Justice definition

Human Rights Lawyer

Human rights laws prohibit discrimination and harassment based on certain characteristics in certain situations. These characteristics include race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation as well as marital and family status. The main situations in which discrimination and harassment are prohibited are in employment, housing (accommodation) and services.

Discrimination and harassment are generally dealt with through the complaint mechanisms of human rights commissions or tribunals, or in the case of unionized employees, through the grievance arbitration process. Human rights laws are passed by both the provincial and federal levels of government. The Ontario Human Rights Code is the main provincial anti-discrimination law. If, however, a federal entity, such as a bank or airline, is involved, the federal Canadian Human Rights Act applies.

Many organizations have adopted anti-discrimination and harassment policies and procedures by which a complaint may be filed and dealt with through informal and formal means. These internal complaint mechanisms may provide a faster and more confidential dispute resolution process but much depends on the integrity of the organization and the investigative process.

Hugh Scher and the lawyers at Scher Law Professional Corporation have significant experience:

  • Advising and representing individuals, including employees, who believe that their human rights have been violated
  • Advising and representing respondents, including employers, who must respond to allegations or potential allegations that human rights have been violated
  • Designing and drafting anti-discrimination and harassment policies
  • Offering fact-finding and investigative services concerning human rights
  • Offering education, training, and media commentary on human rights issues
  • Drafting policies to ensure compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA)

Protecting and enforcing human rights is fundamental to a just society. We work with unions, individuals and organizations in workplaces and communities to bring forward human rights concerns through collective agreement grievance procedures, administrative law hearings, human rights commissions and boards of inquiry and in the courts. In order to advance these goals, we use both legal advocacy and law reform initiatives.

Our equality rights practice addresses a wide range of issues, including disability, gender discrimination, sexual and racial harassment, sexual orientation discrimination, religious and political discrimination, drug and alcohol testing in the workplace and the duty to accommodate. Our services include:

  • Advice and representation before Federal and Provincial Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals
  • Developing innovative dispute resolution processes for human rights complaints, including those dealing with disability, sexual and racial harassment
  • Conducting audits and investigations and reporting on human rights complaints for organizations and human rights commissions
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