4000-5-3Respectful College Community

Responsible Executive:
Senior Vice-President, Strategy & Corporate Services
Director, Human Resources
Issue Date:
October 31, 2016
Supersedes Date:
October 21, 2019
Last Review:
October 21, 2022
Last Revision:
October 21, 2022

Upon request, the college will provide a copy of this policy in an alternate format.

Lambton College recognizes and confirms the right of every member of the College community to teach, learn and work in a safe and respectful environment free of harassment and discrimination.

Lambton College is committed to providing a safe and respectful community environment.


  1. This policy applies to
    • employees,
    • students,
    • members of the Board of Governors,
    • members of committees established by the College,
    • contractors such as those undertaking construction, provision of service or research,
    • clients,
    • visitors and guests.
  2. Further, this policy governs all conduct, including but not limited to, on-campus conduct, off-campus conduct and internet-based conduct that engages the College’s duty to provide a safe and harassment-free College community.
  3. Each member of the College community is required to behave in a safe and respectful manner that contributes to a College community free of harassment, bullying and discrimination and an environment of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and rights of each individual.
  4. Each member of the College community is responsible for being familiar with the Respectful College Community Policy (“Policy”), all other policies and procedures on discrimination, harassment and bullying and complying with the provisions of this and all other related policies and procedures, including the confidentiality obligations and participation in any procedures taken under this Policy.
  5. Any member of the College community who believes that they have been the object of harassment, discrimination, or bullying, or have witnessed such behaviour, should promptly contact their supervisor or the Human Resources department. In the case of an alleged student perpetrator, the Registrar must be contacted. If the employee identifies their supervisor as the perpetrator, the employee should contact the Senior Vice-President, Strategy & Corporate Services. In the event that the President is the alleged perpetrator, then the employee should contact the Chair for the Board of Governors.
  6. An employee witnessing or becoming aware of harassment, bullying or discrimination in the workplace must report the behaviour to a manager.
  7. A supervisor, or a person in a position of authority (as determined by the circumstance), witnessing or becoming aware of any incident, or being informed of an alleged incident, of harassment, bullying, or discrimination, must notify the Director, Human Resources or designate.
  8. If the Director, Human Resources, or designate, deems that there has been a potential violation of the Policy, the College will invoke this Policy and the associated procedures.
  9. Employees who become aware of threats or acts of domestic violence that may occur or have occurred in the workplace must immediately inform their supervisor, who will then inform Security and Human Resources. An employee with Orders of Protection or a restraining order that references the worksite(s) of Lambton College must provide a copy of the order to Human Resources.
  10. The College will consider all complaints of bullying, discrimination, and harassment, whether made informally or formally, to ensure that they are resolved quickly, confidentially and fairly.
  11. The College is committed to an ongoing program of information and education concerning harassment, bullying, and discrimination. Lambton College will ensure that supervisors and others in the position of authority will be made aware of their responsibilities and rights under this Policy in creating and maintaining an environment free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.
  12. The Director, Human Resources will conduct an annual analysis of the number of reported complaints, the resolutions enacted, and the specific prohibited grounds with the intent of determining trends and future proactive measures.
  13. Each member of the College must adhere to confidentiality obligations of this Policy and procedures. The College will not disclose names, or any circumstances related to a complaint to anyone except as necessary to investigate or take disciplinary action related to the complaint or as required by law.
  14. This Policy does not prevent, nor is intended to prevent or limit, a complainant from contacting the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario or from using the grievance procedure in Collective Agreements.
  15. Exercising appropriate supervisory, instructional, and evaluation responsibilities, including conducting performance appraisals, enforcing standards, and taking corrective/discipline action does not constitute discrimination or harassment and is not contrary to the policy.
  16. An individual(s) making allegations of harassment, bullying or discrimination that are found to be vexatious or in bad faith, or an individual(s) undertaking reprisals or retaliation against an individual for filing a complaint or cooperating in an investigation under this Policy, will be subject to disciplinary action under the relevant College discipline policy.
  17. Students alleged to have contravened this policy will be dealt with under the Student Rights & Responsibilities & Discipline (2000-5-1) policy. 
  18. Where the complainant is an individual or a group of people being harassed or discriminated against, either by an unknown person or by a group of unknown individuals, the College will take steps reasonable in the circumstances.
  19. A complainant has the right to withdraw a complaint at any stage of the process. However, the College may continue to act on the issue identified in the complaint in order to comply with its obligation under this policy or its legal obligations.
  20. It is contrary to this policy for anyone to retaliate, engage in reprisals, or threaten to retaliate against a complainant or other individual for:
    1. having pursuant rights under this policy of the Ontario Human Rights Code;
    2. having participated or co-operated in an investigation under this policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code; or
    3. having been associated with someone who has pursued rights under this policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  21. At the conclusion of any investigation, the Director, Human Resources or designate provides the complainant and the respondent with a written summary of the investigator’s findings. Each party is advised what action, if any, that relates directly to that party, the College will be taking to bring closure to the complaint. If a party is sanctioned, the fact of sanction is communicated to the complainant but not the detail.


