Ridout Barron


Employment discrimination in Alberta

Alberta employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers based on a variety of different statuses. Protections include prohibitions against discrimination based on a worker's race, national origin, colour, religion, physical or mental disability, age, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital or family status, or income source.

The prohibitions are codified in the Alberta Human Rights Act. The provisions of the act protect workers at all stages of employment, including interviewing, applying for work and hiring decisions. Advertisements for jobs similarly may not contain language that demonstrates a discriminatory intent on the employer's part. After a person is hired, employers may not discriminate against the worker based on a protected ground for decisions regarding promotions and pay, lay-offs, firing, bonuses, training opportunities, leave or the provision of benefits.

When a job requires a specific skill, the employer may give prospective employees a skills test if they give such a test to all workers. Drug and alcohol testing cannot be given to an applicant prior to offering a job to the applicant, but they may be allowed after a job offer has been extended. Human rights anti-discriminatory provisions cover all workers in Alberta who are aged 18 or older.

The protected grounds have been established due to a history of human rights concerns regarding workplace discrimination based on an employee's status. Prospective employees and employees who believe they have been subjected to such discriminatory action based on a protected ground may want to consider filing a discrimination claim against the employer. Filing a claim can give the victim of discrimination the ability to recover damages. People who have been negatively impacted by perceived discrimination may want to talk about their case with a lawyer who practices employment law.

Source: Alberta.gov, "Protecting your human rights ", December 24, 2014

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Ridout Barron
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