A reprisal occurs when an employer or manager, penalizes or threatens to penalize an employee. Examples of reprisals include an employer or manager:
- Firing or threatening to fire you
- Suspending or disciplining you (or threatening to do so)
- Intimidating or coercing you
- Imposing a penalty (such as a transfer or reduction of hours)
Based on the case of Noble v. York University, there are three factors needed to establish a reprisal complaint:
- An action or threat against the complainant
- This action or threat was made in relation to the complainant claiming or attempting to enforce a right under the Human Rights Code.
- The respondent intended to retaliate for the complainant’s claim or attempt to enforce a right.
Limits on Reprisals
There are plenty of circumstances in which an employer may have just cause to discipline one of their employees. However, according to section 74 of the Employment Standards Act:
No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall intimidate, dismiss or otherwise penalize an employee or threaten to do so, because the employee:
- asks the employer to comply with this Act and the regulations,
- makes inquiries about his or her rights under this Act,
- files a complaint with the Ministry under this Act,
- exercises or attempts to exercise a right under this Act,
- gives information to an employment standards officer,
- testifies or is required to testify or otherwise participates or is going to participate in a proceeding under this Act,
- participates in proceedings respecting a by-law or proposed by-law under section 4 of the Retail Business Holidays Act,
- is or will become eligible to take a leave, intends to take a leave or takes a leave under Part XIV
Should a court find that an employer has unlawfully reprised an employee, the employer may be ordered to reinstate the employee and compensate them for any losses they suffered as a result of the reprisal. In the event that an employer faces an accusation of giving an unlawful reprisal, the onus to prove that no reprisal occurred rests with the employer.
What to do if you believe you have been unlawfully reprised
If you experience a reprisal shortly after taking any of the actions described above, you may have a claim for reprisal. An employment lawyer can examine your case and determine if you have a viable complaint to file with the Ontario Labour Relations Board and represent your case.
KCY at LAW helps employees stand up for their rights and take action against illegal employment practices. Our professional team will be your advocates and advisors from the moment you step into our office until your final settlement. Call us today to book your consultation at 905-639-0999 or connect with us online by filling out a consultation request form.