Knowing Your Rights As An LGBTQ+ Employee
Updated: Feb 4
In this day and age, it's assumed that LGBTQ+ employees in Canada have the same rights as every other person in the workplace. While there are laws that enshrine equality, they're not always upheld in the same way. As an LGBTQ+ person, you should know your rights in order to get the same treatment in your job. Here's what you need to know.
An article from our American Contributor.
LGBTQ+ Rights In The Modern Workplace
In today's age, are LGBTQ+ workers treated equally? While the situation has improved a lot in recent years, it still isn't perfect. A recent online survey has seen that there is still some discrimination, and that hinders your work and productivity in your industry.
For example, around three in ten respondents said they were reluctant to come out at work, as they were concerned about negative consequences. These include exclusion, harassment, and stopping their chances at advancement.
Another study looked at CEOs in Canadian workplaces, as they hold a lot of power to improve LGBTQ+ rights. “There are many powerful CEOs who are discouraging advancements in rights, for several reasons” says legal writer Anna Marshall, from Assignment Help and UKWritings. “These include believing they're not a good investment, catering to shareholders who aren't interested in them, and because they clash with their own beliefs.”
The Result of Discrimination
As a result of discrimination, LGBTQ+ workers aren't getting the same opportunities as their straight colleagues. Around two in five LGBTQ+ workers say that they have experienced workplace discrimination at some point in their lives. That's a high number, and as such queer workers are at a real disadvantage still.
You might want to take a look at a similar post regarding sexual harassment titled Legal Protections Available Against Sexual Harassment.
Around half of the respondents to the online survey said that they would come out at work, if they knew there would be no negative consequences. As such, we can see that change does need to happen to give LGBTQ+ workers the same rights as their straight counterparts.
Similarly, queer workers should be able to get medicare products as other employees without discrimination. For an idea of what medicare products should look like, click here to find a quote.
The Law And Workplace Discrimination
What do current laws say about discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in the workplace? Since the amendment of the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1996, sexual orientation has become a protected class.
Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, you should have the same rights in the workplace as any other worker. Similar rights have been upheld by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
As your rights are enshrined in law, you have somewhere to start if you feel you are being discriminated against due to your sexual orientation. Typically, in the first instance you would go to your manager directly, or to your HR department if you have one. This should help correct the problem, as HR will understand that violating these rights is going to be a problem for the company.
If this doesn't help, you may need to contact a lawyer who is familiar with LGBTQ+ issues as well as workplace harassment and discrimination in general. HTW Law can help. We will advise you on what your legal options are and what can be done, and help you take the next steps. Contact us for assistance and legal consultation.
Here's two related posts you might want to take a look at:
- What Evidence to Prove Harassment
- How Do I Complain About Harassment
Ontario LGBTQ+ Rights
“There will also be laws specific to your region” says Kevin Yates, a law blogger from Top Canadian Writers and Essay writing services in Canada. “For example, in Ontario there's the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), who will have laws in place to protect you.”
In Ontario, there are laws in place to protect you from discrimination not only in your employment, but in housing, services, contracts, and more. Some Ontario-specific cases that have been taken to court may be found on the OHRC website.
For example, the case of Connie Heintz v. Christian Horizons has ensured that employers cannot let sexuality impact their hiring practices.
Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and the Ontario Counterpart Human Rights Code, you should have the same rights in the workplace as any other worker, and be free from discrimination.
The Ontario Human Rights Code strictly prohibits discrimination based on Gender identity, and gender expression. In fact, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, imposes an affirmative duty for a company to investigate into complaints of harassment and discrimination.
Canadian v. American Law LGBTQ+ Rights
It's interesting to compare Canadian human right law to the American first amendment, which enshrines the right to free speech for their citizens. While this wasn't made for LGBTQ+ people at the time, the amendment does cover their right to speak and express themselves without fear of discrimination.
As such, cases brought to court around discrimination have been made around the amendment. This includes cases like Waever v. Nebo School Dist., in which teachers who were forbidden from expressing their sexuality at work sued the schools.
In Waever v. Nebo School Dist., a teacher was dismissed as volleyball coach because she is a lesbian. She sued the school for violating her rights with an order preventing her from talking with students or staff members about her sexual orientation. The American Court held that the teacher's rights of free speech, equal protection and due process had been violated and the school district was ordered to reinstate her coaching position and to lift the order banning her from expressing her sexuality.
While a lot of strides have been made in protecting LGBTQ+ workers in Canada, there is still more work to be done. Unfortunately discriminatory practices against queer workers are still rampant.
If filing a complaint with the HR department does not resolve the situation, you may need to consult with a lawyer who is experienced with LGBTQ+ issues as well as workplace harassment and discrimination in general. HTW Law can help. Contact us for assistance and legal consultation.
Jenny Han is a writer for Sociology Essay and Essay Help. She covers LGBTQ+ law and how it affects the community. She's also a blogger for Online Assignment Help.