The information below will help you learn every step in the process of a discriminatory action complaint.
1. You contact us
If you think you have experienced discriminatory action, you should call our Prevention information line at 604.276.3100 to report it. If more information is required, one of our prevention officers may call you to get further details of your complaint.
The officer may ask for your verbal consent to speak with your employer about the complaint. If you provide this consent, we will provide a summary of your complaint to your employer and your identity will be revealed.
The burden of proof is on the employer to show there has been no discriminatory action or failure to pay wages. Accordingly, your employer may wish to provide an informal response to your complaint at this stage.
Both you and your employer are free to resolve a complaint at any time on your own. You are also free to withdraw your complaint at any time. In some cases, the officer’s involvement might lead to a resolution between the parties. If it doesn’t, you may choose to file a formal complaint.
Whether you consent to the investigation or not, prevention officers will still address the health and safety issues you raised. They won’t, however, discuss the potential discriminatory action complaint with your employer without your written or verbal consent.
2. You file a discriminatory action complaint
Complaints must occur in writing within the following timelines:
- Discriminatory action complaints must be submitted to us in writing within one year of the discriminatory action
- Failure to pay wages complaints must be submitted to us in writing within 60 days after the wages should have been paid
Remember, your complaint must be submitted in writing to WorkSafeBC on the Worker Complaint of Discriminatory Action form – calling the Prevention information line and talking to an officer is not enough.
Also, please note that if you have filed a grievance with your union on the same matter, you cannot pursue a complaint with us at the same time.
3. Our Compliance Section reviews the complaint
If your complaint isn’t settled during the preliminary investigation stage, and there are no obvious issues with your written complaint, our Compliance Section may invite both parties to participate in voluntary mediation.
At this point, we will provide your employer with full details of your complaint and any subsequent investigation.
If a mediated settlement can’t be reached, one of our Investigations legal officers will decide on the case. Your employer will now be invited to file a formal response to your complaint and you will have the opportunity to submit a written reply to your employer’s submission.
4. We decide if discriminatory action took place
If we find that discriminatory action took place, based on a full review of all the relevant information, we will typically require further submissions from you and the employer on what remedy to award you. The Investigations Legal Officer will make a decision on the remedy award and issue the employer or union one or more formal orders to remedy the situation.
If we decide that discriminatory action didn’t take place, we will dismiss the complaint and no orders will be issued.
If you disagree with the decision
Both employers and workers may appeal the decision directly to our Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) as long as the appeal is within 90 days of the decision.
Need advice or other help?
The Workers’ Advisers Office can provide advice to you.
The following agencies might also be able to help.
- The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal deals with discrimination under the Human Rights Code, based on gender, family status, race, sexual orientation, religion, and physical disability
- The Employment Standards Branch enforces statutory rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act, such as the employer’s obligation to pay workers for completed work
- The Labour Relations Board deals with unionized worker complaints against unions and employers under the Labour Relations Act
- The civil court system can deal with certain claims of wrongful dismissal