I have a union at work. How does this affect my rights as a worker?

4. Learn about options other than working with your union

If you're covered by a , you usually have to work with your if you have a problem with your employer.

A collective agreement includes the process that workers need to use if their employer does not follow the agreement. And it's up to the union to protect workers’ rights if this happens.

But there are situations when you may not have to involve your union or follow the process in your collective agreement.

Human rights laws

If you're in a union, you're also covered by human rights laws. For most workers in Ontario, Ontario's Human Rights Code applies. For workers in federal industries, the Canadian Human Rights Act applies.

And if your complaint is about something that goes against your human rights, you might be able to make a human rights claim instead of using the process in your collective agreement. Or you might be able to do both.

Safety issues

You have the right to refuse to do work that's not safe. And you can act on this right without talking to your union.

And if your employer punishes or threatens to punish you for acting on your right, you may be able to make a complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. You may be able to do this instead of using the process in your collective agreement. Or you might be able to do both.

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