4000-5-3Respectful College Community Policy

Issue Date:
October 31, 2016
Supersedes Date:
February 01, 2016

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.

Policy

  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 he/she has been the object of harassment, discrimination or bullying, or has witnessed such behaviour, should promptly contact his/her supervisor or the Human Resources Department or, in the case of an alleged student perpetrator, the Registrar. If the employee identifies his/her supervisor as the perpetrator, the employee should contact the Vice President of Corporate Performance & Employee Relations or, if the Vice President is the alleged perpetrator, then he/she should contact the President. In the event that the President is the alleged perpetrator, then the employee should contact the Chair of the Board of Governors. Internal and external resolution processes are available to all community members.
  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 Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations, or designate.
  8. If the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations, 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 and Security. Employees are encouraged to report situations of domestic violence in the home as there is a risk that the domestic violence could be brought into the workplace. In addition, an employee with Orders of Protection or restraining orders that reference the worksite(s) of Lambton College must provide a copy of the order to his/her supervisor who will forward a copy to Human Resources and the Director of Facilities Management.
  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 managers and others in 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. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Reasonable action by an employer (or manager) in the regular course of managing the workplace is not harassment, bullying, discrimination, or negative environment. Exercising supervision and evaluation responsibilities, enforcing standards, and taking corrective/discipline action is not considered harassment, bullying, or discrimination.
  15. 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.
  16. Students alleged to have contravened this policy will be dealt with under the College policy on Student Rights and Responsibilities and Discipline.
  17. In circumstances 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.
  18. At the conclusion of any investigation, the Vice President 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.

Definitions

Complainant
a person who advises the College that he/she has been subjected to, has witnessed, or has 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.
Respondent
a person against whom a complaint of harassment, bullying or discrimination has been made.
Discrimination
any action or behaviour that results in unfavourable or adverse treatment based on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin (including language, dialect, or accent), citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, record of provincial offences or pardoned federal offences, disability or receipt of public assistance. (The preceding constitute “protected grounds.” The protected grounds shall have the meaning as in the Human Rights Code). Discrimination may include, but is not restricted to:
  • refusal to provide goods, services, facilities or accommodation;
  • exclusion from employment or employment benefits;
  • refusal to work with, teach or study with someone;
  • failure to provide physical access.
Harassment
a series of vexatious comments or conduct, whether related to one or more of the protected grounds or not, that is known or might reasonably be known to be unwelcome, unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate. One significant incident may amount to harassment. Harassment may include, but is not limited to, gestures, remarks, jokes, taunting, innuendo, display of offensive materials, offensive graffiti, threats, verbal or physical assault, inappropriate academic penalties, hazing, stalking, shunning or exclusion, bullying
Sexual or Gender Harassment
one or a series of comments, or conduct of a gender-related or sexual nature that is known or might reasonably be known to be unwelcome, unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate. This harassment may include, but is not restricted to, gestures, remarks, jokes, slurs, taunting, innuendo, threats, sexual assault, unwanted physical contact, invitations, leering, the display of sexually offensive material, solicitation, demands, unwanted attention, implied or expressed promise of reward or benefit in return for sexual favours, implied or expressed threat or act of reprisal if sexual favours are not given.
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. These actions may include, but are not limited to, stereotypical portrayal of groups or individuals in materials, attendance policies that do not accommodate religious observances in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code, height and/or weight restrictions in course selection criteria and/or job postings that are not bona fide qualifications.
Bullying
conduct that could reasonably be regarded as intending to intimidate, offend, humiliate or degrade an individual. Bullying may include but is not restricted to: persistently and excessively criticizing and scrutinizing the victim’s work without justification; spreading malicious rumours; belittling the victim’s opinions; spying on or stalking the victim; tampering with the victim’s desk, workspace or belongings; excluding or ignoring the victim; undermining or sabotaging the victim’s work by, for example, setting unreasonable deadlines or withholding key information. For the purposes of this policy, bullying is considered to be a form of harassment and is understood to be included in all references to harassment.
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.

Procedures

Resolution Processes

For matters or incidents concerning a respectful workplace or college community, there are available resolution processes that are internal and external to the College.

