Your rights as an employee in Alberta are protected by federal and provincial laws. These rights include the right to a safe working environment, the right to earn a minimum wage, and the right to dispute any violations of your rights in the workplace without retaliation.
Alberta Employment Standards & Human Rights
All Canadian employees have rights that are protected by federal legislation detailed in the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Employment Equity Act, and the Canada Labour Code. Alberta employees are protected by additional legal rights protected by the Alberta Human Rights Act, the Employment Standards Code, and the Labour Relations Code.
These laws are in place to maintain employment standards that protect hard-working Alberta employees. As an employee in Alberta, you have rights to pay, health, safety, and freedom from discrimination in the workplace.
Independent contractors are generally exempt from provincial employment standards because they are self-employed.
Alberta Human Rights Act
The Alberta Human Rights Act protects Albertans from discrimination based on race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical or mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status, or sexual orientation.
Employment Standards Code
Alberta’s Employment Standards Code protects most non-unionized Alberta employees. It regulates:
- Employment records
- Hours of work
- Overtime and overtime pay
- Holidays and holiday pay
- Vacations and vacation pay
- Maternity leave and parental leave
- Reservist leave
- Compassionate care leave
- Death or disappearance of a child leave
- Critical illness of a child leave
- Long-term illness and injury leave
- Personal and family responsibility leave
- COVID-19 vaccination leave
- Bereavement leave
- Leave for citizenship ceremony
- Other leaves
- Employment termination
- Layoffs and recall
- Restriction of employment of children
Labour Relations Code
The Labour Relations Code applies to most unionized employees of Alberta. It governs:
- Union certification and recognition
- Modification and revocation of bargaining rights
- Post-secondary academic bargaining
- Collective bargaining
- Strikes, lockouts, and picketing
Employee Pay Standards in Alberta
All Albertan employees—full-time and part-time—have the right to earn a minimum wage, which is currently $15.00 per hour. They also have the right to take statutory holidays off with pay. If the employee works on the holiday, they’re entitled to 1.5 times their usual hourly wage, or regular wages but a different day off with pay.
Alberta supports equal pay for men and women. Discrimination in the workplace based on gender is prohibited by the Alberta Human Rights Act. Gender equality also applies to employment practices beyond pay, including hiring, promotion, and dismissal.
Alberta employers are prohibited from deducting wages from an employee’s paycheque in the following scenarios.
- If the employee is sent home because there’s a lack of work. Employers must pay a minimum of 3 hours’ wages per shift.
- If an employee breaks something during work, the cost of the breakage cannot be deducted from the employee’s wages, but it can be deducted from tips.
- If the cash register is short and anyone else had access to it. However, if the employee is the only one who had access, the shortage can be deducted from their pay.
Health & Safety in the Workplace
Rules for health and safety in Alberta’s workplaces fall under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, but the Human Rights Act also applies here.
Alberta employers have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of all employees. This includes protecting the rights of all Alberta employees to a workplace free of discrimination and bullying in all aspects of the workplace, including advertising, hiring, employment terms and conditions, and terminations.
Canadian employers are also required to accommodate their employees’ protected grounds, such as physical or mental disability, or religious beliefs. This demands that employers take reasonable measures to accommodate, even if it means significant hardship for the employer, including financial loss or business disruption.
Are Your Rights As An Alberta Employee Respected?
One of the most important protections for Alberta employees is the right to report employer violations without retaliation. This is crucial to protecting employment rights because, without the freedom to report violations, employee rights can’t be protected. Reports and disputes are a form of accountability and ensure that the rights of Alberta employees are respected.
All Alberta employers are held to the same employment standards. These are clearly defined by law, yet many employees assume violations are acceptable because it’s normal practice in their industry, or for various other reasons.
If you’re an employee in Alberta, you’re legally protected from working too many hours, receiving inadequate pay, working in an unsafe environment, and many other employment issues.
What Can I Do If My Rights Are Violated At Work?
If your rights as an Alberta employee are violated at work, don’t tolerate it. Alberta law protects you.
An employment lawyer at Getz Collins and Associates can review your situation and help you understand the law and how it applies to you. We can support you in disputing any employment standards violations and fight for the protection of your rights. Contact us today.