Interpretation Guidelines Manual British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulations


ESA Section 83 – Employee not to be mistreated because of complaint or investigation


Text of Legislation
Policy Interpretation
Related Information


This section prohibits an employer from mistreating an employee once a complaint has been filed or an investigation undertaken.

Text of Legislation

83. (1) An employer must not

(a) refuse to employ or refuse to continue to employ a person,

(b) threaten to dismiss or otherwise threaten a person,

(c) discriminate against or threaten to discriminate against a person with respect to employment or a condition of employment, or

(d) intimidate or coerce or impose a monetary or other penalty on a person, because a complaint or investigation may be or has been made under this Act or because an appeal or other action may be or has been taken or information may be or has been supplied under this Act.

Policy Interpretation

Employees and prospective employees must not be intimidated or penalized for pursuing their rights under this Act, or for assisting the director in enforcing those rights. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against a person who has made a complaint or any other person because of an action taken under this Act.

An employer cannot terminate an employee, or change a condition of employment without the employee's consent, because the employee has filed or may file a complaint under this Act, or because the employee has supplied, or may supply, information to the director.

The Act should not be interpreted to limit or otherwise affect the right of an employer to discharge, suspend, transfer, lay off, or otherwise discipline an employee for proper cause. Employers are also able to make reasonable, business-related changes in the operation of their business.

If the employer is found to be in contravention of this section, the director can issue a determination against the employer under ss.79 (1) and (2) of the Act.

The determination will also include an escalating monetary penalty against the employer, subject to s.98 of the Act.

Related Information

Related sections of the Act or Regulation



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