In its broadest meaning, reprisal is retaliation. Under The Code, reprisal is an actual or threatened, harmful act, which is linked to the enforcement of any person’s rights under The Code. As well, unlike other sections of The Code, reprisal must be intentional. For example, if a woman contacted the Human Rights Commission regarding an allegation of sexual harassment, and as a result of that contact was fired, she could file a complaint, not only for the harassment but for the reprisal as well. It does not matter if the initial contact was informal or formal, nor does it matter if the original complaint was dismissed, a detrimental action against the person for contacting the Human Rights Commission is a violation of The Code.

Reprisal not only involves penalizing someone, it could also be withholding a benefit. If, for example, an employee was denied a regular bonus because of contact with the Commission, there could be grounds for a complaint.

Those who participate in an investigation, testify at a human rights hearing, or refuse to contravene The Code and suffer from some form of reprisal, as a result, can also file a human rights complaint.