Respectful Workplace Policy (This policy replaces the Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy) Issue Date: June 19, 2008 Supersedes Issue of: February 27, 2003 Policy Number: 4000‐5‐6 _________________________________________________________________________ 1. POLICY 1.1 Lambton College is committed to providing a safe and respectful workplace free from all forms of harassment and discrimination consistent with the principles of the Ontario Human Rights Code which recognize the dignity and worth of every person and provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. 1.2 It is the responsibility of each member of the College community to behave in a safe and respectful manner that contributes to an environment free of harassment and discrimination so that work and learning can take place in an environment of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and rights of each individual. 1.3 The College is committed to treat seriously all complaints of harassment, whether they are made informally or formally. The College will act on all complaints to ensure that they are resolved quickly, confidentially and fairly. 1.4 The College is committed to an ongoing program of information and education concerning harassment, discrimination and bullying. Lambton College will ensure that: 1.4.1 Every student, employee and contractor will have access to a plain language version of this policy and procedure. 1.4.2 Managers and others in authority will be made aware of their responsibilities and rights under the policy and procedure (and the Code) in creating and maintaining an environment free from harassment and discrimination. 1.4.3 The policy statement will be posted in adequate numbers and in visible and accessible locations. Respectful Workplace Policy Page 2 of 10 Policy No. 4000‐5‐6 1.5 This policy applies during all College functions and the execution of all College duties, both on and off campus, to all members of the College community: • employees; • students; • members of the Board of Governors; • members of the committees established by the College; • contractors such as those undertaking construction, provision of service or research; • visitors and guests. 1.6 An internal resolution process will be available to students and employees who believe that they have been the object of harassment, discrimination or bullying. 1.7 Confidentiality will be honoured. The College will not disclose a complainant’s or alleged harasser’s name, or any circumstances related to a complaint to anyone, except as necessary to investigate or take disciplinary action related to the complaint, or as required by law. 1.8 Nothing in this Policy and Procedures is intended to prevent a complainant from referring his/her complaint to the Human Rights Commission or from using the grievance procedure in the collective agreement, if applicable. 2. DEFINITIONS 2.1 Discrimination means any action or behaviour that results in unfavourable or adverse treatment based on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin (including language, dialect, or accent), citizenship, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital or family status, record of provincial offences or pardoned federal offences, disability or receipt of public assistance. (The preceding constitute “prohibited grounds.”) Discrimination may include, but is not restricted to: • refusal to provide goods, services, facilities or accommodation; • exclusion from employment or employment benefits; • refusal to work with, teach or study with someone; • failure to provide physical access. 2.2 Harassment is one or a series of vexatious comments, or conduct related to one or more of the prohibited grounds that is known or might reasonably be known to be unwelcome, unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate. It may include, but is not limited to, gestures, remarks, jokes, taunting, innuendo, display of offensive materials, offensive graffiti, threats, verbal or physical assault, imposition of academic penalties, hazing, stalking, shunning or exclusion Respectful Workplace Policy Page 3 of 10 Policy No. 4000‐5‐6 2.3 Sexual or Gender Harassment is one or a series of comments, or conduct of a gender‐related or sexual nature that is known or might reasonably be known to be unwelcome, unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate. This harassment may include, but is not restricted to, gestures, remarks, jokes, slurs, taunting, innuendo, threats, sexual assault, unwanted physical contact, invitations, leering, the display of sexually offensive material, solicitation, demands, unwanted attention, implied or expressed promise of reward or benefit in return for sexual favours, implied or expressed threat or act of reprisal if sexual favours are not given. 2.4 Negative Environment is created by one or a series of comments, or conduct that creates a negative environment for individuals or groups and is related to the prohibited grounds. The comment or conduct must be of a significant nature or degree and have the effect of “poisoning” the work or study environment. A complainant does not have to be the direct target to be adversely affected by a negative environment. A negative environment arises from conduct or comment that creates and maintains an offensive, hostile or intimidating climate for study or work. These actions may include, but are not restricted to, exposure to graffiti, signs, cartoons, remarks, exclusion, adverse treatment related to one or more of the prohibited grounds. 