What should I ask for in my proposal for resolution?
Human rights law tries to put people back in the same place they would have been, but for the discrimination or harassment. The law is not meant to punish people who have discriminated or harassed you.
Think about why resolving this complaint is important to you and what you need to happen to resolve it. This guideline will help you come up with a proposal for resolution.
Examples of proposals for resolution might be:
• I need a specific accommodation, such as a new desk at work, a ramp in my apartment building or time off work for a religious reason
• I want to stay at my job. I need my harasser to be moved from my immediate work area or I need my employer to make sure they comply with the Human Rights Act
• I want to find another job and move on. I need an apology or a letter of reference
• I am looking for money to compensate me for injury to my dignity, feelings and self-respect (general damages)
• I lost money or had to spend money on certain items, such as lost income, increased rent or moving expenses (special damages)
Your proposal will be sent to the Respondent. They will get a chance to respond.
What are public interest proposals?
You can make proposals to change things for more people than just yourself. Public interest proposals are designed to prevent discrimination and harassment in the future. They can also be educational, giving others a better understanding of discrimination and harassment. The details of your complaint remain confidential.
Some specific public interest proposals might include:
• new hiring practices
• non-discriminatory policies and procedures
• internal human rights complaint procedures
• pro-active measures (eg. recruitment policy aimed at eliminating barriers for racial minorities)
• education and training programs
• posting the Human Rights Act in the workplace
• requiring a property management company to send a memo to all superintendents/agents telling them about their human rights obligations
• making a donation to charity
What are financial loss proposals?
Answer the following questions to help calculate your financial losses. Commission staff can answer any questions you have throughout this process.
What are general damages?
General damages are awarded for injury to dignity, hurt feelings and self-respect. In Newfoundland and Labrador, recent cases awarded the following:
• A Complainant who experienced harassment in the workplace $5,000.00
• A Complainant who was denied a job because of her gender $7,000.00
• A Complainant who was denied the use of a taxi service because of her service animal $5,000.00
What are special damages?
Special damages are intended to compensate you for money that you have been forced to spend because of the alleged discrimination. This is meant to put you back in the place that you would have been in if the discrimination had not occurred. Receipts should be submitted for special damages.
If a landlord evicted you for a discriminatory reason, and you had to rent a more expensive apartment, you can ask for the difference in rent for a reasonable period of time. If the difference in rent is $200 for example, you could ask for that amount for a number of months.
If you also had to pay moving expenses to move to the new apartment, you can claim this amount.
If you needed an accommodation at work, like a specific chair or keyboard, and you were required to pay for it yourself, you can claim this amount.
What are lost wages?
If you lost your job because of discrimination and had difficulty finding other work, you can also claim lost wages. The following is information that is required in order to calculate your loss.
1. Date started employment with the Respondent
2. Last date worked with Respondent
3. The gross salary (before taxes) of your employment with the Respondent (weekly)
4. The net salary (after taxes) with the Respondent (weekly)
5. Any amount you received from your employer upon termination (i.e. pay in lieu of notice or severance)
6. Any amount you received in Employment Insurance or other benefits since your previous job (weekly)
7. The number of weeks you received EI or other benefits
8. If you have found other work, the date you started your new job
9. The gross salary (before taxes) of your new employment $ (weekly)
10. The net salary (after taxes) of your new employment $ (weekly)
If you were unemployed for a period of time after your termination with the Respondent until you found other work, you may be able to claim your lost wages for this period.
This can be calculated as follows:
Line 4: $ – Line 6: $ = $ (your net weekly loss)
Multiply your net loss $ by the number of weeks you received EI or other benefits. This will be your total lost wages while on EI. If you entered a number on line 5, this amount may have to be deducted from your lost wages.
Please note that there is an obligation on you to reduce your lost wages by trying to find other work. You will have to provide proof that you have looked for other work.
If you found other work but make less money at your new job, you may be able to claim the difference in pay in those 2 jobs. This can be calculated as follows:
Line 4: $ – Line 10: $ = $ (your current net loss weekly). Multiply this loss by the number of weeks you have worked at your new job until your complaint is resolved.
What does other financial losses mean?
You may have experienced other financial losses as a result of losing your job. If so,
Did you have a pension?
Did you get any employment bonuses throughout your employment?
Did you have a health plan or other benefits at your job?
Did you have to re-locate to find other work?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will need to provide receipts or other documentation to prove these losses.
What is the duty to mitigate?
The duty to mitigate means that you have try to limit the harm of discrimination and/or harassment. For example, if you get fired, you have to make reasonable efforts to try to find another job so that you reduce your financial losses. This may mean taking lesser-paid work or expanding the job search area. You will need to prove this by providing income tax returns and information about the efforts you made to find other work.