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Human rights

Reprisals : prohibited ground of discrimination and harassment | CDPDJ



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You believe you have been a victim of reprisals?

The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window. protects you if you suffer reprisals after filing a complaint before the Commission. This means that no person or organization can take physical, economic or any other form of reprisals against you because you filed a complaint or because you have an interest in a case that is the subject of a complaint before the Commission.

Accordingly, you can file a complaint with the Commission if you think you are a victim of reprisals, either as a complainant, respondent, witness or otherwise.

Teresa filed a complaint before the Commission because she felt she had been fired from her job as a waitress because of her age. During the course of the case, the employer agreed to settle out of court and paid Teresa $3,000 in compensation. One year later, Teresa was interviewed for a waitressing job in another restaurant. The owner of the restaurant agreed to hire her, and gave her a schedule for the following weeks. Two days later, Teresa received a call informing her she no longer had the job. Her former employer, who was contacted by the restaurant owner in order to obtain a reference, had strongly advised him not to hire her claiming she had cost him dearly.


Marie-Madeleine has been singing in a choir for 5 years. During preparations for an important concert at Place des Arts, she told her music director that she was pregnant. The latter replied that this would jeopardize her participation in the concert. Marie-Madeleine said she intended to continue singing until her eighth month of pregnancy. A few weeks later, the choir director wrote to Marie-Madeleine informing her that she was not among the singers selected for the concert. Marie-Madeleine filed a complaint before the Commission alleging discrimination based on pregnancy. Following the birth of her child and while the case was still pending, Marie-Madeleine informed the choir director that she wished to return to the choir. She was told that new singers had been hired and that, for the time being, the choir was at full capacity.


The following judgments are examples related to this ground of discrimination. The complete list of judgments issued by Canadian Courts are available on the Canadian Legal Information Institute’s website This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window.. You can do a search by grounds of discrimination.

Please note: These answers are to be used for information purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice.

  1. I told my landlord that I had filed a complaint before the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse for discriminatory harassment based on civil status. He often complains because my children make noise. My landlord is now threatening me with a defamation suit. Is this considered a reprisal?

    Not necessarily. The fact that he threatened to sue you because you filed a complaint before the Commission does not automatically constitute a case of reprisals. You must establish that this threat is arbitrary, abusive or that its sole purpose is to intimidate you or seek revenge for your complaint.

  2. As a superintendent, I refused to rent an apartment to a family with children because the landlord asked me not to accept families. A couple filed a discrimination complaint against the landlord before the Commission. After the complaint was filed, I lost my job as superintendent. Is this a case of reprisals even though I am neither the complainant nor the respondent in this case?

    Yes, it is possible to be a victim of reprisals if you have an interest in a discrimination case, whether as a complainant, respondent, witness or otherwise.

The following video is in American Sign Language (ASL) and is not accessible with a screen reader.

This video presents the topic of reprisals in American Sign Language (ASL)  This link will redirect you to an external website which may present barriers to accessibility..


Did you know?

In order to prove that a person has been the subject of reprisals, it is necessary to establish the following:

  1. that the person in question has an interest in a case that is the subject of a complaint before the Commission
  2. that measures causing an inconvenience or another type of prejudice have been taken against this person
  3. there is a link between this person’s interest in the case that is the subject of a complaint and the actions taken against him or her.