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Discriminatory action complaints

If you witness or experience unsafe or unhealthy conditions at the workplace and report it to someone at work or to WorkSafeBC, you are “raising a health or safety issue.” If you do so, you are legally exercising a right or carrying out a duty under the Workers Compensation Act. It is illegal for an employer or union to penalize you for raising a health or safety issue at work, and you can submit a discriminatory action complaint if you feel this has occurred.

What do discriminatory actions include? 

If you raise a health or safety issue at work and the response is any one of the following, we consider it discriminatory action:

  • You are suspended or laid off, or your job is eliminated
  • You are demoted or an opportunity for promotion is taken away
  • Your duties are transferred to someone else
  • You’re sent to another work site
  • Your wages are reduced or your working hours are changed
  • You are coerced or intimidated in some way
  • You are disciplined, reprimanded or penalized in any way

Failure to pay wages

You can also submit a complaint for what’s known as a “failure to pay wages,” which applies to wages you should have earned while carrying out duties related to the joint occupational health and safety committee. If you are not paid for the following, you can file a failure to pay wages complaint:

  • Time off work for health and safety committee matters
  • Educational leave for health and safety committee members
  • Accompanying a WorkSafeBC prevention officer on a safety inspection
  • A layoff resulting from WorkSafeBC issuing a stop-work order

Need advice? 

Contact your union, a lawyer, or the Workers’ Advisers Office, which provides advice on discriminatory action complaints free of charge.