2.5 Systemic Harassment or Discrimination include policies, practices, procedures, actions or inactions that appear neutral, but have an adverse impact associated with one of the prohibited grounds. These actions may include, but are not limited to, stereotypical portrayal of groups/individuals in materials, attendance policies that do not accommodate religious responsibilities, height and/or weight restrictions in course selection criteria and/or job postings that are not bona fide qualifications. 2.6 Bullying is defined as acts of harassment that usually centre around unwanted, offensive and intrusive behaviour with a sexual, racial or physical component. It includes similar behaviours but differs from harassment in that the focus is rarely based on gender, race or disability. The focus is on the individual’s competence, or lack of competence as portrayed by the bully. Bullying is intended to intimidate, offend, demean, humiliate or degrade. It can be directed at one employee; at other times it is not aimed at anyone in particular but is part of generally hostile behaviour that has a toxic effect on the workplace. Bullying may occur verbally, in writing or online. Bullying may include but is not restricted to: persistently and excessively criticizing and scrutinizing the victim’s work without justification; spreading malicious rumours; belittling the victim’s opinions; spying on or stalking the victim; tampering with the victim’s desk, workspace or belongings; excluding or ignoring the victim; undermining or sabotaging the victim’s work by, say, setting unreasonable deadlines or withholding key information; engaging in physically abusive or aggressive behaviour such as pushing, hitting, spitting, Respectful Workplace Policy Page 4 of 10 Policy No. 4000‐5‐6 finger pointing or aggressively invading the victim’s personal space. For the purposes of this policy, bullying is considered to be a form of harassment and is understood to be included in all references to harassment. 2.7 Reasonable Action by an employer (or manager) in the course of managing the workplace is not bullying. Exercising appropriate supervisory, instructional and evaluation responsibilities, including conducting performance appraisals, enforcing standards, and taking corrective/discipline action does not constitute discrimination or harassment and is not contrary to the Policy. Examples of reasonable action include, but are not limited to the transfer, demotion, discipline, counsel or dismissal of an employee in a reasonable manner; a decision, based on reasonable grounds and facts, not to promote or grant another benefit in connection with an employee’s employment or performance. 2.8 Reprisals or Retaliation is discrimination, harassment or bullying of an individual for invoking this Policy and for participating or cooperating in an investigation under this Policy or for associating with someone who has invoked this Policy or participated in the Policy’s procedures. 2.9 Vexatious or Bad Faith Complaint is one in which a complainant makes allegations of harassment, discrimination or bullying knowing them to be false or submits a complaint for a purely malicious or vindictive purpose. 3. REFERENCES/RESOURCES 3.1 Canadian Human Rights Commission 3.2 Ontario Human Rights Code 3.3 Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act College Policies 3.4 2000‐2‐6 Students Rights and Responsibilities and Discipline Policy 3.5 4000‐3‐1 College Safety Policy 3.6 4000‐3‐5 Personal Safety and Security Threats Policy 4. INTERNAL RESOLUTION PROCESS A complainant may contact the Human Rights Commission directly, even when steps are being undertaken under the policy. The Collective Agreements with Academic and Support Staff specifically prohibit discrimination and sexual harassment, and bargaining unit employees may access this additional avenue of resolution. Administrative Staff may also refer to their terms and conditions of employment. Students may also refer to the College’s Policy and Procedure on Student Rights and Responsibilities. Respectful Workplace Policy Page 5 of 10 Policy No. 4000‐5‐6 During any or all stages of resolution, either party may be accompanied by an internal Support Person. This Support Person may be a co‐worker, friend, a union representative or a representative from the Student Administrative Council. The role of the Internal Support Person is to give support to the person requesting such by listening, consulting, and accompanying, and ensuring a fair process is followed. The Internal Support Person is not to advocate on behalf of the person or to play any other role in the process. The person can in no way obstruct the process. 