Liability for discrimination by recruiter (Toughest HR Question)

When human rights claims are filed, could employer have vicarious liability?
By Colin Gibson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/10/2015

Question: Can an employer be held responsible for the actions of a recruitment agency that discriminates against job candidates without the employer’s knowledge?


Answer: Every jurisdiction in Canada has human rights legislation that prohibits employment-related discrimination on a number of protected grounds, such as sex, race, age, physical disability, mental disability and religion. These statutory protections apply not only to an employer’s existing employees, but also to job applicants. If a candidate applies for a position and doesn’t get it, the employer must ensure its decision was not connected to a protected ground, unless the refusal to hire was based on a bona fide occupational requirement.