Can You Sue for Unfair Treatment at Work?
Every year, employees across Canada suffer from unfair treatment or discrimination by their employers. When employees face inappropriate behaviour at their place of work or from their employers, they may ask themselves what solutions are available to them.
Employees looking for what to do about their unfair treatment may need to navigate the complex system of employment law, which varies based on industries, employment contracts, and civil courts.
If you are facing inappropriate behaviour at work, be sure to contact an employment lawyer who can help you understand the law and your rights to fair compensation.
What is unfair treatment?
Unfair treatment or inappropriate behaviour by employers can come in a variety of forms, including denial of bonuses, harassment, discrimination, violation of human rights, and unpaid wages.
In these instances, employment law provides a range of potential solutions to correct or remedy inappropriate behaviour. These include:
- Extraordinary Damages
- Wrongful Dismissal Damages
- Human Rights Damages
Employees may be entitled to Extraordinary Damages based on their treatment in the workplace and the termination of their employment.
If an employee suffers from unfair treatment, is discriminated against, or undergoes physical or emotional hardship due to their employer or workplace situation, they may be compensated.
Unfair treatment covered under Extraordinary Damages includes:
- Intentional/negligent infliction of mental distress
- Breach of privacy
- Personal injury
- Aggravated/moral conduct
- Interference with economic relations
Wrongful Dismissal Damages
Wrongful Dismissal Damages, also referred to as ‘notice,’ ‘pay in lieu of notice,’ or ‘severance,’ may occur when an employer terminates an employee’s position without ‘reasonable notice.’
Employers normally terminate a worker’s employment per the employee’s contract, the common law, or employment standards legislation. This means the employer should provide either written notice of termination, termination pay, or a combination of both.
However, there are exceptions where an employee is not entitled to notice of termination. For example, if an employee is guilty of wilful misconduct, refuses an offer of reasonable alternative employment, or has been employed less than three months.
If an employer does not provide reasonable notice or termination pay, an employee can seek compensation known as Wrongful Dismissal Damages. The compensation available to the dismissed employee may include termination pay, bonuses, amounts to compensate for lost employment benefits, and past and future commissions.
Violation of Human Rights
Human rights protection is granted to employees in Canada, meaning all employees are guaranteed protection from discrimination or harassment based on grounds such as race, religion, citizenship, sex, gender identity, family status, sexual orientation, disability, and age.
If an employee feels they have been discriminated against or harassed based on these protected groups, they are entitled to bring their complaint to a human rights tribunal for compensation.
Usually, employees who have been wrongfully terminated or discriminated against receive compensation to aid their transition to alternative employment. However, an employer may reinstate an employee at their previous workplace after unfair dismissal.
Federally and provincially regulated employees whose human rights were breached may be reinstated in their previous role in addition to receiving compensation for lost wages.
Have you been unfairly treated at work?
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, or suffered due to inappropriate behaviour by your employer, be sure to contact an employment lawyer to help you receive your fair compensation.
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