What are my rights as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) person at work?

You have the right to be free from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Your employer cannot directly or indirectly ask about your sexual orientation, sex (which includes transgender status), or same-sex partnership status.

According to the Ontario Human Rights Code, you have the right to work in an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans (transgender and transsexual) queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) persons.

Employment includes full-time and part-time work, contract positions, and temporary work.

Harassment at work can include:

  • Jokes, comments or hints about a person’s sexual orientation or transgender status
  • Homophobic or transphobic signs or cartoons being displayed
  • Being unfairly targeted

Discrimination can come from a person or from rules and policies. It can include:

  • Being denied a promotion or being fired because of sexual orientation, gender identity or same-sex relationship
  • Unequal employee benefits on the basis of same-sex relationship status
  • Dress codes that negatively impact trans workers

For More Information

  • Sexual Orientation and Human Rights - Find out more about the protection offered by the Ontario Human Rights Code, including definitions of harassment and discrimination. From the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
  • EGALE - EGALE is a Canadian LGBTQ+ human rights organization that advances equality, diversity, education and justice.
  • Human Rights Complaint Guides - Easy-to-read guides about how to file a claim, how a claim is processed, how to respond if a complaint is filed against you. From The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
  • Human Rights Legal Support Centre - If you believe you have been discriminated against, you can contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre for free legal advice and support.
Last updated: September 22, 2016 4001546