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Respectful Workplace

  

Purpose:

To support a climate of respect in the workplace where individuals or groups of individuals are free from harassment and discrimination; to promote awareness and create an understanding of what is considered harassment; to provide a mechanism to have harassment concerns and complaints addressed and eliminated from the workplace and learning environment; and to respond to Memorial University’s responsibility under the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act, SNL 2010.

 

Scope:

All employees of the University

Memorial University has a separate Sexual Harassment Policy.

 

Definitions:

Complainant – An employee who believes that he/she has been subjected to harassment who seeks recourse pursuant to this Policy.

Complaint – A written statement of allegation concerning harassment by a complainant seeking recourse pursuant to this Policy.

Concern – A situation which is of concern to an employee regarding harassment and which the employee wishes to resolve informally and expeditiously.

Harassment – means comments or conduct which are abusive, offensive, demeaning or vexatious that are known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome and which may be intended or unintended. Types of harassment include Harassment based on Prohibited Grounds of Discrimination and Personal Harassment.

Harassment may occur during a single incident or a series of single incidents. Whether or not a single incident constitutes harassment will depend on the nature and type of incident(s).
Harassment, for example, does not include:

a. Interpersonal conflict or disagreement, which is expressed in a respectful manner; or
b. Performance management, attendance management or workplace discipline, which is expressed in a respectful and appropriate manner.

Legal Authorities - the legal entities, external to the University, who have the responsibility and jurisdiction to uphold and enforce the law including the Criminal Code of Canada (i.e. Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary).

Non-University Person - includes but is not limited to volunteers, contractors and their employees and agents, vendors of goods and services and their employees and agents, visitors to the University.

Prohibited Grounds of Discrimination – Race, Colour, Nationality, Ethnic Origin, Social Origin, Religious Creed, Religion, Age, Disability, Disfigurement, Sex (including pregnancy), Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Marital Status, Family Status, Source of Income, Political Opinion.

Respondent – An employee (s) against whom an allegation of Harassment has been made pursuant to this Policy.

Retaliation - any threat of reprisal or any attempt to intimidate and/or any adverse behaviour or action, taken against an employee in response to that employee:

  • having invoked this Policy;
  • having participated or cooperated in any investigation under this Policy; or
  • having been associated with an employee who has invoked this Policy or participated in these procedures.

Unit Head - For the purposes of this Policy, Unit Head is the term used to mean Deans, Department Heads, Division Heads, Heads of Schools, Directors, Executive Directors, University Librarian, University Registrar and other senior administrators at a comparable level; Associate Vice-Presidents, Vice-Presidents, the President, as applicable.

University – Memorial University of Newfoundland.

University-related Activity – Any type of activity that is directly related to or rises out of the operations of the University at any location.  All activities on the University’s campuses are University-related unless they are within the control of an organization or group external to the University.

Working Day - shall mean a weekday when the University is open for the transaction of administrative business.

Workplace Assessment – an independent third party review of the work environment in a particular unit with goals consistent with the purpose of this Policy.

 

Policy:

1. General

 1.1 All employees must respect the rights of other employees of the University. Employees must comply with the provisions of this Policy including the confidentiality obligations and the expectation to participate in any procedures taken under this Policy and its procedures.  

1.2 The early resolution of Concerns is a primary objective of this Policy. All attempts should be made to resolve any Concerns or conflict as soon as possible, in a fair and respectful manner without invoking the formal complaint process. Every reasonable effort should be made to resolve the Concern early with open communication and in a responsive manner, which may include mechanisms such as coaching, mediation, training, counselling, facilitation and use of the University’s Employee Assistance Program. See Procedure for Early Resolution of Respectful Workplace Concerns.

1.3 Unit Heads bear the specific and primary responsibility for promoting an environment free from Harassment. They are expected to act on this responsibility. Unit Heads are to lead by example, to take reasonable measures to ensure an environment that is free from Harassment, to address incidents of possible Harassment that occur in their unit in a timely and confidential manner, and to keep appropriate documentation of action taken. In addition, Unit Heads should seek appropriate advice and guidance to carry out these responsibilities, from either the Office of Faculty Relations or the Department of Human Resources.

1.4 There are two methods for addressing issues of Harassment under this Policy. These are early resolution of concerns or the complaint process.

1.5 This Policy and related Procedures do not restrict the right of individuals to file a complaint with the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission, make use of the Criminal Code of Canada or appropriate collective agreements or take other legal action. Complaints that are pursued under one of these processes, may be held in abeyance under this Policy.

1.6 Conflicts in the workplace involving disruptive, threatening or violent behaviour where an employee’s personal safety and security may be in danger must be reported immediately to appropriate campus enforcement or security officials on the respective campus or to Legal Authorities, in accordance with the University’s Assessment and Care Protocol.