  • Within Lambton College, there are the resolution processes, informal and formal, as described in this Policy and procedures.
  • A complainant may contact the Human Rights Commission directly, even when steps are being undertaken internally under this Policy.
  • The Academic and Support Staff Collective Agreements specifically prohibit discrimination, bullying and psychological harassment. Bargaining unit employees may access this avenue of resolution.
  • Administrative staff may refer to their terms and conditions of employment.
  • Students may refer to the College policy on Student Rights and Responsibilities and Discipline

Internal Resolution Processes

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

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 his/her behaviour is not welcome, giving him/her the opportunity to correct his/her action(s).
  2. The recipient should keep written notes about the incident(s) and actions taken.
  3. If the unwanted behaviour continues, or the recipient does not feel comfortable approaching the perpetrator, the recipient should consult his/her Supervisor, Human Resources Department staff or, in the case of a student recipient, the Registrar (herein after each is called the Advisor).
  4. The Advisor, after consulting with the Human Resources Department, will determine if the complaint falls within the scope of this policy, and inform and advise the Complainant accordingly.
  5. The Advisor may attempt to resolve the complaint. The resolution mechanism may take the form of an informal mediation where the Advisor a) meets with the parties to seek a resolution, b) arranges for another individual to assist in the resolution of the complaint, or c) suggests other such actions as may be appropriate in the circumstances. If the Complainant and Respondent are agreeable, such a mechanism is pursued.
  6. If either the Complainant or Respondent chooses, he/she may request mediation with the help of a third party in an attempt to reach a settlement (see Mediation Process below) or may choose to file a formal complaint (see Formal Complaint below).
  7. If the attempted resolution by the Advisor, in whichever form, fails or, for any other reason, the matter proceeds beyond the attempted resolution by the Advisor, the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations must be informed by the Advisor. If either the Complainant or the Respondent is a student, the Registrar must be informed if the matter proceeds further. If either the Complainant or the Respondent is a contractor or client, the College supervisor who engaged the services of the contractor or the supervisor of the service provided to the client must be informed if the matter proceeds further. If either the Complainant or the Respondent is a visitor to the College, the Vice President of Student Services must be informed if the matter proceeds further.
  8. Once the resolution of the complaint moves beyond any attempted resolution by the Advisor, the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations will assume responsibility for the process of addressing the complaint.

Mediation

  1. The purpose of the mediation will be to achieve a mutually satisfactory resolution.
  2. An impartial mediator, agreeable to both parties, will be assigned by the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations.
  3. 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.
  4. In the event that the parties cannot agree on a mediator, the Complainant may proceed to make a formal complaint.
  5. The mediator will keep detailed and accurate records of all meetings with the parties and whether or not the mediation was successful.
  6. Mediation shall be completed within thirty (30) working days of the determination of the mediator.
  7. The College will be responsible for administrative costs.
  8. 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, the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations, if a party is an employee, the Registrar if a party is a student, the College supervisor who engaged the services of the contractor or who oversee the service provided if a party is a contractor or a client, respectively, or the Vice President of Student Services if a party is a visitor.
  9. 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 (form available on the HR Department website) with the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations as per the Formal Complaint section within ten (10) days after mediation has terminated.

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.
  2. The Complainant will file a written, signed complaint with the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations. If the Respondent is the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations, the signed complaint must be filed directly with the President – hereafter called the President - who shall assume the role and duties described below for the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations. 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.
  3. The Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations 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.
  4. Within five (5) working days of receipt of the Statement of Complaint, the Respondent shall make a response, in writing, to the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations.
  5. The Vice President Corporate Performance & Employee Relations may attempt to resolve the complaint at this stage. If the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of both the Complainant and Respondent at this point, the matter will be closed.
  6. If there is no resolution satisfactory to both the Complainant and Respondent, either party may request the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations to conduct a formal investigation of the complaint. The request must be made within five (5) working days from the date of the termination of the resolution attempt by the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations.
  7. Within ten (10) working days of receiving the request for a formal investigation, the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations shall assign an investigator. The investigator must be a qualified investigator with workplace investigation experience or training in Human Rights investigation and not employed by the College.
  8. 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, he/she shall submit a written report including findings and recommendations to the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations and the President.
  9. Based on the investigator’s report, the Vice President shall determine the course of action.
  10. 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.
  11. A summary of the findings are communicated in writing, separately, but as close in time as possible, by the Vice President to both the complainant and respondent. The complainant is advised first.
  12. In the event that the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations is the subject of the complaint, the President shall designate a person to stand in place of the Vice President, Corporate Performance & Employee Relations in the resolution of the complaint as provided in this procedure. 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.

References, Resources

Canadian Human Rights Commission

Ontario Human Rights Code

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Occupational Health & Safety Act

Forms

Respectful College Community Complaint Form - Word Format This version is preferred for filling in and printing. It contains more space for entering details.

Respectful College Community Complaint Form - PDF Format This is a fillable and printable form. This version is offered as an alternative for those who cannot use the Word version.

College Policies

2000-5-1 Students Rights and Responsibilities and Discipline Policy

4000-3-1 College Safety Policy

4000-3-4 Personal Safety and Security Threats Policy

4000-3-9 Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy and Protocol


For questions or concerns regarding policies, please contact:

Jim Elliott
Director, Quality Assurance & Institutional Research
519-542-7751 x 3489
jim.elliott@lambtoncollege.ca

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