Employment Standards Code and Human Rights Act Matters featured image

Employment Standards Code and Human Rights Act Matters

Calgary Employment Lawyers Advising on the Employment Standards Code & Human Rights Act

In Alberta, the provincial Employment Standards Code, and the Human Rights Act are two important pieces of legislation governing most workplaces. Together these laws create basic rights for employees that cannot be contracted out of, outline employee obligations, and stipulate the obligations and responsibilities of employers. 

Many workplace disputes, including wrongful dismissal claims, constructive dismissal claims, discrimination claims, and harassment claims arise out of a violation of one or both of these Acts. Failure of either workplace party to meet their obligations can result in serious legal liability and significant financial consequences, requiring guidance and advice from an experienced employment law. 

At HMC Lawyers, we represent both employees and employers in legal matters arising out of the workplace. Our Employment Team had decades of collective experience advising employees and employers from various sectors and industries on their rights at work, and helping clients to manage their employment relationships. 

Alberta’s Employment Standards Code

The Employment Standards Code (the “Code”) applies to almost all workers in the province of Alberta, including full-time, part-time, casual, and temporary employees, whether they are paid a salary or a commission. It sets out the obligations of employers and employees with respect to workplace conduct, as well as the minimum standards expected from companies and employers based in the province.  The Code includes things such as:

  • Hours of work and rest periods;
  • Minimum wage;
  • Overtime hours and wages;
  • Holidays and holiday pay;
  • Vacations and vacation pay;
  • Maternity and parental leave;
  • Termination and termination pay; and
  • Working conditions for employees under the age of eighteen.

Some industries and professions may be exempt from this legislation, including the construction industry. Our lawyers can provide guidance to employers as to whether the Code applies, and their rights and obligations thereunder. We also advise employees regarding their workplace rights, and whether they may have a claim under the Code.

Discrimination in the Workplace and Alberta’s Human Rights Act

The Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA) provides protections that are broader than those contained within the Code, and is often the basis for employee claims against their employers. It is not always straightforward to identify whether certain human rights have been violated under the AHRA, and a careful investigation by a qualified employment lawyer should be the first step in any potential human rights claim.

The AHRA protects employees from harassment and/or discrimination on the basis of:

  • Race, colour, ancestry or place of origin;
  • Religion or perceived religious beliefs;
  • Gender or sexual orientation;
  • Mental or physical disability or illness;
  • Marital or family status; or
  • Age.

If you are an employee that is facing workplace harassment or discrimination in contravention of the AHRA, our Employment Team can offer advice, and help you determine whether you have a valid claim. 

We also advise employers that may be facing potential or emerging AHRA claims.

Pragmatic Legal Advice on Employee Requests for Accommodation

The Employment Team at HMC Lawyers regularly advises both employers and employees about their rights and obligations in the accommodation process, and provides guidance on how best to handle requests for accommodation under the Alberta Human Rights Act. With experience handling these matters on both sides, we provide ongoing support throughout and can give our clients valuable insights into their situations and assist in reaching a mutually beneficial solution. 

Employers should know that, legally, they have a duty to accommodate all reasonable employee requests that relate to the grounds listed under the AHRA, and must do so to the point of undue hardship. Failure to provide proper accommodation can expose employers to a legal claim, and it is best to consult an employment lawyer at the outset of the process to ensure they are meeting your obligations. 

For employees, speaking to a lawyer before asking for accommodation can help you develop a solid and viable plan and can help ensure your rights are protected.

Contact HMC Lawyers in Calgary for Insightful Employment Law Advice

At HMC Lawyers, we have over 130 years of cumulative litigation experience and offer insightful legal advice to employers and employees about matters relating to employment standards, human rights and requests for accommodation. Our Employment Team helps employers and employees address challenging workplace disputes with a minimum disruption to relationships wherever possible. We strive to resolve matters through mediation and other formal methods of alternative dispute resolution to minimize costs, but where necessary, are tireless trial advocates on behalf of our clients. 

To make an appointment with one of our Employment Team members, call 1-800-480-3534 or contact us online. We represent employers and employees in Calgary, throughout Alberta, and across Western Canada.

mobile skyline

Contact HMC Lawyers for Exceptional Legal Guidance

At HMC Lawyers, we offer strategic legal advice. Our breadth of practice experience allows us to promptly handle almost every litigation-related legal issue that may arise, and anticipate potential roadblocks that may delay its resolution. To make an appointment with a member of our team, contact us online or call 403-269-7220

For articling and/or summer student inquiries please contact either Kristen Hagg or Praveen Thind by calling 403.269.7220 or emailing them directly at joinus@hmclawyers.com.

HMC Lawyers LLP
#1000 903 8th Ave SW
Calgary, AB
T2P 0P7

    Please provide us with as much detail as you can about your case. A lawyer from HMC Lawyers will be in touch as soon as possible.

    I have read the disclaimer.