2. Complaint Process

 2.1 If early resolution is not successful or not appropriate, or the behaviour continues or reoccurs, an Employee may seek to file a Complaint. Such a Complaint may be made by an Employee against another Employee and must:

3. Jurisdiction

 3.1 Non-University Persons who have concerns about Harassment at the University or at a University-related event may express their concerns to the Director of Human Resource, who may refer the concern to an appropriate unit. This Policy and its related Procedures may be used where a Non-University Person expresses a Concern or makes a Complaint against an employee. 

3.2 A Concern or Complaint against a Non-University Person should be reported to either the Associate Director (Employee/Labour Relations and Consulting Services) or the Associate Director, Office of Faculty Relations. 

  1. The Associate Director may deal with the Concern in consultation with the Complainant, where appropriate.
  2. Where a Complaint has been made against a Non-University Person, the Associate Director will determine, with appropriate consultation, the steps to be taken.
  3. Harassment by a Non-University Person may result in suspension of privileges, such as access to campus or any other action deemed necessary.

4. Workplace Assessment

 4.1 Where circumstances warrant, the President or a Vice-President who believes Harassment may have occurred, may, in the best interests of the University, authorize a Workplace Assessment.

5. Frivolous or Vexatious Complaints

 5.1 Frivolous, vexatious and/or malicious complaints may constitute grounds for disciplinary action against the complainant.

5.2 Any imposed discipline related to frivolous, vexatious and/or malicious complaints will be taken in accordance with the University Staff Handbook for Non-Bargaining Unit Employees, applicable collective agreements or, for employees not covered by one of the above, the applicable contractual provisions.

6. Time Limits

6.1 Raising a Concern or filing a Complaint should occur no later than twelve months after the last alleged incident of Harassment.  Events prior to the twelve (12) month period may be referenced if the incident(s) is relevant and part of a series of incidents that form a pattern of Harassment. 

7. Conflict of Interest

7.1 Employees are subject to and must comply with the University's Conflict of Interest Policy and Procedures and should also refer to the conflict of interest provisions and relevant clauses in the appropriate collective agreements, University Staff Handbook for Non-Bargaining Unit Employees or other applicable documents.

8. Confidentiality

8.1 All matters relating to Respectful Workplace Policy activity shall be handled with confidentiality and in accordance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, other privacy legislation to which the University is subject, and University policies. All persons involved in any process related to this Policy are expected to maintain confidentiality. 

8.2 Delivery of all written statements and reports shall be made in a confidential and secure manner, stating “to be opened by addressed only”.

8.3 A breach of confidentiality by any individual with respect to a Concern or Complaint may be subject to disciplinary sanction or other appropriate action.

8.4 Confidentiality may not apply to persons subject to extra-University judicial processes, or where disclosure is permitted by law, or where the health, safety and security of a person or persons is a concern. 

9. Records, Reports and Retention

9.1 All records will be handled in accordance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, related University policies and other privacy legislation applicable to the University.

9.2 A summary report is prepared annually by the Director of Human Resources and Director of Faculty Relations and made available to the Vice-Presidents’ Council concerning the number, type and disposition of Complaints, in a non-identifiable format, and on educational and other activities related to this Policy. 

10. Retaliation

10.1 No person shall retaliate against another for bringing forward a Concern or Complaint or for being involved in any process related to this Policy. The University considers Retaliation at any stage to be a serious offence because it may prevent potential complainants, witnesses, administrators or others from coming forward with Concerns or Complaints.

10.2 Any imposed discipline related to Retaliation will be taken in accordance with the University Staff Handbook for Non-Bargaining Unit Employees, Student Code of Conduct, applicable collective agreements or, for individuals not covered by one of the above, contractual provisions.

10.3 A breach of confidentiality under Section 8 may constitute retaliation.

11. Appeals

11.1 Complainants and Respondents have the right to appeal or grieve in accordance with the following:

a. In the case of non-bargaining unit employees, appeals shall be filed in accordance with the Complaint and Appeal Procedures as outlined in the University Staff Handbook for Non-Bargaining Unit Employees. 

b. In the case of bargaining unit employees, the Respondent has the right to file a grievance regarding any discipline and the decision of the appropriate Unit Head under the terms of the applicable collective agreement. The Complainant may have the right to file a grievance regarding the finding of the appropriate Unit Head as to whether Harassment has or has not occurred under the terms of the applicable collective agreement. 

c. In the case of Academic Administrators who are not members of a bargaining unit, the appeal shall be directed to two other Vice-Presidents not involved in the case by notice, in writing, within fifteen (15) days of notification of the action to be taken. 

 

 

Related Documents:

Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Conflict of Interest Policy
Employment Equity Policy
Privacy Policy
Sexual Harassment Policy
Workplace Accommodation Policy
Assessment and Care Protocol
Employee Assistance Program

 

 

Procedures

Title: Respectful Workplace
Category : People Resources Approval Date: 2014-10-16
Effective Date : 2014-10-16 Review Date: 2018-10-16
Authority:
The Vice-President (Administration and Finance) through the Director of Human Resources
Sponsor:
Vice-President (Administration & Finance)
Contact:

Department of Human Resources 709-864-4628

Previous Versions:
Please contact the Policy Office to view any of the following previous policy versions:

  • 2007-05-22