Sample workplace discrimination, harassment and violence in the workplace policy

Note: This sample policy has been provided by Imagine Canada.

Purpose

Imagine Canada is committed to a work environment free of discrimination, harassment and violence, in line with our Staff Values of Care, Courage and Inclusivity. This is a recognized Human Resources and Health and Safety issue and Imagine Canada will take all reasonable measures to prevent discrimination, harassment or violence in the workplace. Imagine Canada is committed to providing such a workplace and its values of acting respectfully and inclusively underpin this goal.

Policy

This policy applies to all employees at all Imagine Canada locations and places of work. This includes work from a private residence, a temporary location, travel, or any other applicable location, and covers all forms of communications, including but not limited to, audio, video, email or other messaging.

Zero tolerance

The health and safety of Imagine Canada’s employees and workplace are of primary importance and it is expected wherever work is conducted, it will be free of discrimination, harassment, or violence. Imagine Canada will not tolerate incidents of discrimination, harassment or violence by any employee, vendor, contractor, volunteer, visitor, or any other person in an Imagine Canada workplace or involved with Imagine Canada business.

Imagine Canada will take immediate action and may, where appropriate, remove a person from a workplace by security or police, or suspend or remove any company-issued communications credentials. Imagine Canada will discipline any employee violating this policy, up to and including dismissal. If required, Imagine Canada will report conduct to the supervisor, President & CEO, building security, Board Chair or police.

Dealing with Unacceptable Behaviour

A staff member or volunteer who feels subjected to unacceptable workplace behaviour – whether this is discrimination, harassment or being subject to violence or the threat of violence – should first ask the offending colleague to stop or modify the behaviour in question if they feel safe to do so. If the behaviour is not stopped or modified, then the offended employee should consult a member of the senior management team, i.e., their immediate supervisor or the President & CEO. If the offending colleague is the President & CEO, concern should be registered with the Chair of the Board. Any record or evidence of the behaviour should be brought forward to corroborate the allegation.

Investigations into unacceptable workplace behaviour will be conducted in the manner described in the Internal Complaints Policy. If a person is found to have engaged in unacceptable workplace behaviour, disciplinary measures will be taken. Such measures may include suspension or dismissal and/or reporting the matter to the appropriate civil or criminal authorities.

Management will take whatever steps are reasonable to protect workers from workplace violence from all sources, including having employees, vendors, volunteers or other people removed from the workplace by security or police, or suspending or removing any company-issued communications access.

Definitions

Discrimination per Human Rights legislation
A course of vexatious comment or action that is known, or ought to be known to be unwelcome based on any Protected Grounds, including age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, single status, genetic characteristics, gender identify, gender expression, record of offences, and sexual orientation. The prohibition against discriminatory/harassing behaviour includes but is not limited to:
  • behaviours directed by one party against another,
  • behaviours instigated by one party against another and carried out by a third party, and
  • behaviours that impact a third person because of that person’s association with a person against whom discriminatory behaviour is directed.
Discrimination per Occupational Health and Safety legislation
Essentially the same, however, a single action may be sufficient to be deemed “discriminatory”
It is the intent of this policy to follow all regulations contained in applicable Health & Safety legislation where Imagine Canada conducts business. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • The Canadian Occupational Health & Safety Regulations
  • The Ontario Health & Safety Act
  • The British Columbia Occupational Health & Safety Regulations under WorkSafeBC
  • Quebec’s Health & Safety at Work, Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST)
Harassment
May include comments or actions which are intimidating, offensive, inappropriate, annoying, hostile, hurtful or malicious and which are known or which reasonably ought to have been known to be unwelcome.
Violence
The use of, attempted use of or threatened use of physical force, or an attempt to exercise physical force, by a person against an employee in a workplace that causes or could cause physical injury to the employee. Violence includes but is not limited to hitting, punching, kicking and intimidation. Violence includes domestic violence that may find its way into the workplace.
Workplace
Includes without limitation, the offices of Imagine Canada and any location where staff and/or volunteers are required to be together because of work demands, such as Imagine Canada functions and travel circumstances related to Imagine Canada’s business. In addition, unacceptable behaviour that occurs outside the workplace but has repercussions in the work environment adversely affecting employees’/volunteers’ working relationships or sense of safety and security, may also be defined as unacceptable workplace behaviour.

Responsibility

Leadership Council

The Leadership Council is expected to support, educate and promote a workplace free of discrimination, harassment, and violence.

Supervisors

  • Supervisors have the responsibility to investigate all situations that come to their attention in a manner that is impartial and respects, to the extent possible, the confidentiality of all parties.
  • Further, management has the responsibility to determine appropriate disciplinary action in the event of unlawful conduct, or in the event that it is determined the complaint was frivolous or malicious.

Staff and Volunteers

  • All staff and volunteers have a responsibility to act in a manner that maintains a safe and mutually respectful work environment. In addition, individuals have a responsibility to advise management should they be subject to, or witness to, conduct that violates these principles.
  • Staff and volunteers are required to review the Workplace Discrimination, Harassment and Violence Policy.

External Investigator

  • As part of its commitment to a safe workplace, Imagine Canada provides anonymous reporting of workplace incidents, if required, and investigation by an outside third party, if required.
  • It should keep a record of any incidents and provide resources with the goal of eliminating discrimination, harassment and violence from the workplace.

Questions

If an employee is unsure how to handle a situation, they should speak to their supervisor or the VP, Finance and Operations for guidance.

References

Reference any other policies, documents, or legislation that support the interpretation of this policy.

Effective Date

Indicate the date the policy came into effect and the date of any revisions.

Review Date

Indicate the date the policy is due to be reviewed. This will vary based upon the policy.

Approval

Indicate who approved the policy and the date of approval (for example, the board, the human resources policy committee, the executive director).

Recommendation

Visit our article on Drafting an HR Policy to learn more about developing HR policies.

Disclaimer

Important: This document is an example of a policy for a small to medium-size nonprofit organization operating in Canada. While certain assumptions have been made in the creation of this policy, it is your responsibility to adapt, modify, and customize the document to suit the particular needs of your organization.

The content of this sample policy is provided for information purposes only. No legal liability or other responsibility is accepted by or on behalf of HR Intervals, Imagine Canada, or its partners for any errors, omissions, or statements made within this document. HR Intervals, Imagine Canada, and its partners accept no responsibility for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of reliance on such information.

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