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Respectful Workplace



To outline expectations, guidelines and processes which are intended to support and sustain strong cultural values related to respect in the workplace and to reinforce the importance Memorial University places on maintaining a respectful workplace.



All employees of Memorial University and all interactions an employee has in the course of performing his/her job, including interactions with students, visitors, contractors, and other employees.



Complaint - in the context of this policy is a claim by an employee that he/she has been harassed by the behaviour or conduct of one or more persons which is inconsistent with the provisions and spirit of this policy.

Harassment - any comment or conduct towards another person which is abusive, offensive or demeaning, and includes any behaviour which is based on any of the prohibited grounds of discrimination contained in the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Code.

Offensive or unwelcome conduct towards another person which is related to that person's race, religion, religious creed, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, political opinion, color, or ethnic, national or social origin constitutes harassment. Harassment may also take the form of intimidation or hostile behaviour that creates an offensive work environment.

Harassment is not:

1. Good natured gesturing when both parties find the conduct acceptable

2. Personality or interpersonal conflicts

3. Office flirtation when there is no perceived power imbalance and it is mutually acceptable. (For more information, please refer to the Sexual Harassment Policy.

4. Normal exercise of supervisory responsibilities including work assignment, performance feedback, training, coaching and/or discipline intended to support daily organizational activities. There is the expectation that these duties will be carried out in an appropriate, respectful and judicious manner.

Respectful workplace -one which promotes acceptance, is committed to diversity, and requires respect for dignity and the interests of others.



In its workplace, Memorial's goal is to ensure that all employees share the following values:

• We respect and accept the fact that we are all different from one another.

• We respect and value the views and opinions of others, even though they may differ from our own.

• We respect and value the contributions of all members of our employee community, regardless of level or role in the organization.

• We respect the needs, views and expectations of our students, members of the general public and others who study, work, or visit our community.

• We respect the property and personal interests of those around us, including those of the University itself.

• Every employee has the right to work in a respectful workplace.

Memorial will measure attainment of these values through an employee opinion survey which will be conducted biannually. As well, the University will compile a semi-annual report of complaints received through the various mechanisms that exist including this policy; the Sexual Harassment Policy and the Code of Student Conduct.

The University will be guided by the following principles in promoting a respectful workplace and in providing the processes and mechanisms necessary to ensure that issues or problems in this area are addressed in a sensitive, effective and timely manner.

2.1 All employees are entitled to work in an environment which stresses acceptance, values diversity, and is free from any form of harassment.

Harassment in any form is unacceptable. Any employee who harasses another may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

The University has a separate policy and procedure governing sexual harassment. Any employee who has a concern or complaint related specifically to sexual harassment should refer to the Sexual Harassment Policy.

Any employee of Memorial University who believes they have experienced harassment has the following options for recourse available to them:

a. The informal complaint resolution process See Section 4.0
b. The formal complaint resolution process See Section4.0
c. Any applicable grievance procedure as outlined in a relevant collective agreement
d. A complaint through The Human Rights Commission

2.2 All employees share a responsibility for ensuring a respectful workplace.

All members of the University community share a responsibility for observing the University's respectful workplace standards, and in the process defining the University's respectful workplace culture.

Supervisors, managers, deans, directors and unit heads in particular have an important role to play in this regard. They are often in a position to take preventative action or to assist with conflict resolution in its early stages.

2.3 Employees who believe that they have been affected by a violation of this Policy will have access to immediate assistance.

The processes outlined below have been designed to ensure that appropriate interventions and investigations occur as quickly as possible in situations of conflict related to respectful workplace issues.

2.4 Interventions should utilize informal and mediation-based approaches to conflict resolution wherever it is feasible to do so.

It is important that employees affected by a respectful workplace issue have a formal process of complaint resolution available to them if it is needed.

If possible, however, such issues should be resolved without relying on formal, adversarial complaint procedures. Conflict resolution which is achieved through an informal, facilitated/mediated process of mutual problem solving usually produces more effective results. It is therefore desirable that the parties involved be given the opportunity to resolve their differences in this manner, with the assistance of trained personnel available from within the University community.

2.5 Memorial will have proactive measures to ensure that all employees are aware of the responsibilities under this policy.

Proactive measures include but are not limited to developing and delivering educational programs aimed at ensuring a respectful working environment and knowledge of this Policy.


3.1 The Department of Human Resources
The Department of Human Resources is responsible for implementing and maintaining the University's Respectful Workplace Policy.

