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Accepting a Complaint 

Can the Human Right Commission accept my complaint?

I think I was discriminated against or harassed. Can I file a human rights complaint?

Section 25 of the Human Rights Act says that a person who has “reasonable grounds” for believing that another person has contravened this Act may file a complaint.

The Human Rights Commission developed this infographic to help you understand when we can accept a human rights complaint. You must be able to support your story with reasonable information or facts.

How do I know if my complaint is accepted? 

The Human Rights Commission will review your Application Form and decide if we can accept your complaint. One of three things will happen:

  • Your application can be accepted as a complaint, or
  • We need more information to make a decision; or
  • Your Application Form cannot be accepted as a complaint. You will get written reasons for our decision. We may be able to help you self-advocate for yourself or refer you to other community or government services.  We may also help you find other ways to resolve your dispute.

Who is the Complainant?

The Complainant is the person who thinks they were discriminated against or harassed. You are the Complainant.

Who is the Respondent?

The Respondent is the person/company/business/organization or association you are complaining about. You think the Respondent discriminated against or harassed you. There can be more than one Respondent.

How does the Respondent learn about my complaint?

The details of the allegations (with the exception of your personal contact information) will be sent to the person or business you are complaining about.

What happens if the Respondent retaliates or treats me unfairly again after they get my complaint?

Section 20 of the Human Rights Act protects you from retaliation if you’ve made a complaint, given evidence in a complaint or helped in respect of the initiation or furtherance of a complaint.

This means that you’re protected once your complaint is accepted by the Commission, even if it hasn’t been officially sent to the person you’re complaining about. However, you will need to prove that the person who retaliated against you knew that the complaint was accepted.

You can file another human rights complaint against the person or business who treated you unfairly.

Does the Human Rights Commission represent me?

 No, the Human Rights Commission deals with complaints in a way that is independent, unbiased and neutral.

The Commission does not represent the Complainant or the Respondent.

What are my responsibilities in the human rights complaint process?

 This is your human rights complaint. It is your responsibility to work with the Human Rights Commission to resolve your complaint. You must:

  • Consider ways to resolve your complaint;
  • Inform the Commission of any changes to your address, phone number or email address;
  • Respond to the Commission in a timely way; and
  • Give any relevant documents or information to the Commission.

 What happens if I fail to participate in the human rights process?

You have certain responsibilities as a Complainant. If you fail to participate in the complaint process, we will assume you no longer want to continue. Your complaint may be considered withdrawn and the file closed.

Can I withdraw my complaint once it is served on the Respondent?

Yes, section 25(5) of the Human Rights Act allows a Complainant to withdraw the complaint at any time before the beginning of a hearing.