What can I do if my employer has carried out a reprisal against me?
If you think your employer has broken the law by carrying out a reprisal, you can complain to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). The OLRB will hear the case and decide if your employer broke the law.
If you are a member of a union, you can file a grievance under your collective agreement instead of complaining to the OLRB. If you are a union member, you should speak to someone from your union.
What can the OLRB do?
If the OLRB decides that your employer broke the law, it has the power to order your employer to:
- pay you for your losses, including lost wages
- give you your job back if you were fired
- do something else that the OLRB decides is necessary to correct the reprisal
How can I complain to the OLRB?
If you want the OLRB to look at your case, you can:
- file a written application describing what happened to you and what you would like the OLRB to do, or
- ask for a Ministry of Labour Occupational Health and Safety Inspector to make a referral to the OLRB
Either of these options will start your case at the OLRB.
What will happen once the OLRB receives my complaint?
First, the OLRB may ask you or your employer to provide more information. Once the OLRB has the information it needs, it will schedule a mediation. If the mediation is not successful, the OLRB will hold a hearing or consultation. After the hearing or consultation, the OLRB will send you a decision in writing.
What is a mediation?
A mediation is a meeting where the OLRB tries to get you and your employer to agree on a way to resolve your complaint. At the mediation, a Labour Relations Officer who works for the OLRB will meet with you and your employer to see if you can reach an agreement, called a settlement.
If you both agree on a way to end the complaint, the details of the settlement will be written down for you and your employer to review and sign. A settlement is a legal agreement, so you need to be sure you understand it and agree with it before signing. If a settlement is reached, your complaint is over.
What are hearings and consultations?
If you and your employer don’t reach a settlement, the OLRB will schedule a hearing or a consultation.
A hearing is like going to court, but the decision-maker is an OLRB Vice-Chair instead of a judge. The Vice-Chair will listen to you and your employer, as well as any witnesses. You will present your case and ask questions of witnesses.
A consultation is similar to a hearing, but it is less formal. The Vice-Chair usually takes a more active role than in a hearing, such as asking more questions and trying to identify the issues. Consultations often happen when workers and employers do not have representatives.
When does the OLRB make a decision?
After the hearing or consultation, the OLRB will make a decision. Decisions are in writing and include detailed reasons, so you may have to wait some time until you know the result.
What will be in the decision?
The decision will tell you whether the OLRB agrees that your employer carried out a reprisal. If the OLRB decides that your employer did carry out a reprisal, the decision will also tell you if the employer has to pay you for your losses, including lost wages or give you your job back. If the OLRB decides your employer did not carry out a reprisal, your complaint will be dismissed and you will not receive anything.
This publication contains general information only. It is not legal advice about a particular situation and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified representative. This publication was last updated on the revision date listed below.
January 9, 2013