I attended this workshop on June 15 and 16, 2016 which was organized by CDLC in Calgary.
The workshop is about respecting human rights in the work place and addresses some the following main topics:
- Respectful and inclusive work places
- Human rights legislation
- Discrimination and harassment in the work place
- The duty to accommodate
- Human rights and the employment process
- The human rights complaint process
The facilitator was Guy Sunada from Alberta Human Rights Commission.
In Alberta, the Alberta Human Rights Act protects Albertans from discrimination in certain areas based on specified grounds. The purpose of the Alberta Human Rights Act is to ensure that all Albertans are offered an equal opportunity to earn a living, find a place to live, and enjoy services customarily available to the public without discrimination. It recognizes that all persons in Alberta are equal in dignity, rights and responsibilities. The Alberta Human Rights Act was most recently amended in 2009 and establishes the Alberta Human Rights Commission – an independent commission created by the Government of Alberta, which reports to the Minister of Justice.
The AHR Act prohibits discrimination based on the protected grounds of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs, gender, age, physical disability, mental disability, marital status, family status, source of income and sexual orientation. Thus, when it comes to human rights in the work place, it emphasizes the rights of the individual or group, the responsibilities of employers and employees, and the need to prevent discrimination.
The vital part of this workshop is about the information on complaint process to address incidents of discrimination in the work place. The Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) provides an online complaint form and guide in PDF format as well as a word document. Before we file a complaint, we need to make sure that we have tried all other reasonable avenues for resolving the problem, but also, we only have one year from the time the incident occurs in order to file a complaint.
The workshop was attended by 18 members, very dynamic with lots of interactions, discussions, and small group discussion on case studies. One of the case studies is about sexual harassment and how to differentiate the line between sexual banter and harassment which can sometimes be indistinct. Another case study highlighted on the duty to accommodate to people with disabilities. Based on the human rights principle of the right to full participation in the workplace, employers are obligated to take appropriate steps to eliminate discrimination against employees because of some disabilities.
The emphasis and examples provided were on many work place settings but not really on academic settings. However, same human rights principles can be applied on any work places, thus it was very informative and helpful for me (personally) and for CUPE3911.