Human Rights at Work

Part of our guide to your rights as a worker in B.C.

Facing discrimination at work?

It is illegal for your employer or coworkers to discriminate against you based on:

  • Race
  • Place of origin
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Political belief
  • Gender expression or identity
  • Sex (including sexual harassment or pregnancy)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age (over 19)
  • Mental or physical disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status
  • Criminal or summary conviction unrelated to the employment (or intended employment)

🡪 Your right to work free from discrimination starts before you get hired and might apply even if you are not employed.

For example, you are protected from discrimination during job recruitment, hiring, job assignment, termination, pay rates, and conditions of work.

Is it legal for employers to refuse to hire me because of a past criminal charge/conviction?

Under the BC Human Rights Code, employers can’t discriminate against you because of a criminal conviction or criminal charge that is unrelated to your employment or a job you are applying to. Employers can’t refuse to hire you, refuse to promote you, or fire you because of a criminal charge or conviction unrelated to the job.

Your right to file a human rights complaint

If you experience discrimination it  is your right to file a human rights complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Your complaint must usually be filed within 1 year from the incident your complaint is about. (After 1 year, you can also file a late complaint including an additional section describing why it is filed late, and the Tribunal can make the decision to accept it).

The BC Human Rights Code protects you from retaliation. If you filed a human rights complaint, are named in a complaint, or if you give evidence or help someone file a complaint you are protected from retaliation at work.

🡪 Getting help:
If you are in the Vancouver Island Area, The Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition can help you file a complaint for free.

If you are on the mainland, The BC Human Rights Clinic provides free legal support.