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Human Rights & Unionized Workplaces

The same behaviour can be discrimination under human rights laws and a breach of a collective agreement. In these cases the matter may go to arbitration and also be the subject of a human rights complaint. However there are rules in place to avoid the re-hearing of the same issue.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission can deal with a human rights complaint even if the discrimination happened in a unionized workplace. This does not mean they are the only body that can deal with it. If the union brings a grievance, the Arbitrator can also consider whether there has been a violation of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.

However, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission can dismiss a complaint made under the Code if it has been appropriately dealt with by a grievance under a collective agreement. They can also defer a complaint until after arbitration if settling a complaint by arbitration is more appropriate based on the type of complaint and the remedies available.

Natural justice means the person was able to know the case against them and have a chance to respond to this case.

If the complaint has already been taken to arbitration the Commission needs to consider whether the human rights complaint is substantially similar and whether natural justice was provided to the parties. A claim is substantially similar if the issues are the same - even if the procedure is different. One way of looking at this is to consider whether a human rights complaint would have been made if the person had been successful in their grievance. If no human rights complaint would have been made if the grievance had been successful, this can mean it is the same issue.

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The Shift Project is funded by the Department of Justice and delivered by the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA).