Human rights costs growing concern

Awards have potential to far exceed wrongful dismissal: Lawyer
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/09/2010

With an “explosion” in human rights complaints and human rights tribunals awarding legal fees to complainants, employers should be as concerned about human rights complaints as wrongful dismissal actions, according to one human rights and employment law lawyer.

“These decisions coming down are quite substantive, they’re quite broad-based and I get the impression that the remedies are going to continue to increase,” said Mike Weiler, associate counsel at Boughton, a law firm in Vancouver. “If you get caught in the quagmire of one of these cases, it can become very costly.”

The most common complaints are related to employment, with discrimination involving mental and physical disabilities leading the way. But family status, religious beliefs and race are often cited.