The CAR values the health and safety of their employees and is committed to creating a work environment governed by respect and regard for the rights and dignity of all persons, where employees can work free from workplace harassment and violence. This policy applies to all employees, visitors (including clients/parents), volunteers and persons acting on behalf of the CAR. This Policy also applies wherever work for the CAR takes place and to work related social events, continuing education and for work related travel. For the sake of brevity, all parties are referred to in this document as employees.
This Policy will establish guidelines, expectations and procedures to prevent harassment, violence and other unacceptable behaviour in the workplace from all sources. This Policy is also meant to ensure that employees are aware of and understands that workplace harassment and acts of violence are considered a serious offence for which appropriate remedial action will be taken and also to encourage employees to report incidents so that complaints can be investigated thoroughly.
The CAR will not tolerate, ignore, or condone any type of workplace harassment or violence. All allegations of harassment or violence that appear to constitute a violation of this Policy will be investigated in a fair and timely manner while respecting the privacy of all concerned as much as possible. Where complaints are substantiated, individuals will be subject to appropriate disciplinary measures up to and including immediate dismissal from employment. Similarly, frivolous or malicious complaints made in bad faith will be dealt with seriously and will also be subject to disciplinary action.
To maintain the safety and security of the CAR’s employees, visitors, etc. employees and any persons acting on behalf of the CAR are prohibited from carrying weapons or other inherently dangerous instruments on the CAR property or while engaged in the CAR work off the premises. In the event of an assault or other potentially criminal action, the police will be contacted immediately.
The CAR will not tolerate, ignore, or condone the use of computers or any CAR property for illegal or immoral purposes or to support or assist such purposes. Examples of this would be sending, receiving or accessing any material that is discriminating, violent, threatening, intimidating, bullying, pornographic, defrauding, illegal, obscene, or sexual in nature. This includes information posted or sent by email.
This Policy prohibits reprisals against individuals who report incidents of workplace harassment, violence, or act as witnesses in good faith. Management will take all reasonable and practical measures to prevent reprisals, threats of reprisal, or further harassment or violence.
Appropriate discipline for a Policy violation is not considered reprisal.
This Policy is not intended to limit or constrain the reasonable exercise of management functions in the workplace such as performance management, changes in work assignments, scheduling, job assessment and evaluation, workplace inspections, and implementation of disciplinary actions.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario defines workplace harassment as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
The comments or conduct typically happen more than once; however, harassment may be one incident or a series of incidents that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, or demeaning to a worker or a group of workers. It may also include behaviour that intimidates, isolates, or even discriminates against the targeted individuals.
Harassment may also relate to a form of discrimination as set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code which protects all employees from harassment on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed (religion/faith), sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family status, and record of offences for which a pardon has been granted.
Examples of Workplace Harassment include, but are not limited to the following:
- Making remarks, jokes, innuendos that demean, ridicule, intimidate, or offend;
- Displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials in print or electronic form;
- Repeated offensive or intimidating phone calls or emails;
- Inappropriate sexual touching, advances, suggestions or requests;
- Displaying of materials or graffiti, which are sexually explicit or anything derogatory pertaining to race, ethnicity, religion, or physical appearance;
- Patronizing behaviour, language, or terminology, that reinforces stereotypes and undermines self-respect or adversely affects work performance or working conditions;
- Differences of opinion or disagreements between co-workers would not generally be considered workplace harassment.
Sexual harassment is defined as:
- Any conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature, from a person who knows or ought reasonably to know that such attention is unwanted;
- Implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually-oriented request;
- Implied or expressed threat of reprisal or actual reprisal for refusal to comply with a sexually oriented request;
- A sexual relationship which constitutes an abuse of power in a relationship of trust;
- Sexually oriented remarks or behaviour which may reasonably be perceived to create a negative psychological and emotional environment;
- Abuse of Authority;
Abuse of authority is a form of harassment and occurs when an individual improperly uses the power and authority inherent in his or her position to endanger or threaten an employee’s job, undermine the performance of that employee, threaten the economic livelihood of that employee, or in any way interfere with, or influence the career of the employee. It includes intimidation, threats, blackmail and coercion.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario defines workplace violence as:
(a) The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker,
(b) An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker, and
(c) A statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.
Examples of workplace violence include, but are not limited to the following:
- Verbally threatening to attack a worker
- Leaving threatening notes, voicemails, or sending threatening emails to a worker at the workplace
- Shaking a fist in a worker’s face
- Wielding a weapon at work
- Hitting or trying to hit a worker
- Throwing an object at a worker
- Sexual violence against a worker
- Kicking an object the worker is standing on such as a ladder
- Trying to run down a worker using a vehicle or equipment
Accidental situations such as a worker tripping over an object and pushing a co-worker as a result are not meant to be included as workplace violence.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour used by one person to gain power and control over another with whom he/she has or has had an intimate relationship such as a spouse or former spouse, domestic or former domestic partner, etc. This pattern of behaviour may include physical violence; sexual, emotional and psychological intimidation; verbal abuse; stalking; and using electronic devices to harass and control. Domestic violence becomes a form of workplace violence when it occurs either directly or indirectly in the workplace and is interpreted in a manner consistent with the definition of workplace violence. For example, a former spouse or partner sending threatening or intimidating e-mails or telephone calls to an employee at work could be considered workplace violence. If you are suffering domestic violence and are concerned for your safety at work, you should discuss a plan for your safety at work with your Supervisor. Individuals who have a restraining order against an individual should advise the CAR so that the CAR can take measures to ensure your safety at work.
