHRT 336.

The offer says it is “with prejudice”.

The respondent does not admit discriminating. But, the offer assumes the complainant will prove her complaint. The offer is reasonable:

  • The offer includes $X for injury to dignity. This amount is in the range of similar cases such as: [list].
  • The offer includes $X for wage loss. The complainant asked for this amount.
  • The offer includes a new human rights policy. The complainant asked for this.

The offer is open for the complaint to accept until one month after the Tribunal dismisses the complaint.
The offer is about what the Tribunal would order if the complainant won her case. The offer meets the purposes of the Human Rights Code.”