The Law Society provides its members, articled students, law students and support staff working for legal employers in BC with the services of an Equity Ombudsperson to deter workplace discrimination and discriminatory harassment.

Role of the Equity Ombudsperson

The Equity Ombudsperson assists individuals and firms with resolving concerns about discrimination and discriminatory harassment.

The Equity Ombudsperson is an employee of the Law Society of British Columbia in the Practice Advice department. Calls to the Equity Ombudsperson will remain strictly confidential, protected by the same measures that safeguard the confidentiality of all calls to Practice Advisors.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination in the workplace may involve unwelcome comments or actions that relate to:

  • race
  • colour
  • ancestry
  • place of origin
  • political belief
  • religion
  • marital status
  • family status
  • physical or mental disability
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity or expression
  • age
  • conviction of a criminal or summary conviction offence that is unrelated to the employment or intended employment of that person.

It is the impact of the behaviour — not the intention behind it — that determines if the behaviour is discriminatory.

What is discriminatory harassment?

Discriminatory harassment in the workplace can take many forms, including:

  • name-calling
  • racial slurs
  • religious jokes
  • sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on sex and may include:

  • unwanted touching, sexual flirtation, advances or propositions
  • leering
  • suggestive comments about a person's sexuality or sexual orientation
  • unwanted questions about a person's sex life
  • persistent unwanted contact or attention after the end of a consensual relationship.

What can the Equity Ombudsperson do to help?

  • Intake and advice: Receive inquiries, provide information and discuss options.
  • Mediation: Resolve concerns informally with the consent of both the complainant and respondent.
  • Reporting: Provide anonymized statistical reports on the incidents of discrimination and discriminatory harassment dealt with by the Equity Ombudsperson, as well as the proactive measures undertaken by the Equity Ombudsperson to prevent discrimination and discriminatory harassment in the legal profession.

 

Contact the Equity Ombudsperson

You can reach Equity Ombudsperson Claire Marchant at equity@lsbc.org, 604.605.5303.