Human Rights and Employment Helpline

Nelligan Law is standing in solidarity with the Ottawa community to help eradicate racism in our community. We recognize that one of the largest issues facing Black, Indigenous and other marginalized groups is systemic and direct discrimination they face related to their employment.

With that in mind, we have expanded our free employment helpline (which to date provided assistance to individuals with COVID-19 employment questions) to provide free assistance to employees in Ontario related to their human rights in employment. The goal is to provide individuals with information related to systemic and direct discrimination they may be experiencing on hiring, in their workplace or after their employment has ended.

Helpline number: 613-231-8275

Available Monday to Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm EST

That said, the helpline is not just confined to questions of relating to racial discrimination. Individuals with questions about discrimination related to any human rights grounds under Ontario’s Human Rights Code can call to speak with one of our legal professionals. Those grounds are:

  • Age
  • Ancestry, colour, race
  • Citizenship
  • Ethnic origin
  • Place of origin
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status (including single status)
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Receipt of public assistance (in housing only)
  • Record of offences (in employment only)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Sexual orientation

What is it?

Free access to a 20 minute consult with a lawyer or legal professional to help you navigate your legal questions regarding your human rights in the workplace.

What can I expect?

A 20 minute consultation with a lawyer or articling student who will help you better understand your legal situation, rights and decisions to be made. The information provided is meant to direct your path – if you have a legal issue that merits further legal action, you will be informed during the consultation on how to pursue legal action.  Please note that the lawyers intend to provide brief services. They do not create an ongoing lawyer-client relationship with you.

We can:

  • Help you understand your legal rights;
  • Outline options;
  • Guide you on the process;

We cannot:

  • Provide comprehensive legal opinions or predict outcomes;
  • Review contracts or any other documents;
  • Provide specific recommendations;
  • Provide second opinions;
  • Guarantee representation in court;
  • Take responsibility to prepare any documents unless retained;

Please note that in order to avoid any conflict of interest, specifics related to your situation including employer/employee names and contract details can not be discussed.

Who can call?

This service is for employees needing information about their the workplace.

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide this service to unionized employees. If you are a unionized employee, please contact your union representative.

We are currently able to provide this service for residents and workplaces in Ontario.

Additional information about our helpline

How does it work?

  • Each day we will dedicate a team of lawyers to support the helpline.
  • 20 minutes time slots will be available for sign-up on a first come/first serve basis at the start of each day
  • To book a time-slot, please call 613-231-8275. The booking line will be open at 9:00 am. Once your time slot is booked, you will be provided with a call time and meeting details.
  • We will also post an update on this site to let you know when the spots are full.
  • The time slots that are available will depend on the team available. We are striving to provide a mix of morning, afternoon and evening time slots to accommodate your varied needs.

Will I still need a lawyer?

  • Maybe. While we would like to be more concrete, it really depends on your situation. Our goal is to have you leave the consult knowing what your options are and where to go next. For some, this may involve additional legal services.

Can I call about non-human rights related issues?

No. This service has been created in response to systemic and direct discrimination in our community, and as such, is confined to human rights related issues.

If you have a question about a COVID-19 related issue, you can find information about our COVID-19 Helpline here.

Will I have to pay?

  • No. The service is free. Should you require additional services to resolve your situation you may need to hire a lawyer. The objective of this service is to help you understand your options on next steps.