Costs Awarded for "Improper Conduct"

The BC Human Rights Tribunal recently ordered a Complainant to pay a Respondent $1,500 in costs following dismissal of a claim of racial discrimination.

The Tribunal has discretion under section 37(4) of the Human Rights Code to award costs against a party when there has been “improper conduct”. Such award are rare, however. In this case, the Tribunal found costs were warranted because the Complainant failed to follow the Tribunal’s Rules for document disclosure, made an unfounded allegation of racism against a Tribunal member, lied in a prehearing conference, and lied when testifying at the hearing.

Although an award of costs is unlikely to fully compensate a respondent for the expense of defending a human rights complaint, this recent decision demonstrates that respondents should consider seeking costs when a complainant acts improperly in the pre-hearing or hearing processes.

(Click here for Decision)