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Closed for Fête nationale and Canada Day

Our offices will be closed on Monday, June 24 and Monday, July 1st. You can use our online complaint form at any time.

The Charter of the French language and its regulations govern the consultation of English-language content.

Employees and people looking for work

Various laws protect your rights at work, including the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

The Charter protects you in your interactions with your employers, colleagues, customers and suppliers. It protects you during the hiring process and throughout your employment relationship.

Discrimination in employment in 5 testimonials

Mikael, Melanie, Bianca, Mark and Cathy share their stories and how they overcame these barriers. Watch their stories in our YouTube playlist. (French only)
  • Your rights when you are looking for work

    Interviews and application forms

    Employers are not allowed to ask you about certain personal characteristics during an interview or on an application form.

    Examples of prohibited questions

    • Are you pregnant or planning to have children?
    • Are you taking medication or undergoing any medical treatment?
    • What is your religion?

    You do not have to answer questions like these about your personal characteristics.

    There are two exceptions:

    1. if the question is about a specific professional requirement for the position you are applying for. For example:
      • employers must make sure that the people they hire to serve alcohol in a bar are of legal age
      • employers may require proficiency in English if this is necessary for the job
    2. if the question is necessary for the employer to carry out its mission. In this case, the employer must be a non-profit institution or an institution devoted exclusively to the well-being of an ethnic group. For example:
      • a shelter for abused women may decide to hire female social workers only.

    Previous convictions

    Employers cannot deny you a job because you have a previous conviction if:

    • your conviction is in no way connected to the employment,
    • your criminal record has been suspended (also known as a pardon).

    Learn more about previous convictions

    Self-identification forms

    Certain organizations or companies may ask you to complete a self-identification form when you apply for work. On this form, you can indicate if you are a woman, a member of a visible minority group, a member of an ethnic group, an Aboriginal person or a person with a disability. This information allows employers to properly apply their equal access employment programs (PAÉE).

    This form is not discriminatory. It is permitted under the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. But it is not mandatory: you can choose whether you wish to answer these questions.

    Learn more about PAÉE

    Learn more about your rights during the hiring process 

  • Your rights at work

    Your employer is not allowed to:

    • treat you differently from your colleagues because of your origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, accent or any other personal characteristic that is a prohibited ground for discrimination.

    Learn more on the prohibited grounds

    • pass you over for promotion, dismiss you or otherwise penalize you in employment because you have a previous conviction if:
      • your conviction is in no way connected to the employment
      • your criminal record has been suspended (also known as a pardon).

    Your employer is required to:

    • provide you with fair and reasonable conditions of employment, for example, paying you wages that are equal to or greater than minimum wage and allowing you to take the minimum number of vacation days set out in the Act respecting labour standards
    • reasonably accommodate you so that you can perform your duties
    • provide you with a work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment
    • provide you with a safe and healthy work environment


    Note! It is not discriminatory if:

    • your employer uses other criteria to differentiate between employees, such as:
      • their experience
      • their seniority
      •  the quality of their work
      • their productivity
      • the overtime they work
    • your employer adjusts your wages in keeping with the rules set out in the Pay Equity Act

  • Dealing with discrimination or harassment

    If you have experienced discrimination or harassment at work or while looking for work, your options depend on:

    • the status of the position (management, unionized employee, etc.)
    • the status of the person who has harassed or discriminated against you (employer, superior, colleague, a third party such as customers or suppliers, etc.)
    • the remedies sought (reinstatement, putting an end to the behaviour, etc.)

    Plusieurs ressources peuvent vous aider, selon votre situation :

    La Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse

    Communiquez avec la Commission pour une plainte de discrimination et de harcèlement discriminatoire (incluant de harcèlement sexuel). Contactez-nous pour expliquer votre cas et savoir si vous pouvez porter plainte.

    Téléphone sans frais : 1 800 361-6477
    Courriel : 

    La Commission des normes, de l'équité et de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST)

    Communiquez avec cet organisme lorsque vous êtes victime de harcèlement psychologique ou de harcèlement sexuel au travail qui entraîne un accident de travail (lésion professionnelle).

    Téléphone sans frais : 1 844 838-0808
    En ligne : CNESST 

    Votre syndicat

    Si vous travaillez en milieu syndiqué, vous devez déposer un grief à votre syndicat. L'arbitre de grief est le seul qui peut appliquer ou interpréter des droits et obligations prévus la convention collective et à la Charte .   

    La Commission de la fonction publique (Québec)

    Si vous êtes à l’emploi du gouvernement québécois, vous devez adresser votre plainte à la Commission de la fonction publique du Québec.

    Téléphone sans frais : 1 800 432-0432
    Courriel :  

    La Commission de la fonction publique (Canada)

    Si vous êtes à l’emploi du gouvernement canadien, vous devez adresser votre plainte à la Commission de la fonction publique canadienne.

    Formulaire de contact :

    La Commission canadienne des droits de la personne

    Si vous êtes à l’emploi d’une compagnie de compétence fédérale (banques, entreprises de télécommunications, services de transport aérien, ferroviaire ou maritime), vous devez vous adresser à la Commission canadienne des droits de la personne.

    Téléphone sans frais : 1 888 214-1090
    En ligne :  

    Un avocat ou une avocate

    Il est possible, selon le cas, de poursuivre directement la personne qui vous a discriminé ou harcelé dans un procès civil.  Vous pourrez alors demander une somme d’argent pour compenser le dommage que vous avez subi.

Discrimination in hiring

Marie applied for a job as a maintenance worker in a hospital. The interview went well. But Marie was not hired because she mentioned in the application form that she had previously experienced depression. Marie filed a complaint with the Commission because the hospital had no reason to ask her questions about her health. The Commission investigated, and the hospital committed to reviewing its pre employment medical questionnaires.

Harassment at work

Some of Gary’s colleagues perceived him as gay and regularly made comments and jokes about his sexual orientation. When Gary reported this to his supervisor, he was told to ignore these people, and that they would stop making comments once they realized that he was not gay. The situation continued. Gary filed a complaint of discriminatory harassment with the Commission. The Commission contacted the employer to remind him that he must use all means possible to stop his employees from harassing Gary.

Sexual harassment at work

You do not have to accept psychological or sexual harassment at work. Your employer must prevent and stop this kind of behaviour.

Learn more on sexual harassment

Requesting accommodation

If you are an employee, a customer or a service user and you want to request accommodation:

  • make sure that your request is based on a prohibited ground for discrimination
  • submit your request to your supervisor or to the relevant person
  • provide all information needed to process your request
  • allow sufficient time for your request to be reviewed
  • collaborate in finding a solution

Learn more on reasonable accommodation