3.2 The Associate Director of Human Resources
The Associate Director of Human Resources is responsible within the Department of Human Resources for the ongoing administration of this Policy. The Associate Director's responsibilities in this regard include the following:

• Providing advice and guidance to employees, administrators and others in relation to specific workplace conflict issues; workplace issues are not necessarily issues related to a respectful workplace environment;

• As required, conducting or coordinating investigations into claims of personal harassment and other respectful workplace issues;

• Maintaining a network of qualified ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) mediators within the University who are available to provide facilitation/mediation assistance as required within the framework of this Policy, and ensuring an appropriate program of ongoing training in order to maintain this capability over time;

• As requested, providing informal facilitation or mediation assistance to parties who are attempting to resolve a respectful workplace issue, or assigning a facilitator from the University's network of trained conflict mediators as per iii above;

• Providing advice and guidance to employees, administrators and others regarding the interpretation or administration of this Policy generally and;

• Ensuring that all employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities under this Policy;

• Ongoing communications through various forms including the Employee Orientation Program, the Leadership Development Program, the Supervisory Skills Development Program, internal communications vehicles, the Human Resources website, lectures offered by faculties and the like.

3.3 Employees of Memorial University
All members of the University's employee community are required to be familiar with this Policy and are expected to conduct their work in a way which is consistent with the provisions and spirit of the Respectful Workplace policy. Employees will treat other members of the Memorial University community with dignity and respect. Employees will report any violations of this policy.

4.1 The University recognizes that workplace conflict may occur. Given this, it is important that employees have access to a process for ensuring that a valid respectful workplace concern will be addressed in a sensitive, effective and timely manner for all concerned.

4.2 Once a complaint is raised, the university is obligated to conduct an investigation and take steps to ensure that any violations of this Policy are addressed.

4.3 Employees have two (2) options available to them under the resolution process:

• Respectful Workplace Informal Complaint Resolution
• Respectful Workplace Formal Complaint Resolution

4.4 Complaints involving the President of the University should be referred to the Chair of the Board of Regents. Complaints involving the Vice-Presidents of the University should be referred to the President.

4.5 The immediate supervisor, or whichever person receives the employee's complaint in the first instance under Step 1, 2 or 3 of the Formal Complaint Resolution Process, will ensure that any person(s) identified as being the cause or origin of the offending conduct is immediately provided with a copy of the complaint; is given full opportunity to respond; and is kept informed of the status of the complaint.

4.6 An employee may be accompanied by another person of his/her choice from within the University at any or all steps of this process.

4.7 The time limits outlined in the Formal Complaint Resolution Process may be extended where appropriate.

4.8 If an employee elects, in the first instance, to pursue a respectful workplace complaint through a process external to the University (e.g., complaint to the Human Rights Commission), access to the Formal Complaint Resolution Process will not be available to the employee. If the employee chooses to do this after he/she has initiated a complaint under this section, the complaint will have been considered to be withdrawn by the employee and no further action will be required under this process. If a unionized employee chooses to utilize the grievance process available to them under the terms and conditions of the applicable collective agreement, the complaint under this Policy will be considered to have been withdrawn by the employee and no further action will be required under this process.

4.9 The Formal Complaint Resolution Process will not be available if a resolution of the same complaint was previously obtained under the Informal Complaint Resolution Process, in a manner acceptable to the employee.

4.10 Nothing in this Policy is intended to modify in any way the University's right to impose disciplinary action where it is appropriate and justified in a given set of circumstances.

4.11 False allegations - Individuals filing complaints under this Policy must do so in good faith and have reasonable grounds for the complaint. The University does not condone false allegations of harassment. All complaints of harassment are serious. Therefore, employees who deliberately file a false allegation will be subject to discipline up to and including dismissal.

The privacy interests of both employees and the University itself are to be respected at all times.

All discussions, correspondence and other communications related to a complaint under this Policy shall be treated by all parties directly involved in those communications as being confidential. They shall be handled in accordance with the requirements of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPP) and the University's Privacy Policy and shall not be disclosed to any other party without the prior knowledge of the employee(s) alleging the complaint; any employee(s) named in the complaint; and the Associate Director of Human Resources or the Director of Faculty Relations, except as required by law. Documentation of any discipline relating to a complaint under this Policy will be treated in accordance with established University procedures.

Information of a general nature regarding this Policy may be obtained by calling the Employee Relations section of the Department of Human Resources at 864-4628 or the Director of Faculty Relations. More specific inquiries may be addressed to the following:

Associate Director
Department of Human Resources
Telephone: 864-4766

Director of Faculty Relations
Department of Faculty Relations
Telephone: 864-4732


Related Documents:

Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATTIPP)

Code of Student Conduct

Department of Human Resources

Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual Harassment Office

Privacy Policy




Title: Respectful Workplace
Category : People Resources Approval Date: 2007-05-22
Effective Date : 2007-05-22 Review Date: 2011-05-22
The Vice-President (Administration and Finance) through the Director of Human Resources
Vice-President (Administration & Finance)

Department of Human Resources 709-864-4628

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