I was discriminated against. What are my options?

2. Compare your options

Each legal option has pros and cons. Here are some things to think about when comparing options.

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is the power a court or tribunal has to deal with your case. If you choose to go to a court or tribunal that doesn't have the right jurisdiction to decide your case, your case may be dismissed or cancelled.

For example, the of Ontario (HRTO) can only deal with cases that:

  • are about covered by the Human Rights Code,
  • are connected to Ontario, and
  • are not before the courts, or the subject of a court decision.

The HRTO cannot deal with discrimination by airlines or telephone companies. This is because those industries are controlled by the federal government not the government of Ontario. The HRTO website has information about which issues it has the right to decide on.

Remedies or results

Remedies or results are what you would like to get from your case or hearing. Some examples of results include:

  • money
  • a public apology
  • getting your job back
  • discipline, punishment, or training for the employees at an organization
  • Changing an organization's policies

Not every result is available with every legal option.

For example, the Ontario College of Teachers can discipline a teacher for discrimination. But the College cannot order the teacher to pay you any money.

Deadlines

Most legal options have deadlines. For example, the HRTO has a 1-year deadline. This means you must submit your within one year of experiencing discrimination. Most civil court cases have a 2-year deadline.

In some situations deadlines don't apply or may be extended. For example, sexual assault cases have no deadlines. If the discrimination happened when you were a child, the deadline may be automatically extended to a time after you become an adult.

In some situations, you can ask for a deadline extension. But you usually need a good reason to explain why you missed the deadline.

Process

Some legal processes are more formal and take a longer time. For example, if you go to a tribunal or court you have to gather evidence, testify, prepare an opening statement and a closing statement, and wait for a tribunal member or a judge to make a decision.

Others processes are less formal and faster. For example, when you complain to a professional organization you usually only need to send your complaint in writing.

Consider what process you are comfortable with.

Hide this website