Workplace Investigations

Other Jurisdictions on Independent Claim


Other Jurisdictions in Canada

Other jurisdictions do not allow for such an independent award although the need to conduct a proper investigation of the complaint is still evident and may lead to other consequences.

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench noted in Kinch v Amoco the need to do so:

For this reason the employer must make a reasonable effort to investigate the complaint honestly and impartially.  This the defendant did.  In my view, given the nature of the complaints and the need for the defendant to take action to protect both itself and the complainants, it did act fairly in adopting the course of action it did.

B.C. will require an employer to make meaningful investigation of an apparent human rights violation. In Bertrend v Golder Associates, the employer’s decision to terminate the probationary employment of the complainant was found to be a Code violation as it failed to take steps to investigate her behaviour which reflected an emotional issue:

Ms. Bertrend’s depression does not insulate her from termination. However, once she disclosed her depression and raised an allegation of discriminatory conduct in the context of an employment offer, Golder had a responsibility to investigate Ms. Bertrend’s complaint. It had communicated that commitment to its employees under its harassment policy.

The Nova Scotia Board of Inquiry in Cromwell v Leon’s clearly concluded that the employer had an obligation to make an appropriate investigation and failed to do so. It, however, did not make an independent damage award due to this finding.

There are no cases offering an independent award for failure to investigate a complaint in other jurisdictions.