Make a complaint

Try to resolve disputes informally. If this isn't possible, you can submit a complaint to resolve a problem at work. For example, you can request payment for wages that you are owed.

Employers aren't allowed to intimidate or discriminate against you for making a complaint. This includes refusing to hire you or threatening to fire you.

On this page:

Do B.C. employment standards apply?

Not every work issue, workplace or type of work is covered by employment standards, for example:

  • Workplace safety or injuries
  • Bullying or harassment
  • Unionized or federally-regulated workplaces
  • Excluded jobs and professions

You can find out if B.C. employment standards apply to your work situation.

You can use Solution Explorer to get guidance based on your answers to questions about your particular situation.

Filing a complaint

The process can take several months. Resolving a complaint might require an investigation. You may need to be involved at certain steps in the process.

Understand the process

There is no fee to submit a complaint. You can file a complaint for yourself or on behalf of another person or a group of employees.

Most complaints are handled in order. This means we need to start investigating previous complaints before we can get to yours. We'll contact you directly when:

  • We receive and process your complaint
  • Someone is assigned to investigate your complaint

We might also need to contact you for additional information. It's important to notify the Employment Standards Branch if you change your email, phone number or mailing address.

Know the time limit

Working for the same employer. Issues will be reviewed up to one year before the date your complaint is received. You can ask that your complaint be kept confidential to protect your working relationship with your employer.

Not working for the same employer. You must file your complaint within six months of your last day of work or the last day of your temporary layoff. Issues from the last year of your employment will be reviewed.

Consent to share your contact information

We can keep your contact information private. For example, you may not want to share a new phone number or address with an employer if they do not have your current information. The rest of the complaint information is shared with the employer to proceed with an investigation, including your name.

Keeping your contact information private is not a confidential complaint.

Confidential complaints

You can submit a complaint and request to have your name and identity withheld from the employer.

If you want your name to remain confidential, you must tell us in writing when you fill out the details about your concern. When someone is assigned to investigate your complaint, they’ll discuss how confidential complaints are handled and explain if confidentiality needs to be waived to proceed with your complaint.

Third-party complaints

You can submit a complaint on behalf of one or more employees without being an employee yourself.

To submit a third-party complaint, indicate on the complaint that you're not an employee claiming personal compensation. Make sure you include specific allegations of non-compliance with B.C. employment standards.

You'll be informed of the status of the investigation, but we won't share detailed information with you.

Anonymous complaints

You can provide anonymous information about an employer without having your name and identity associated with it.

Anonymous information isn't treated as a complaint under the Employment Standards Act. In order for us to take action, the information must include specific allegations of non-compliance with B.C. employment standards.

Because the information was provided anonymously, you won't be informed of the findings or status of any investigation.

File your complaint

You can submit your complaint online in about 15 minutes.

Submit a complaint

After your complaint is filed

Employment Standards may contact one or both parties. This may include:

  • contacting complainants to gather more information
  • providing complaint details to the employer

Investigations and voluntary resolution

After a complaint is assigned to an investigator, the investigator will contact all parties and gather more details about the complaint. They will also explain the provisions of the Act. Many complaints are resolved at this stage through voluntary resolution. Otherwise, the complaint may proceed to an investigation.

If a complaint is not resolved voluntarily, the Director of Employment Standards will issue a written decision called a determination that will include mandatory administrative penalties for every contravention of the Act. The Director will then collect outstanding wages and penalties.

If you want to appeal a decision, follow the appeal process with the Employment Standards Tribunal.

Published violations

On February 1st, 2023, the Director began publishing limited information related to violations for all determinations issued on or after this date.

In accordance with section 101 of the Employment Standards Act, and section 62 of the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act, the Director may publish information relating to contraventions of the Act or Regulation including the identity of persons named in a Determination.

What you can do

If you're having issues at work, find out what you can do: