Application to Add a Respondent to a Complaint

Information Sheet GA 5

Why add a respondent?

If the Tribunal decides there was discrimination, it can only give a remedy against a person or organization that is named as a respondent in the complaint.

A complainant must apply using a General Application as soon as possible to add a respondent if they learn that a person may be responsible for the discrimination alleged in the complaint, and wants a remedy from that person.

A respondent may also apply to add another person as a respondent if they believe that the person is responsible for the discrimination, and if the complainant consents or does not oppose the application.

(The Tribunal will not add a person the complainant does not want as a respondent, because the complaint can withdraw the complaint against that person.)

Conditions for adding a respondent

You must show three things:

  1. Adding the person as a respondent would facilitate a just and timely resolution of the complaint
  2. The facts alleged, if proved, could establish that the proposed respondent contravened the Code
  3. The application to add the person as a respondent is filed within the 6 month time limit in the Code, or if the allegation of discrimination is late-filed, it is in the public interest to add the respondent and no one would be substantially prejudiced because of the delay

Information about the requirements

1. Just and timely resolution of the complaint

The Tribunal will consider whether adding the respondent would be unfair to any other party or cause too much delay.

For example, if a hearing has been scheduled, another party may say it would be unfair to delay the hearing because they are prepared and ready to proceed

2. Possible contravention of the Code

The complaint sets out the area and ground(s) of discrimination. It also sets out facts that, if proved, could establish that the respondent’s conduct had an adverse impact on the complainant and that there is a connection between the conduct and the ground(s) of discrimination.

The facts alleged in the complaint or application must show that the proposed respondent may also be responsible for the alleged discrimination. What did the proposed respondent do (or fail to do) that had an adverse impact on the complainant? What is the connection between the conduct and the ground(s) of discrimination?

For more information about possible contraventions of the Code, see Information Sheets about human rights under the Code.

3. Allegations are either filed in time or the Tribunal should accept late-filed allegations

Allegations against the proposed respondent are filed in time if:

  1. the conduct complained about all happened within 6 months of the application to add the person as a respondent; or
  2. some of the conduct happened within 6 months of the application and is part of a “continuing contravention”.

A “continuing contravention” is about conduct that is related or similar, so long as there are not significant gaps in time between events.

Examples include on-going sexual harassment, an on-going failure to accommodate, or the repeated application of a discriminatory policy.

If the Tribunal determines that some or all of the allegations are filed late, it may add the person as a respondent if it determines that it is in the public interest to accept the late- filed allegations, and no one would be substantially prejudiced (harmed) by the delay.

The Tribunal will consider information such as:

  • the length of the delay in making the allegations against the proposed respondent
  • reasons for delay
  • the impact on the complaint of adding (or not adding) the proposed respondent

For more information about the 6 month time limit for making a complaint, see Time Limit for Filing a Complaint.