Resolution Processes

  1. For matters or incidents concerning a respectful workplace or college community, there are available resolution processes that are internal and external to the College.
    1. Within the College, there are the resolution processes, informal and formal, as described in this policy and procedures.
    2. A complainant may contact the Human Rights Commission directly, even when steps are being undertaken internally under this Policy.
    3. The Academic and Support Staff Collective Agreements specifically prohibit discrimination, bullying and psychological harassment. Bargaining unit employees may access this avenue of resolution.
    4. Administrative staff may refer to their terms and conditions of employment.
    5. Students may refer to the Student Rights & Responsibilities & Discipline (2000-5-1) policy. 

Internal Resolution Processes

  1. During any or all stages of resolution, the complainant or respondent may be accompanied by a support person. This support person may be a co-worker, friend, a union representative, or a representative from the Student Administrative Council. The role of the support person is to provide support by listening, consulting, and accompanying, and by observing that a fair process is followed. The support person is not to advocate on behalf of the person or play any other role in the process, subject to the terms of any applicable collective agreement. The support person may in no way obstruct the process.

Informal Complaint Process

  1. If a person encounters or perceives harassment, bullying, discrimination or a negative environment, the following steps of the informal complaint process should be followed:
    1. The recipient of any harassment or discrimination should tell the perpetrator very clearly that their behaviour is not welcome, giving them the opportunity to correct their action(s).
    2. The recipient should keep written notes about the incident(s) including dates, any witnesses present, and actions taken.
    3. If the unwanted behaviour continues, or the recipient does not feel comfortable approaching the perpetrator, the recipient may consult with their Supervisor, the Director, Human Resources or, in the case of a student recipient, the Registrar (herein after each is called the Advisor). A formal investigation would then commence.

Formal Complaint

  1. All formal complaints are to be made in good faith, as soon as is practicable and, in any event, not later than six months after the last occurrence upon which the complaint is based. Formal complaints use the following process.
    1. The Complainant will file a written, signed complaint with the Director, Human Resources. If the Respondent is the Director, Human Resources, the signed complaint must be filed with the Senior Vice-President, Strategy & Corporate Services who shall assume the role and duties described below for the Director, Human Resources. The complaint shall include details of the alleged incident(s) of bullying, harassment or discrimination including parties involved, dates, times, places, and names of witnesses.
    2. The Director, Human Resources shall inform the Respondent that a complaint has been made and provide the Respondent with a copy of the Statement of Complaint including any supporting material or documents received from the Complainant.
    3. Within ten (10) working days of receiving the request for a formal investigation, the Director, Human Resources shall determine if the matter can be investigated internally or by utilizing an external investigator. The investigator must be a qualified investigator with workplace investigation experience or training in Human Rights investigation and not employed by the College. If the matter is to be investigated internally, the investigation will be completed by the Director, Human Resources. The complainant and the respondent will be advised of the method of investigation.
    4. The Investigator shall investigate and consider all evidence pertaining to the complaint, including oral and/or written submissions by the Complainant, the Respondent, witnesses to the alleged incident(s), and any other evidence deemed relevant by the investigator. All details of the investigation, including names of all participants, shall be held in strict confidence to the extent possible by the investigator. Within thirty (30) working days from the time the Investigator is appointed, they shall submit a written report including findings and recommendations to the Director, Human Resources, or Senior Vice-President, Strategy & Corporate Services.
    5. Based on the investigator’s report, the appropriate Senior Vice-President/Vice-President shall determine the course of action.
    6. Recommended action could include, but is not limited to, any of the following: education, training, counselling, a reprimand, a private or public apology, relief from specific duties, transfer, suspension, dismissal or expulsion, removal from residence, reassessment of academic work and shall be undertaken pursuant to the relevant College policy or collective agreement.
    7. Both the complainant and the respondent are to be provided with a summary of the findings. The findings will be communicated in writing, separately, but as close in time as possible, by the Director, Human Resources to both the complainant and respondent. The complainant is advised first.
    8. In the event that the Director, Human Resources is the subject of the complaint, the Senior Vice-President, Strategy & Corporate Services shall engage an external investigator. In the event that a Vice-President is the subject of the complaint, the President shall stand in the place of the Vice-President in the resolution of the complaint as provided in this policy. In the event that the President is the subject of the complaint, the Chair of the Board of Governors shall stand in the place of the President in the resolution of the complaint as provided in this policy. In the event that the Chair of the Board of Governors is the subject of the complaint, the 1st Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors shall stand in the place of the Chair.


