Respectful Work Environment Policy
The purpose of this policy is to support and maintain a climate of respect in all affairs of the Association, whereby individuals and groups of individuals are free from harassment and discrimination. In addition, this policy will establish a method for addressing any concerns or complaints regarding this issue.
AESES recognizes its duty to act in a manner consistent with existing legislation regarding human rights and does not condone behaviour that is likely to undermine the dignity, self-esteem or productivity of any of its employees, volunteers or members. AESES is committed to an inclusive and respectful work environment, free from human rights discrimination or harassment, sexual harassment and personal harassment. AESES has a duty to investigate and remedy any such violation, whether it occurs on AESES property or in conjunction with AESES activities or events.
All employees, volunteers and members of the Association share the responsibility of establishing and maintaining an environment of respect and to address any situations in which discrimination or harassment take place. AESES will act promptly and efficiently to deal with these behaviours and will endeavour to ensure that individuals who believe that they have been subjected to harassment or discrimination are able to express concerns and register complaints without fear of retaliation or reprisal. AESES will exercise care to protect and respect the rights of both the complainant and the respondent.
“Discrimination” means, except where bona fide and reasonable cause exists or where it is based upon bona fide and reasonable requirements or qualifications, the differential treatment, whether intended or not, of an individual or group of individuals based on:
- (a) an individual’s actual or presumed membership in or association with some class or group of persons, rather than on the basis of personal merit;
- (b) any of the following characteristics:
- (i) ancestry, including colour or race
- (ii) nationality or national origin
- (iii) ethnic background
- (iv) religion or religious belief, association or activity
- (v) age
- (vi) sex
- (vii) gender-determined characteristics
- (viii) sexual orientation
- (ix) marital or family status
- (x) source of income
- (xi) political belief, association or activity
- (xii) physical or mental disability or related characteristics or circumstances.
“Harassment” means sexual harassment, personal harassment, or racial harassment.
“Sexual Harassment” is deemed to include, but is not restricted to:
- (a) unwanted sexual attention of a persistent or abusive nature made by a person who knows or ought reasonably to know that such attention is unwanted;
- (b) implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually-oriented request;
- (c) actual reprisal or an implied or expressed threat of reprisal for refusal to comply with a sexually-oriented request;
- (d) actual denial of opportunity or an implied or expressed threat of denial of opportunity for refusal to comply with a sexually-oriented request;
- (e) sexually-oriented behaviour, including behaviour which has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
“Personal Harassment” is deemed to include, but is not restricted to:
- (a) one or a series of non-constructive, intentional and offensive comments or actions designed to offend, abuse or humiliate a person, when such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance, or which create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment;
- (b) physical or verbal abuse, threats or intimidation that is humiliating or demeaning.
“Racial Harassment” is deemed to include, but is not restricted to:
- (a) unwelcome, inappropriate, demeaning or otherwise offensive behaviour directed at a person or group of persons, which is based on race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin;
- (b) any racial comments or behaviour which create an uncomfortable or threatening working environment.
A complainant who believes that he or she has experienced harassment or discrimination should take direct action, if possible, to make the unease and/or disapproval known to the offending person or persons.
The complainant may choose to consult with the President, Executive Vice-President or the Executive Director, with a view to resolving the situation informally. Where an informal resolution is acceptable to both the complainant and the respondent, written communication shall be sent to both parties setting out the understandings and/or agreement. A copy of this communication shall be maintained in the Executive Director’s file.
If the matter is not resolved informally, or if the behaviour continues or reoccurs, or if the complainant chooses not to attempt to resolve the matter informally, complainants have the option to file a formal complaint. Formal complaints shall be made in writing and shall be submitted to the President of the Association within one year of the date of the last alleged incident of discrimination or harassment. In the event that the President is either the complainant or respondent, formal complaints shall be received by the Executive Vice-President.
Upon receipt of the written complaint, the President shall review the allegation(s) to ensure that it falls within the definitions set out under this procedure. If so, the President will inform the respondent in writing forthwith of the allegation(s) and provide the respondent with a copy of the written complaint.
The President may choose to consult the Executive Council for input and advice and/or employ the services of an independent mediator to assist with any investigation and application of remedy.
Investigation and Determination:
The investigation shall be concluded as expeditiously as possible. Investigations shall include interviewing the complainant and the respondent, and any other person deemed relevant to the investigation. At the conclusion of the investigation, a written report which sets out the allegation(s), the information obtained and provide a conclusion as to whether the policy on Respectful Work Environment has been breached and, if so, a recommendation for remedy and/or penalty. A copy of the written report will be given to both the complainant and the respondent. As well, a copy will be kept in the Executive Director’s file.
Confidentiality of the complaint procedure is important in creating and maintaining an environment in which harassment and discrimination can be eliminated. Complainants, respondents and persons who become privy to a complaint shall treat it in strict confidence.
Persons who believe themselves to be victims of discrimination or harassment have recourse to a number of remedies which are not within the jurisdiction of AESES, including:
- (a) contacting the police in cases involving sexual assault;
- (b) commencing a civil action for damages; or
- (c) filing a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.
[APPROVED BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, February 13, 2007]