Contents


BC Human Rights Tribunal

Respond to a Complaint

You are notified of a human rights complaint made against you if the Tribunal decides the complaint contains a possible act of discrimination contrary to the BC BC Human Rights Code. Learn more about discrimination and defences.

Options before responding

These options may be available before you respond to the complaint:

Deferral

In some cases, the complaint process is put on hold until another process, such as a grievance, finishes. The Tribunal may defer the complaint before you must respond. You can also apply to defer the complaint. If you apply at least 2 weeks before your response is due, the Tribunal will extend the time to respond. Learn more about deferring a complaint.  

Settlement Meeting

If you and the complainant agree to attend a settlement meeting to try and resolve the complaint, you do not need to file a response unless the case does not settle. Learn more about settling a complaint.

How to respond to a complaint

If you do not settle the complaint, you will have a chance to respond in writing. There is a deadline for responding.

Complete a Complaint Response Form and send it to the Tribunal and send a copy to the other parties.

Information about completing a response

There are three ways to defend against a complaint in your response:

  1. Disputing the facts in the complaint

The complainant sets out the facts they say are true in the complaint form. You may dispute that one or more facts are true.

For example, if a complainant alleges that sexual orientation was a factor in the termination of their employment, the respondent may dispute that fact. In the response to the complaint, the respondent will set out its version of the facts about why the employment was terminated.

If you disagree with a fact in the complaint, you will say so in your response.

  1. Disputing that the facts are discrimination

A respondent may also say that, even if the complainant proves the facts in the complaint, this would not amount to discrimination under the Code.

For example, if a complainant alleges that a slur was made in the workplace based on a ground of discrimination, the respondent may argue that even if it was made, one slur did not amount to a negative effect in employment.

Learn more about discrimination on the Human Rights and Duties page.

  1. Proving a defence

If the complainant can prove that your conduct had a negative effect on them regarding a protected area, and that a personal characteristic was a factor in the negative effect, this is called a prima facie case of discrimination.

Even if the complainant proves their case, you may be able to prove that the negative effect was justified. The defences in each area are explained on the Human Rights and Duties page

After you respond

Find out more about your role.

There is also an opportunity to amend your response after it is filed.