What is the Human Rights Act?
The Alberta Human Rights Act is a provincial law that gives everyone the right to be treated equally and fairly without discrimination and harassment. The protected grounds covered by the Alberta Human Rights Act are:
- Place of origin
- Religious beliefs
- Disability (mental and physical)
- Family status
- Marital status (including single status)
- Gender identity
- Source of income
- Gender (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
- Sexual orientation
All employers are required to comply with the Act.
The Alberta Human Rights System
The Alberta human rights system is comprised of two components:
- Human Rights Commission
- Human Rights Tribunal
The Human Rights Commission provides public information and education programs, receives complaints, and conciliates and investigates human rights breaches. The Human Rights Tribunal hears cases and decides if someone’s human rights have been violated.
What are my obligations as an employer?
All employers are required to abide by the Act. It is important to understand your responsibilities as an employer both when hiring and managing your workforce. Your obligations as an employer also extend to the actions of your employees towards other workers.
All employers should have in place a written policy on human rights or equal opportunity in the workplace. It’s also a good idea to have a process in place detailing what actions you take to reduce discrimination and the steps that will be followed if someone makes a complaint that their human rights have been violated.
It’s also important that workplace rules such as dress code don’t unintentionally violate someone’s human rights.