In an application under s. 34 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, the burden of proof lies with the applicant. Once the applicant has established a prima facie case of discrimination, the burden then shifts to the respondent to justify their conduct.
In a recent matter heard before the Human Rights Tribunal of Alberta (the Tribunal), it was decided that an employer discriminated against its employee in the course of her employment, on the ground of gender, in both sexual harassment and pregnancy. Such action is contrary to the Alberta Human Rights Act. In coming to its conclusion, the Tribunal had to address whether the employee had established a prima facie case of discrimination. If so, did the employer have a defence to the discrimination?