Human Rights

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Alberta law also protects workers from discrimination in the workplace. The primary legislation that covers human rights in Alberta is the Alberta Human Rights Act.

Except in cases of bona fide occupational requirements, employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals when placing job advertising, accepting applications, employing an individual or setting the terms of conditions because of a person's:

  • race
  • religious beliefs
  • colour
  • gender
  • physical disability
  • mental disability
  • age
  • ancestry
  • place of origin
  • marital status
  • source of income or
  • family status

The Act also has provisions regarding pay equity between men and women. Section 6 of the act states:

Where employees of both sexes perform the same or substantially similar work for an employer in an establishment the employer
shall pay the employees at the same rate of pay.

There are three important, but different ideas we're talking about when we say pay equity. They are:

  • Equal Pay for Equal Work - address the more overt form of discrimination in wages on the basis of gender. It involves direct comparison of jobs occupied by the opposite genders where the job is the same or basically the same.
  • Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value - provides for reducing the wage gap by comparing jobs of a different nature that are considered "male" or "female" jobs.
  • Pay Equity Laws - refers to legislated programs that aim to achieve equity in pay in an organized manner. Pay equity laws are most often proactive in that they don't require a complaint to be filed in order to achieve their goal. They use specific targets and deadlines and the collective bargaining process to achieve their aims.

The Human Rights Act also states that no union or occupational association can exclude a person from membership, expel or suspend a member or discriminate against a member in any way because of the reasons above.