When the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was brought into law in 1982, it helped to codify the types of discrimination that would no longer be tolerated in Canadian society, as well as its workplaces. Since employment standards differ by province and each company implements these individually, it can be difficult to know what counts as discrimination. If you meet the criteria of any of the following categories, it may be time to seek an employment lawyer to ensure you are being treated fairly.

1. Age

No employer can discriminate against an employee on account of their age. Discrimination can happen during the hiring of employees, distribution of wages and promotions, and firings or layoffs. Age discrimination also occurs when workers see reduced benefit coverage due to their age. An employer also cannot force mandatory retirement, unless for reasons of safety, like police officers and airline pilots. If any of these situations have happened to you, be sure to call and employment lawyer to discuss your situation.

2. Gender

Workplace discrimination based on gender is not yet a thing of the past. In fact, approximately 15% of workers today have experienced some form of discrimination due to their sex. This type of discrimination can manifest in lower wages for the same work, or reduced job advancement since employers fear that women might be less committed to work due to family obligations. No matter the cause, discrimination of this type should be dealt with through an employment lawyer.

3. Sexual Orientation

Discrimination due to sexual orientation happens when you’re being treated differently based on your real or perceived orientation. This type of discrimination is different, since it can happen solely based on the perception of sexual orientation, whether correct or not. If you’ve experienced different treatment or harassment due to sexual orientation, you may have suffered discrimination. In that case, your best option is to contact an employment lawyer to help with your case.

4. Nationality or ethnicity

Discrimination on the basis of nationality means treating people differently due to their country of origin, race, accent, or perceived ethnic origin. Most employers know they can’t refuse to hire a qualified employee because of their ancestry, but many don’t know that they are also not allowed to ask questions in applications or interviews that might lead to elimination based on national origin. Yes, employers can ask if employees are entitled to work in Canada, but cannot inquire where they were born. If you’ve come across this type of discrimination, speak to an employment lawyer to advise you on the best course of action.

If you think you’ve witnessed or experienced discrimination in the workplace, it helps to know when to contact an employment lawyer. Discrimination of any type is never OK. If you feel you’ve been treated differently due to age, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity, an employment lawyer can help you get the representation you deserve.