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Workplace Harassment – Basic

The Employer and Unifor are committed to providing a harassment-free workplace.  Harassment is defined as a “course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome”, that denies individual dignity and respect on the basis of the grounds such as: gender, disability, race, colour, sexual orientation or other prohibited grounds, as stated in the provincial Human Rights Code.  All employees are expected to treat others with courtesy and consideration and to discourage harassment.

The workplace is defined as any Employer facility and includes areas such as offices, shop floors, rest rooms, cafeterias, lockers, conference rooms and parking lots.

Harassment may take many forms: verbal, physical or visual.  It may involve a threat or an implied threat or be perceived as a condition of employment.  The following examples could be considered as harassment but are not meant to cover all potential incidents:

  •       Unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendos, gestures or taunting about a person=s body, disability, attire or gender, racial or ethnic backgrounds, colour, place of birth, sexual orientation, citizenship or ancestry;

 

  •       Practical jokes, pushing, shoving, etc., which cause awkwardness or embarrassment;

 

  •       Posting or circulation of offensive photos or visual materials;

 

  •       Refusal to work or converse with an employee because of their racial background or gender, etc.

 

  •       Unwanted physical conduct such as touching, patting, pinching, etc.

 

  •       Condescension or paternalism which undermines self-respect;

 

  •       Backlash or retaliation for the lodging of a complaint or participation in an investigation.

 

Harassment is not:

Harassment is in no way to be construed as properly discharged supervisory responsibilities, including the delegation of work assignments, the assessment of discipline or any conduct that does not undermine the dignity of the individual.  Neither is this policy meant to inhibit free speech or interfere with normal social relations.

 

Filing a complaint:

If an employee believes he/she has been harassed and/or discriminated against on the basis of any prohibited ground of discrimination, there are specific actions that may be taken to put a stop to it:

 

  •       Request a stop of the unwanted behaviour;

 

  •       Inform the individual that is doing the harassing or the discriminating against you that the behaviour is unwanted and unwelcome;

 

  •       Document the events, complete with times, dates, location, witnesses and details;

 

  •       Report the incident to Supervisor/Committee person.

 

However, it is also understood that some victims of discrimination or harassment are reluctant to confront their harasser, or they may fear reprisals, lack of support from their work group, or disbelief by their supervisor or others.  In this event, the victim may seek assistance by reporting the incident directly to any Union representative/Employer official.

 

Investigation:

Upon receipt of the complaint, the Supervisor/Committee person contacted will immediately inform their Union or Employer counterpart and together they will then interview the employee and advise the employee if the complaint can be resolved immediately or if the complaint should be formalized in writing.  Properly completed copies of this complaint will be forwarded to the Human Resource manager and the Unit Chairperson.

 

A formal investigation of the complaint will then begin by the Chairperson and Human Resources Manager or their designates, interviewing the alleged harasser, witnesses and other persons names in the complaint.  Any related documents may also be reviewed.  Should the complaint involve sexual harassment/discrimination, the process will include a woman.

 

Resolution:

The Chairperson and Human Resources Manager or their designates will then complete a report on the findings of the investigation.  The Chairperson and Human Resources Manager will make a determination on an appropriate resolution, in an attempt to resolve within ten (10) days and ensure the resolution is fair and consistent with the intent of the Employer and National Unifor policy regarding discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

 

At the conclusion of this step, the complaint, if unresolved, with be inserted into the third step of the grievance procedure for resolution.  In the event that the complaint is not resolved by the parties at the third step of the grievance procedure, it may be appealed to arbitration in accordance with the provisions of the collective agreement.  The parties agree that this procedure is an alternative complaint procedure and as such, complaints should not be pursued through both the grievance procedure and the Human Rights Complaint procedure.

 

The pursuit of frivolous allegations through the Human Rights Complaint Procedure has a detrimental effect on the spirit and intent for which this policy was rightfully developed and should be discouraged.

 

All documentation is to be secured in a location agreeable to all parties.

 

All employees have the right to file a complaint with the provincial Human Rights Commission and to seek redress under the Human Rights Code.

 

Training:

In consultation with the National Union, three-day anti-harassment training will be developed for all union representatives and members of management.  In addition, the Unifor four-hour anti-harassment training program will be delivered to all employees.

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