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833 What to do about discrimination or harassment If you are being illegally discriminated against or harassed, but you believe that you can confront the person responsible, then you should do so. Immediately bring the problem to the attention of that individual, and tell the person in a polite but firm manner that their conduct is not acceptable.
- Keep written recordsMake a written note of your attempts to bring the conduct to an end and the person's response. You should also keep a written record of the incidents of discrimination and harassment as they happen. This may become very useful if you have to prove your version of the events at a later time. You should record what happened, when it happened, where it happened, who the people involved were, whether any other people witnessed the same conduct, and what you and others did in response to this conduct.
Generally, you should first take advantage of internal complaint mechanisms such as internal 'discrimination & harassment' dispute procedures, or grievance arbitration mechanisms in unionized settings. In many organizations, there are supervisors, managers or human resources staff who are responsible for dealing with such situations. In unionized settings, union officials may be able to help. However, if such attempts are not possible or are unsuccessful, you may wish to bring the conduct to the attention of the Human Rights Commission or a lawyer.
- Time limits for filing a complaintYou should be aware that both the provincial and the federal Human Rights Commissions have time limits for filing a complaint. The Ontario Human Rights Commission may refuse to deal with a complaint which is based on facts older than 6 months before the date of filing. The Canadian Human Rights Commission's time limit is one year. You should be aware that contacting the Commission or sending intake forms to the Commission is not considered the same as filing a complaint which involves signing the formal complaint document. Beyond these time limits, the commissions may, in their discretion, refuse to deal with complaints if the reasons for delay are unreasonable or if the delay was caused in bad faith.
If you are unsure about how to proceed, promptly speak to an intake officer at the Ontario or Canadian Human Rights Commissions, whichever applies in your situation. These offices are listed on the Legal Line Guide and website. To make sure that your legal rights are protected, speak with a lawyer.