Discrimination at work


The right to employment free from discrimination is governed by the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

  • You cannot be discriminated against or harassed on any of the following Code grounds:

    • race
    • ancestry
    • place of origin
    • colour
    • ethnic origin
    • citizenship
    • creed (faith, religion or system of beliefs)
    • sex (including gender identity)
    • receipt of public assistance (like OW)
    • you have children
    • sexual orientation
    • age
    • marital status
    • family status
    • disability (or perceived disability)

  • However, there are some situations where discrimination is allowed. You can be discriminated against if the reasons for the discrimination are reasonable and bona fide.
  • You have the right not to be discriminated against on any Code grounds:
    • in job applications, recruitment, training, transfers, promotions, apprenticeship terms, dismissal and layoffs;
    • in your working conditions, rate of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, benefits, shift work, workplace discipline, and performance evaluations; or
    • if you were pardoned for a federal offence or convicted under provincial law.
  • If you were convicted of a criminal offence but have received a pardon, you have a right to not be discriminated against because of the conviction
  • If you were convicted of a provincial offence, you have a right to not be discriminated against because of the conviction
  • You cannot be discriminated against because of your association with another person identified by a Code ground.
  • Your employer has the duty to accommodate you up to the point of undue hardship:
    • if you have a disability and require equipment, services or devices to do your job; or
    • if you have religious needs, such as prayer breaks or religious days off.
  • You have the right to be free from:
    • harassment;
    • sexual harassment, including unwelcome sexual contact and remarks, leering, inappropriate staring, unwelcome demands for dates, requests for sexual favours and displays of sexually offensive pictures or graffiti;
    • unwanted requests for sexual favours made a person in a position of power;
    • reprisal or threat of reprisal for rejecting such unwanted requests;
  • You have the right to contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, consult a lawyer or file a human rights application with the Human Rights Tribunal, without reprisal or threat of reprisal, if you believe your rights have been violated.
  • To complain about a federally regulated organization, contact the Canadian Human Rights Commission:
    • Federally regulated entities include: airlines, radio, television stations, banks, shipping lines, federal civil service and railways

Learn more

  1. Decide if your legal problem relates to human rights.
  2. Read Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about your human rights.
  3. Follow the Steps for instructions on how to enforce your rights if they have been violated.
  4. Review the Resources to find new and in-depth legal information.
  5. See the Links for news and other helpful websites

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DisclaimerLast updated 07/30/2009