Human Rights For Employees
Understanding your rights as an employee in BC is paramount. Knowing your rights can reduce the stress that surrounds job security, increase your awareness and minimize the possibility of mistreatment or missing out on entitlements.
Intentionally or not, employee rights can be violated in a number of ways. It’s not always the extreme examples like harassment and discrimination. It can be issues such as statutory holiday pay, work scheduling or over-work. These situations are unpleasant and can have lasting effects on employees. Luckily, British Columbia and Canadian legislation have expanded in an attempt to address such violations at work.
Federal Vs Provincial Employee Rights
In Canada, employee rights are governed by either federal or provincial laws. While the federal government sets the standard for employment rights across the country for those in federally-regulated sectors, provincial laws like the BC Employment Standards Act address provincially-governed employees (and most employees fall within provincial jurisdiction). It’s important that you understand under which legislation your current employment falls under. If in doubt, we can help!
Federal human rights legislation covers those who work for federally-governed employers such as many employees of First Nations and industries which are regulated by the federal government. These industries include banks, telecom and broadcasting companies, interprovincial transportation, grain silos, and more.
Workplace safety is a fundamental right for all employees. Employers in BC are required to provide a safe working environment, free from hazards and potential dangers. This includes proper training, safety equipment, and adherence to safety regulations.
Fair pay is another critical aspect of employee rights. In BC, employers are required to pay at least the minimum wage, provide overtime pay for extra hours worked, and ensure equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, gender expression, sex or other characteristics protected under the human rights legislation.
Law Protects Foreign Workers
If you’re a foreign worker in BC, you are protected under the same laws as Canadian workers. Foreign workers also have the robust employment rights described above: the right to fair pay, safe working conditions, and freedom from harassment and discrimination.
Making a Claim
If you feel that your employee rights in the workplace have been violated, you can make a complaint with the appropriate governing body. If you’re a federally regulated employee, the claim would be submitted under federal law. Conversely, if you’re not in a federally regulated industry, you would submit a claim under the provincial legislation..
Protection Against Retaliation
If you believe your rights have been violated, you have the right to make a claim without fear of retaliation. The law protects employees from being punished or treated unfairly for filing a complaint or participating in an investigation.