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Human Rights Complaints Can Be Serious Business for B.C. Employers

A workplace human rights complaint can cost an employer money, time and reputation. Small business employers, which are 43% of B.C. businesses, can be hit especially hard if the case goes to a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing. Legal fees might reach $20,000 to $30,000.

 
Helping small business respond to a human rights complaint is the purpose of a seminar offered by the B.C. Human Rights Coalition, a community-based non-profit working to promote and strengthen human rights in the province.
 
The Human Rights Toolkit for Small Business shows employers how to navigate the Tribunal process and how a preventive approach with good workplace policies can deal with small problems before they get bigger.
 
A key message to small business employers: What you don’t know can hurt you.
 
The time factor is critical, according to Robyn Durling, Coalition Communications Officer and seminar presenter. "The employer needs to realize that there’s a window of opportunity to have the case dismissed on various grounds. If that opportunity is missed, or mismanaged, then the case is on track for a Tribunal hearing. That path can be costly for a business even if the complaint is dismissed."
 
The aim of the seminar is to save both sides of a complaint from needless proceedings and keep cases that should be resolved at an earlier stage from going before the Tribunal.
 
Besides, “respect for human rights is good for business” says Susan O’Donnell, Executive Director for the Coalition and long-time educator on human rights and labour-management issues. “A strong human rights policy in the workplace changes everything. Employee diversity is a competitive advantage for B.C. business.”
 
The Human Rights Toolkit seminar is scheduled for Thursday, March 18 at Community Futures Greater Trail Offices 825 Spokane Street, Trail BC, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $12 per person and includes lunch.
 
Future workshops are planned for different regions of the province in consultation with local business communities
 
The project is funded through a Law Foundation of B.C. grant.
 
For more information or to register for the March 18th Trail seminar, please contact Kristi Loughlin at Community Futures Greater Trail, phone: 250.364.2595, ext. 24, email: kristi@communityfutures.com