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:
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.
If you and the complainant agree to attend a mediation 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.
Note: The Tribunal is not currently delaying the time to respond if the parties attend mediation. Respondents must respond to the complaint within the time set out in the letter notifying them that the complaint is proceeding.
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.
- If you want to print the form and fill it out with a pen, go to the forms page.
- If you want us to send you a form or give you more information about filing one, call (604-775-2000/ 1-888-440-8844) or email the Tribunal.
- If you need more information or help, be directed to the BC Human Rights Clinic website or to The Law Centre website .
- If the time limit has passed or you need more time, see Extend the Time to File a Response to a Complaint.
Information about completing a response
There are three ways to defend against a complaint in your response:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.