4.1 INFORMAL COMPLAINT If harassment or discrimination is suspected, it is advised that the following steps be taken: 4.1.1 The recipient of any harassment or discrimination should tell the perpetrator very clearly that his/her behaviour is not welcome, giving him/her the opportunity to correct his/her action(s). 4.1.2 The recipient should keep written notes about the incident(s) and what he/she did about it. 4.1.3 If the action continues, the recipient should consult a Counsellor, a Union representative, Human Resources Department staff, the Registrar, Health Centre Staff or anyone in Management. (herein after called the Advisor). Following consultation with the Advisor, the recipient may decide to take further action and so becomes a complainant or may decide to take no further action, in which case the Advisor may choose not to proceed and the matter will be closed without any record of the same. However, if the Advisor deems that there has been a potential violation of this policy, the process will move to Article 4.2.1. The Advisor will notify the recipient, now Complainant, of this action. If either the Complainant or the Respondent is an employee, the Director of Human Resources must be consulted by the Advisor if the matter proceeds beyond article 4.2.1 of the procedure. Similarly, if either the Complainant or the Respondent is a student, the Registrar must be consulted if the matter proceeds further. As well, if either the Complainant or the Respondent is a contractor, the College Supervisor who engaged the services of the contractor must be consulted if the matter proceeds further. Respectful Workplace Policy Page 6 of 10 Policy No. 4000‐5‐6 4.1.4 If requested by the Complainant, the Advisor may intervene on his/her behalf, in which case the Advisor will attempt to resolve the problem. 4.1.5 If the Complainant chooses, he/she may request mediation (attempt to reach a settlement with the help of a third party) see 4.2 below or may choose to file a formal complaint, see 4.3 below. 4.2 MEDIATION PROCESS The purpose of the mediation will be to achieve a mutually satisfactory resolution. If this is achieved, a mutually agreed‐upon resolution will be signed by both parties and the mediator. A copy of this agreement will be provided to each party and the Director of Human Resources. 4.2.1 An impartial mediator agreeable to both parties will be assigned by the Director, Human Resources. This mediator must be a qualified mediator with experience or training in Human Rights mediation and not employed by the College. In the event that the parties cannot agree on a mediator, the Complainant may proceed to make a formal complaint. 4.2.2 The mediator will keep a record of the dates of all meetings with the parties and whether or not the mediation was successful. This file will be forwarded to the Director of Human Resources. 4.2.3 Mediation shall be completed within thirty (30) working days of the determination of the mediator. 4.2.4 The College will be responsible for administrative costs. 4.2.5 In the event that mediation fails or if the complainant wishes to pursue more formal complaint procedures, the complainant shall file a Statement of Complaint with the Director, Human Resources as per Section 5.3 within twenty (20) days after mediation has terminated. 4.3 FORMAL COMPLAINT All complaints are to be made in good faith as soon as is practicable and, in any event, not later than six months after the occurrence upon which the complaint is based. If the Complainant wishes to proceed with a formal complaint, the following shall occur. 4.3.1 The Complainant will file a written, signed complaint with the Director, Human Resources. If the Respondent is the Director, Respectful Workplace Policy Page 7 of 10 Policy No. 4000‐5‐6 Human Resources, the signed complaint must be filed directly with the Vice‐President Finance & Administration (herein after called the Vice‐President). The complaint shall include details of the alleged incident of harassment or discrimination including dates, times, places and names of witnesses. 4.3.2 The Director, Human Resources shall inform the Respondent that a complaint has been made and provide the Respondent with a copy of the complaint including any supporting material or documents received from the Complainant. 4.3.3 Within seven (7) days of receipt of the complaint, the Respondent shall make a response, either orally or in writing, to the Director, Human Resources who will provide the Complainant with a copy of the response. 4.3.4 If the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of both the Complainant and Respondent at this point, the matter will be closed and the Respondent may request, in writing, that all records of the complaint be removed from his/her file. If there is no resolution satisfactory to both the Complainant and Respondent, either party may request the Director, Human Resources to conduct a formal investigation of the complaint. The request must be made within seven (7) days from the date of response. 4.3.5 Within seven (7) days of receiving the request for a formal investigation, the Director, Human Resources shall appoint two trained reviewers to investigate the alleged incident of harassment or discrimination and make recommendations to deal with the complaint. 