The person making a complaint.
The person being accused of the wrongdoing; also may be called alleged offender
The person towards whom the alleged actions were directed
Any act of retaliation, either direct or indirect against any employee who in good faith raises a complaint or cooperates in the investigation of a complaint under this Policy.
Everyone is expected to uphold this Policy and to work together to maintain a work environment that is free from harassment and violence. This includes:
- Understanding and complying with the Policy;
- Reading and following the procedures that are in place to protect employees from workplace harassment and violence;
- Participating in any training or information sessions provided by the CAR to prevent risks of harassment and violence;
- In cases of potential incidents, informing the alleged offender that their conduct is offensive and must cease immediately unless it is unreasonable or unsafe to do so and bringing forward a complaint if the behaviour does not stop;
- Immediately reporting threats, threatening or violent behaviour, or signs of potential violence or harassment whether or not they are the Victims as soon as possible to the employee’s supervisor or another member of the management team;
- Not making a false or frivolous complaint;
- Reporting any restraining/protective court orders applied for or obtained that would encompass the CAR premises and providing copies of such documents;
- Cooperating fully during any investigation related to workplace harassment or violence.
- Not to allow, condone or ignore harassment and violence in the workplace and to take corrective action where warranted; failure to do so may be subject to disciplinary action
- Training, communicating and reviewing the Workplace Harassment and Violence Policy
- Immediately reporting incidents, threats, threatening or violent behaviour, or signs of potential violence or harassment whether or not the victim or alleged offender is an employee under their direct supervision
- Responding promptly to any incidents appropriately which includes but is not limited to: taking measures to ensure the safety of all employees, ensuring proper medical care is obtained if necessary, completing incident reports and providing copies to the President and/or appropriate management team member or designate
- Where appropriate, investigating concerns, complaints, or incidents of workplace harassment and violence that they are aware of in a fair and timely manner, while respecting the privacy of all concerned as much as possible
- Providing full cooperation in the investigation process including if the investigator deems it to be in the best interest of all parties to be physically and hierarchically removed from reporting relationships
- In cases of perceived harassment or violence employees should inform the offender that their conduct is offensive and unwelcome and must stop immediately unless it is unreasonable or unsafe to do so.
- Keep a written record of incidents including dates, times, your response, and possible witnesses.
- If unsuccessful in the preceding discussions and the behaviour continues, discuss the complaint with your immediate Supervisor, a Management Representative, or the CEO with the aim of solving the complaint.
- In the event where the discussions are unsuccessful, inappropriate or impossible, employees should report the complaint to their immediate Manager, a Management Representative, or the CEO to initiate an investigation on a case-by-case basis.
- If the alleged offender is the immediate Supervisor, address the complaint to the next level Supervisor or CEO. An Independent Investigator will be appointed in cases that may be deemed necessary.
- To file a complaint, the Complainant should provide a written statement that includes information such as:
- Name(s) of the individuals in question
- The date, time and place the incident(s) occurred
- Name(s) of any witness
- The event(s) that led up to the incident(s) in question
- Any particular reason why the event(s) occurred
- The actual incident that led to the complaint
- The investigation shall include a confidential interview(s) with the Complainant to verify the facts and record the details. The report will include a description of the incident with details including names and dates. Witnesses named by the Complainant may also be interviewed if deemed necessary by the investigator. The investigation will also include an interview(s) with the Respondent in order to obtain their version of the facts. Witnesses named by the Respondent may also be interviewed if deemed necessary by the investigator.
- The Claimant and Respondent may receive, if appropriate a copy of the Fact Finding Report for their review and comment.
- The Respondent will be given a specific period of time to respond to the allegations.
- The Report will be finalized by the investigator and will be submitted to the CEO which will form the basis for a decision.
Any person subject to workplace violence should immediately report incidents, threats, threatening behaviour, or signs of potential violence and/or harassment whether or not they are the Victims of such actions to their immediate Supervisor, a Management Representative, or the CEO. If any individual believes that there is a risk of violence in the workplace that may impact the immediate safety of employees, call 911 to request immediate assistance.
Other Avenues of Redress
Nothing in this Policy prevents or discourages a worker from filing an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on a matter related to Ontario’s Human Rights Code, filing a complaint with the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Occupational Health and Safety as applicable, or to exercise any other legal avenues that may be available.
All parties involved in the investigation of any incident or complaint are required to maintain strict confidentiality with respect to the complaint and any information disclosed in the course of the investigation, unless legally required to do so. Gossiping about an incident seriously undermines the privacy of all parties and will not be tolerated. Only those on a “need to know basis” will be apprised of a complaint.
Employees who engage in conduct prohibited by this Policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including immediate dismissal from employment and may be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Non-employees engaging in violent or illegal acts on the CAR premises will also be reported to the appropriate authorities.
Monitor and Review of this Policy
The CAR will review this Policy and its effectiveness annually and after any critical incident of harassment or violence in the workplace.