Whether you are a prospective employee, current employee or former employee, you have rights when it comes to your treatment in the workplace. From the moment you submit your resume, to the day you leave your job and beyond, there is legislation in place and implied obligations under the common law to protect you at work.
Unfortunately, employers often ignore these rules and their employees are the ones who suffer for it.
Here at our Calgary employment law firm, we want to educate you, the employee, on your rights in the workplace. We want to create a safe environment for Calgarians to speak freely about the injustices they are experiencing at the hands of their employers.
If you would like to learn more about the legislation here in Alberta that protects workers like you, read on.
Human Rights in the Workplace
Here in Canada, your human rights are very well protected. There are provincial and federal laws in place to protect all Canadians from harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
The Canadian Human Rights Act was created in 1977 and protects those working for the government or for other federally regulated industries, such as banks and transportation. Many of the principles and laws outlined in this legislation are shared with the Alberta Human Rights Act, which protects those working for provincially regulated businesses.
This important legislation ensures that employers create an environment of inclusion for their employees. It is expected that every individual will be respected and supported in the workplace regardless of their race, ancestry, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, physical or mental disability, marital status, income or sexual orientation.
No matter who you are or what you believe in, you should always feel safe at work.
When employees are bullied, harassed or discriminated against in the workplace, employers must promptly investigate an allegation. If substantiated, employers have obligations under provincial and federal law that determines how they should deal with a human rights violation or other instances of bullying and harassment at work under Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.
For further reading:
● Human Rights Violations in Calgary
● Harassment,Bullying and Discrimination at Work
Alberta Employment Standards Code Ensure You’re Treated Well
Now, when we say “rights” we aren’t just talking about human rights. We are also talking about your right to work fair hours, receive fair compensation, and achieve work/life balance.
The Alberta Employment Standards Code addresses all of the above topics. Specifically, this code outlines the legislation here in Alberta pertaining to:
● General holidays and pay
● Deductions from earnings
● Group terminations
● Hours of work and rest
● Overtime/overtime pay
● Termination/termination pay
● Youth employment laws
Everything from minimum wage, break entitlements, overtime pay, and termination notice are clearly defined by the Province, so there is no excuse for employers to disregard these rights. But as we frequently see in our Calgary law practice, many businesses turn a blind eye to this legislation and mistreat their employees.
Occupational Health and Safety Act
Occupational Health and Safety Act is in place to keep workers safe by preventing injury and illness in the workplace. This act ensures Albertans have access to all the tools and resources they need to maintain a productive and safe work environment.
At the end of the day, it is crucial that employees understand that they have the right to refuse unsafe work. Anything that threatens the safety of the employee or the rest of the team should be reported. Crucially, and as we’ve previously mentioned, this piece of legislation also protects you from bullying and harassment in the workplace.
Additionally, employees have financial rights in the event that they are out of work due to unsafe conditions in the workplace.
Labour Code for Unionized Employees
About 6% of Canadian employees are part of a union. Union members have their own unique set of labour standards that define their rights and responsibilities.
There are a few different codes that determine the course of legal action when unionized workers have grievances towards their employers. Here in Alberta, if a unionized employee works for a provincially regulated private sector employer, they would be subject to the Alberta Labour Relations Code. If the employee works for a federally regulated private sector, their standards would be defined by the Canada Labour Code. Finally, those working for a federally regulated public sector would follow the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act.
We understand that for unionized employees, it can feel overwhelming understanding which legislation is applicable to their particular industry. But we want to emphasize that there is lots of support for these workers when their rights are being violated in the workplace. Additionally, a labour and employment lawyer will have the necessary experience to help these employees understand their individual rights.
At YYC Employment Law Group, we usually represent non-unionized employees. However, and as needed, we also assist unionized employees in their dealings with union representatives to ensure their rights are being appropriately addressed and enforced.
For further reading:
● Employment Law vs. Labour Law – What’s the Difference?
A New Era of Calgary Employment Lawyers. We’re Different.
If we haven’t made it clear yet, you have lots of rights in the workplace. Not only that, but these rights should be protected and respected by your employer.
Unfortunately, we have seen many businesses disregard the rights of their staff. This behaviour is dangerous, disrespectful and unlawful.
Here at YYC Employment Law Group, we are committed to creating a space where Calgarians can address any workplace rights violations they are experiencing with one of our trusted employment lawyers.
We are here for you, the employee, and want to help you understand your rights in workplace-related matters. We will meet you whenever and wherever you are most comfortable to discuss this sensitive topic.
At YYC Employment Law Group, we are here for you. Any time, any employment issue, and any workplace.