More workers in Alberta and across Canada are learning about their rights in the workplace. Discrimination based on race, gender, culture, colour, ethnic origin, nationality, age, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or pregnancy is against the law. Furthermore, membership in a trade union or union activities may not be held against employees. Discrimination is a violation of employment and human rights laws.
Employers in Alberta may feel they have to walk on eggs when it comes to disciplining employees. Sometimes the courts choose the side of employees, causing the impression that employees can get away with egregious behaviour. One case like this involved the termination of an employee who apparently had a problem with alcohol.
The Alberta Human Rights Act requires that employers accommodate employees with special needs and limitations. Examples of employees who might require reasonable accommodation include those with physical or mental disabilities or special needs related to gender or religion. Employers are required to make exceptions or adjustments to work environments, procedures, rules and standards.
There is a fine line that business owners must not lose sight of in their recruitment. The Alberta Human Rights Act has clear guidelines, and non-compliance might lead to accusations of discrimination. Advertisements and job descriptions may not indicate that selection will be based on specific grounds. The prohibited grounds include religion, race, gender, colour, mental or physical disability, ancestry, age, place of origin, sexual orientation, family and marital status, and income source.
Employees in Alberta do not always fully understand the workplace rights they have. Misunderstandings could lead to avoidable employment contract disputes, which are less likely to occur when both employees and employers understand their respective rights. Employers cannot expect workers to pay for purchasing, cleaning and repairing work uniforms. However, many rights that employees think they have are not actually rights under employment laws.
Employees in Alberta often have questions about their legal rights. Although victims of discrimination in the workplace have protections under employment and human rights laws, how they choose to fight for their rights is essential. The avenue chosen will depend on the outcome they wish to achieve.
Pain relievers, cold medication and other nonprescription and prescription drugs can cause impairment of employees, along with recreational cannabis and alcohol. Although current legislation does not cover testing workers for impairment, Alberta employers and supervisors can develop policies for addressing it. This could promote a safety culture that recognizes and responds to impairment of employees instead of outright termination.
Employers in Alberta have different options available when it comes to terminating employees, none of which are simple. Employment laws protect the rights of employees that include providing notice, paying notice pay, and more. There is also the option of termination without giving the employee any notice, but it requires compliance with certain regulations.
Impairment while at the workplace could create dangerous conditions for all. Even if it is not stipulated in an employment contract, being impaired at the workplace might be regarded as a breach of contract. The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Canada requires employers in Alberta and other provinces to address workplace impairment. Workers are encouraged to disclose impairment to prevent creating hazardous conditions for co-workers.
Workers in Alberta are protected under various laws, such as the Human Rights Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Code. While most employees know about laws that protect them from discrimination, they may be unaware of other rights they have as workers. For example, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, workers have the right to refuse work orders that threaten their safety. With some exceptions, employers must pay workers who reported for duty for at least three hours, even if they were sent home without working for three hours. Those who work for more than three hours must receive compensation for the hours they worked.