The short answer is no – an employee can proceed directly to a court or tribunal before alerting an employer. Much like in harassment scenarios where any employee can report an incident to a manager or supervisor, employers should generally maintain a vigilant attitude towards any sort of discriminatory behavior that they witness in the workplace.
It may seem archaic, but off-colour jokes told in the lunchroom can become a dangerous game. Even though some employees may laugh it off, others may feel targeted and not say anything, but later claim that they were subjected to a discriminatory workplace environment. Proper staff training can help ensure that employees know what sort of conduct is not permitted, and will help reduce incidents of it happening, but employers should always stay vigilant.