4.3.6 The reviewers shall consider all evidence pertaining to the alleged harassment or discrimination, including oral and/or written submissions by the Complainant, the Respondent, witnesses to the alleged incident(s), and any other evidence deemed relevant by the reviewers. All details of the investigation, including names of all participants, shall be held in strict confidence by the reviewers. Within thirty (30) days from the time the reviewers are appointed, they shall submit their written findings and recommendations to the Director, Human Resources. 4.3.7 If the reviewers find that the complaint is justified under the College’s Policy Concerning Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying, they shall make recommendations to the appropriate (supervises or is responsible for respondent) Vice‐President. Recommended action could include, but is not limited to, any of the following: education, training, counselling, a reprimand, a private or public apology, relief Respectful Workplace Policy Page 8 of 10 Policy No. 4000‐5‐6 from specific duties, transfer, suspension, dismissal or expulsion, removal from residence, reassessment of academic work and shall be undertaken pursuant to the relevant College policy or collective agreement. Efforts will be made to protect the Complainant from any subsequent harassment, discrimination, or reprisal that might arise as a result of the complaint. 4.3.8 If the reviewers find the complaint is not justified under the policy, the reviewers will recommend action to the appropriate Vice‐ President. 4.3.9 The Vice‐President shall determine the action to be taken, considering the report of the reviewers. The action may include complete exoneration of the Respondent, disciplinary action against the Respondent or Complainant, including dismissal or expulsion in accordance with established policies and procedures, the provisions of existing collective agreements and terms and conditions of employment or contract cancellation if the Respondent is a contractor. Within two weeks of receipt of the reviewers’ report, the Vice‐ President will convey the decision in writing to all parties. The decision is final. If an employee is to be disciplined, the Vice‐ President shall notify the employee which step of the Employee Discipline Procedure is being applied. 4.3.10 A Respondent who has been exonerated may request a letter of confirmation from the appropriate Vice‐President and removal of the recorded complaint from the Respondent’s student or personnel file. 4.3.11 In the event that the Director, Human Resources is the subject of the complaint, the appropriate Vice‐President shall designate a person to stand in place of the official in the resolution of the complaint as provided in this procedure. In the event that the Vice‐President is the subject of the complaint, the President shall stand in the place of the Vice‐President in the resolution of the complaint as provided in this policy. In the event that the President is the subject of the complaint, the Chair of the Board of Governors shall stand in the place of the President in the resolution of the complaint as provided in this policy. In the event that the Chair of the Board of Governors is the subject of the complaint, the 1st Vice‐Chair of the Board of Governors shall stand in the place of the Chair. Respectful Workplace Policy Page 9 of 10 Policy No. 4000‐5‐6 4.4 BEHAVIOUR REQUIRING AN INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSE 4.4.1 In circumstances where the complainant is an individual or a group of people being harassed or discriminated against, either by an unknown person or by a group of unknown individuals, a request for action may require an institutional response rather than an individual one. In this situation, the complainant(s) should consult with the Director, Human Resources. If formal action is warranted, a group or individual may make a formal allegation in writing, through the above‐named official, to the appropriate Vice‐President who will have the matter investigated. 4.4.2 When a member of the College community does not wish to or cannot make a complaint, he/she may wish to make a person in a position of authority (as determined by the circumstance) aware of alleged incidents of harassment or discrimination. In the case of a student complaint, the person in a position of authority may be an employee or a representative of the Student Administrative Council. In the case of an employee complaint, the person in a position of authority may be any member of the Administrative staff or a Union executive. The person in the position of authority has a responsibility to notify the Director, Human Resources regarding the allegation. If the Director, Human Resources deems that there has been a potential violation of the policy, the College has the responsibility to invoke the process outlined in this policy. 4.4.3 At the conclusion of the investigation, the appropriate Vice‐President shall have the option of publishing the findings and recommendations and a summary of the action taken. All names will be excluded. Complaint Forms may be accessed on the Human Resources website.