  1. The purpose of the mediation will be to achieve a mutually satisfactory resolution and may be utilized where both the complainant and respondent elect this to informally resolve the complaint and forego the initiation of a formal investigation. Medication involves the following process:
    1. An impartial mediator, agreeable to both parties, will be assigned by the Director, Human Resources.
    2. The mediator must be a qualified mediator with experience or training in Human Rights mediation and not employed by the College, other than for this mediation.
    3. In the event that the parties cannot agree on a mediator, the complainant may proceed to make a formal complaint.
    4. The mediator will keep detailed and accurate records of all meetings with the parties and whether or not the mediation was successful.
    5. Mediation shall be completed with thirty (30) working days of the determination of the mediator.
    6. The College will be responsible for administrative costs.
    7. If a mutually satisfactory resolution is achieved, the agreed-upon resolution will be signed by both parties and the mediator. A copy of this agreement will be provided to each party:
      1. Director, Human Resources - if a party is an employee;
      2. The Registrar - if a party is a student;
      3. College supervisor who engaged the services of the contractor or who oversaw the services provided - if a party is a contractor or a client; or
      4. Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success - if a party is a visitor.
    8. In the event that mediation fails or if the complainant wishes to pursue more formal complaint procedures, the complainant shall file a Statement of Complaint with the Director, Human Resources, as per the Formal Complaint section, within ten (10) working days after mediation has terminated.


A person who advises the College that they have been subjected to, have witnessed, or have been informed of harassment, bullying or discrimination, or who, as a third party, initiates a complaint on behalf of another, with that person’s consent.
A person against whom a complaint of harassment, bullying or discrimination has been made.
Any action or behaviour that results in unfavourable or adverse treatment based on one or more of the protected grounds identified in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
    As defined in subsection 10(1) of the Code "engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
    Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment
    Sexual or gender-based harassment is unwelcome conduct based on an individual's actual or perceived sex. Examples may include, but are not limited to, invading personal space, unnecessary physical contact, touching, using language that puts someone down based on their gender. Specifically in education, this includes sports, arts, and cultural activities, school functions, field trips, tutoring as well as harassment conducted online and in the classroom setting.
    Systemic Harassment or Discrimination
    Policies, practices, procedures, actions, or inactions that appear neutral, but have an adverse impact associated with one of the protected grounds. 
    An aggressive behaviour that is typically repeated over time. It is meant to cause harm, fear, distress, or create a negative environment for another person.
    Negative Environment
    Created by one or a series of comments or behaviour(s) that create an offensive, hostile, or intimidating climate for study or work for individuals or groups. The comment or behaviour must be of a significant nature or degree and have the effect of “poisoning” the work or study environment. A complainant does not have to be the direct target to be adversely affected by or report a negative environment. A negative environment may include, but is not restricted to, graffiti, signs, cartoons, remarks, exclusion, or adverse treatment related to one or more of the protected grounds.
    Reasonable Action
    Exercising appropriate supervisory, instructional and evaluation responsibilities, including conducting performance appraisals, enforcing standards, and taking corrective/discipline action does not constitute discrimination or harassment and is not contrary to the Policy. Reasonable action by an employer (or manager) in the course of managing the workplace is not bullying, discrimination or harassment. Examples of reasonable action include, but are not limited to the transfer, demotion, discipline, counsel or dismissal of an employee in a reasonable manner; a decision, based on reasonable grounds and facts, not to promote or grant another benefit in connection with an employee’s employment or performance.
    Reprisals or Retaliation
    A negative action against an individual or individuals for invoking this policy, participating or cooperating in an investigation under this policy, or associating with someone who has invoked this policy or participated in the policy procedures.
    Vexatious or Bad Faith Complaint
    A complaint that makes allegations of harassment, bullying, or discrimination that the complainant knows, or would reasonably know, to be false, or a complaint submitted for a malicious or vindictive purpose.

    References, Resources

    • Canadian Human Rights Commission
    • Ontario Human Rights Code
    • Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act
    • Occupational Health & Safety Act

    College Policies

    For questions or concerns regarding policies, please contact the policy sponsor. See the phone list for contact info.

    Back to Top