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Procedure for Resolution of a Formal Respectful Workplace Complaint

Approval Date: 2018-03-06

Effective Date: 2018-03-06

Responsible Unit: Department of Human Resources


An employee may file a formal Respectful Workplace Complaint in accordance with the procedures indicated below.

1. The Complaint shall:

a. be in writing, indicating that it is a Complaint;

b. set out the particulars of the allegations, including the dates, times and nature of the allegations and the names of any witnesses to the alleged behaviour;

c. be signed and dated; and

d. be submitted to the Reviewer, who for purposes of this Procedure is one of: the Associate Director, Office of Faculty Relations or the Associate Director (Employee/Labour Relations and Consulting Services), Department of Human Resources, as appropriate.

2. Upon receipt of the Complaint, the Reviewer shall initially review the Complaint, and within ten (10) days:

a. determine whether other University policies, such as Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault and Conflict of Interest, apply. See Related Documents section. All matters that are sexual in nature must be referred to the Sexual Harassment Advisor. If the Sexual Harassment Advisor believes, after consultation with relevant parties, that a Complaint based on Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Gender Expression would be better handled under this Procedure, the Sexual Harassment Advisor will so advise the Reviewer.

bdetermine whether the Complainant should be advised that the Complaint is more appropriately addressed initially under the Procedure for Early Resolution of Respectful Workplace Concern.

c. decide not to proceed where in their opinion the Complaint :

- is not within the jurisdiction of the Respectful Workplace Policy, or
- is frivolous and/or vexatious, or
- is made outside the prescribed time limits, or
- is being or has been addressed by a grievance under a collective agreement, another complaints process or the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights process or some other legal process.

In cases where the Reviewer determines not to proceed, the Reviewer will advise the Complainant, in writing.

In making these determinations, the Reviewer may seek advice, as appropriate.

3. Normally, the Complaint requires an investigation. There may be circumstances where the Complainant and the Respondent agree to an informal resolution without proceeding to an investigation. An investigation results in a determination of whether or not the Respectful Workplace Policy has been violated. During the investigation process, the Complainant and the Respondent may be accompanied by another person of his/her choice.

4. The Vice-President, as appropriate, appoints an investigator. Any employee who has been involved in the Concern or Complaint shall not be the investigator. The investigator may be internally or externally appointed. No person shall be selected where there is a real or perceived conflict of interest or reasonable apprehension of bias.

5. Where the Vice-President is absent or unable to act, a senior officer of the University, such as an Associate Vice-President, may act on behalf of the Vice-President.

6. Within ten (10) Days following a determination to proceed, the Reviewer shall deliver a copy of the statement of Complaint and a copy of the Respectful Workplace Policy and Procedures to the Respondent(s).  If the Respondent(s) chooses to respond, the response must be in writing and submitted within ten (10) Days.

7. The investigator will undertake an investigation and submit a written investigative report within forty (40) Days from the date the Respondent received a copy of the Complaint. The report will contain the summary of the evidence, any conclusions reached, and the finding with respect to Harassment. The investigative report is provided to the Vice-President who initiated the investigation, and who within five (5) Days will provide copies to the Complainant and to the Respondent.

8. The investigative report is confidential and shall not be communicated verbally, duplicated or circulated. However, the Complainant and the Respondent may share the report with their duly appointed representative(s). 

9. Upon receipt of the investigative report, both the Complainant and the Respondent may choose to respond. Any response must be in writing and submitted within five (5) Days.

10. The Vice-President, as appropriate, shall decide the course of action, based on the investigative report and the responses, if any, from the Complainant and the Respondent.  The Vice-President may seek advice, as appropriate. 

11. The Vice-President shall provide a written decision and any action that may be taken within an additional five (5) days. The Respondent will be provided with a written decision which will include whether any action will be taken and the nature of any discipline imposed. The Complainant will be provided with a written decision which will include whether or not action will be taken.

12. The Vice-President shall consult with the applicable line authority before implementing a recommendation or taking other remedial, preventative, or disciplinary action.

13. In the case of Complaints against Associate Vice-Presidents, Vice-Presidents and the President, the matter shall be referred to the person to whom the Respondent reports, who in the case of the Associate Vice-Presidents is the applicable Vice-President, in the case of the Vice-Presidents is the President and in the case of the President is the Chair of the Board of Regents. A similar process that follows the steps, as outlined above, shall be invoked.

14. Any imposed discipline shall be taken in accordance with the Guide for Non-Bargaining, Management and Professional, and Senior Administrative Management Employees, applicable collective agreements, or, for employees not covered by one of these, the applicable contractual provisions.

Policies using this procedure:

Procedure Amendment History

There are past amendments for this policy:

Action: Created full working copy
Date: 2022-08-30 13:12:51
Date: 2022-08-30 13:14:07
This procedure was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: 8/30/22 fixed link
Action: Created full working copy
Date: 2024-02-16 15:00:36
Date: 2024-02-16 15:03:50
This procedure was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Incidental amendments made to comply with provincial OHS regulations. Approved by PEC February 13, 2024.