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What does discrimination look like in the workplace?

Discrimination can take multiple forms, and not all of them are obvious. Discrimination is usually outlined in each province’s human rights legislation. While wording may vary slightly from province to province, most prohibit discrimination in employment based on a long list of protected grounds such as disability, gender or gender identity and gender expression, race, creed, marital status, family status, etc. It is, however, only discrimination based on these protected grounds which is unlawful. As an employer, you can easily discipline or even terminate an employee based on the colour of their shirt, but you cannot do so based on the colour of their skin. 

Yet what most often gets missed about discrimination is when it happens subtly. Workplaces have evolved significantly over the years, and rarely is discrimination so painfully obvious as it used to be. While there are still very clear-cut instances that take place, discrimination may be more subtle, such as inviting only male employees to a sports-based social event, or monitoring employees of colour with more scrutiny than their white colleagues. Such behaviours are not uncommon in many workplaces but can still lead to a claim of discrimination in employment.

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