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Memorial University of Newfoundland

  Memorial University of Newfoundland

Respectful Workplace

Approval Date: 2014-10-16

Effective Date: 2018-03-06

Review Date: 2022-10-16

Authority:

The Vice-President (Administration and Finance) through the Director of Human Resources

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 and Sexual Assault policy.

Definitions

Complainant — An employee who believes that they have 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.

Day(s) — A day, other than a Saturday or Sunday, statutory holiday, or other day on which the University is not open for administrative business.

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:

  1. Interpersonal conflict or disagreement, which is expressed in a respectful manner; or
  2. 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 community, who have the responsibility and jurisdiction to uphold and enforce the law including the Criminal Code. R.S.C., 1985. c. C-46, as amended (The Criminal Code).

Non-University Person — Includes but is not limited to volunteers, contractors, their employees and agents, vendors of goods and services and their employees and agents, and visitors to the University, who have an association with 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(s) — The subject or subjects of a report of alleged Harassment under this Policy.

Retaliation — Any threat of reprisal, attempt to intimidate or adverse behaviour or action, taken against a Member of the University in response to that initial person having:

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 activity that is directly related to or arises 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.

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 Guide for Non-Bargaining, Management and Professional, and Senior Administrative Management 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, Guide for Non-Bargaining, Management and Professional, and Senior Administrative Management 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 Guide for Non-Bargaining, Management and Professional, and Senior Administrative Management 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 Guide for Non-Bargaining, Management and Professional, and Senior Administrative Management 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
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Employment Policy
Privacy Policy
Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policy
Workplace Accommodation Policy
Assessment and Care Protocol
Employee Assistance Program

Procedures

For inquiries related to this policy:

Department of Human Resources 709-864-2434

Sponsor: Vice-President (Administration & Finance)

Category: Human Rights

Previous Versions:

There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)

Approval Date 2014-10-16   Effective Date 2014-10-16
Approval Date 2007-05-22   Effective Date 2007-05-22

Procedure for Early Resolution Of Respectful Workplace Concerns

Approval Date: 2014-10-16

Responsible Unit: Department of Human Resources

1. An employee may communicate a Concern to the Responsible Person. This is a role versus a position. The Responsible Person may vary, depending upon the circumstance, as follows: 

a. In case of staff, the Responsible Person may be the supervisor, manager, Unit Head, the Human Resources Advisor, the Associate Director (Employee/Labour Relations and Consulting Services) Department of Human Resources, as appropriate, OR the campus Human Resources Administrator.

b. In the case of faculty, the Responsible Person may be the head of the academic unit, the Associate Director, Office of Faculty Relations, the Associate Director (Employee/Labour Relations and Consulting Services), or the campus Human Resources Administrator.

2. The Concern may be, but is not required to be, in writing.

3. Every reasonable attempt should be made to resolve the Concern prior to moving to formal mechanisms.  Normally, the early resolution process will not exceed one (1) month.

4. An employee may be accompanied by another person of his/her choice.

5. The Responsible Person will consider 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 Concern 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 Responsible Person.

6. Following an examination of the Concern, the Responsible Person may determine that the conduct or behaviour described falls within the parameters of the Respectful Workplace Policy.

7. If it is determined that the matter does not fall within the parameters of the Respectful Workplace Policy, the employee raising the Concern will be so advised.

8. If it is determined that the matter falls within the parameters of the Respectful Workplace Policy, the Responsible Person will discuss the Concern with the employees involved, with the goal of reaching a mutually acceptable resolution.

9. It may be necessary that interim measures be taken while a Concern is being resolved.  Such measures will be precautionary, not disciplinary. The Responsible Person hearing the Concern may initiate interim measures. In situations where an employee believes that his/her personal safety or the safety of others is an issue, the employee shall report the situation immediately to appropriate campus enforcement or security officials on the respective campus or Legal Authorities.


Procedure for Resolution of a Formal Respectful Workplace Complaint

Approval 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, based on the investigative report and the responses, if any, from the Complainant and the Respondent, whether Harassment has or has not occurred.  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. If discipline is to be imposed, the Respondent will be notified at that time.

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.