As society changes, governments seek to implement, regulate and enforce accompanying legal changes, often through the employment relationship. Employees are more aware than ever before of their rights and are not hesitant to question and make claims or complaints when they feel their rights have been infringed. In this environment, employers have difficulty remaining current not only to evolving human rights law but also to how that law interacts with other workplace legal principles or issues: privacy, application of collective agreements, WorkSafeBC involvement and other issues. As a result, employers may be exposed to increased liability.
At Harris, we stay current with changing legislation and evolving law. We regularly appear before the Human Rights Tribunal, arbitrators and the Courts on behalf of public and private sector clients in areas such as education, post-secondary institutions, health, transportation, entertainment, banking, and many other sectors.
We provide advice on all human rights issues as they apply to the workplace, including:
- Advising on interpretation and application of the B.C. Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
- Developing employer policies and advising on implementation;
- Adjusting practices or procedures to incorporate the new policies and training employees and managers to achieve policy objectives;
- Conducting investigations and advising on potential remedies or consequences;
- Advocating for employers in human rights disputes arising through grievances or human rights complaints;
- Mediating resolutions with complainants or unions; and
- Advocating at all levels of adjudication from the Human Rights Tribunal do the Supreme Court of Canada.
We have a considerable knowledge of and experience with the relevant legislation, Tribunal decisions and their application to particular work contexts. We assist employers with addressing issues and complaints, including identifying resolutions. Where resolution is not available, we defend employers expertly, surgically, thoroughly and passionately, with a view to eliminating or reducing risk and liability.
We understand the importance of our clients’ reputations and the need for stable work environments. We therefore understand the need for immediacy in responding to human rights issues. This level of responsiveness includes assisting clients whenever and wherever the need arises, such as on weekends or evenings, or at distant locations.
We learn about our clients’ organizational priorities in order to provide focused advice, tailored to suit the client’s culture, structure and individual needs. We recognize that each workplace has its own nuances. We seek to understand your specific challenges and risks. Armed with this information, we give you a range of options that not only reflect the law but is also focused on achieving your organization’s objectives and protecting all of its interests.
When challenges arise, we work with you to reduce liability and reputational damage. Whether we are interacting with your team or with an adjudicator, we speak from a place of insight that comes from decades of experience.
Meet our talented group of lawyers who are leaders in Human Rights Law.