POLICY on ANTI-DISCRIMINATION and WORKPLACE HARASSMENT
What is workplace harassment?
Workplace harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker or workers in a workplace — a comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. Examples of such conduct may include yelling, violent actions such as throwing of objects or moving materials in what is considered to be a loud and violent manner, use of offensive language, unwanted touching or gesture directed at a worker or workers, and/or an unwillingness to cease such comments and/or conduct when requested.
What is discrimination?
Discrimination pertains to a failure to individually assess the unique merits, capacities and circumstances of a person and/or group, and instead, to make stereotypical assumptions based on a person or group’s presumed traits, exclude said persons, deny them benefits and/or impose burdens. Discrimination may be intended or unintended, resulting from barriers to equal involvement arising from assumption and/or bias. Workplace harassment is one of many forms of discrimination. A more comprehensive list can be found through the Ontario Human Right Commission (OHRC)
The Board of Directors of the Toronto Animated Image Society (TAIS) is committed to providing an environment free of oppression, discrimination and harassment, where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, can contribute fully, and have equal opportunities. Upholding human rights principles and obligations is a shared responsibility; everyone in the workplace must be dedicated to preventing workplace harassment. All staff and volunteers (including all members of the Board of Directors and Committees), students, interns, and members (be they Supporting, Studio, or Organizational Members) are ‘workers’ under this policy, and are expected to uphold this policy while engaged with the organization when onsite, and when offsite engaged in activities while representing the organization. As such, all workers are held accountable to this policy; an accountability overseen by the Board of Directors, as elected by the membership. Harassment will not be tolerated from any person in the workplace.
Workplace harassment may also relate to a form of discrimination as set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code, and outlined in the City of Toronto Human Resources Policy on Human Rights and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination, which states that it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the dignity and worth of every person and to provide equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. The aim is to create a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person, so that each person feels a part of and able to contribute to the community.
Rights & Responsibilities
This policy is not intended to limit or constrain the reasonable exercise of duties in the workplace, such as the reorganization of equipment and materials, the expression of opinion or the demonstration of incidences of emotion. It is expressly intended to encourage and foster a workplace climate of tolerance and respect for all.
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person has the right to be free from harassment and discrimination. Harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated, condoned or ignored at TAIS. If a claim of harassment or discrimination is proven, disciplinary measures will be applied, up to and including termination of employment.
Workers are encouraged to report any incidents of workplace harassment and/or discrimination orally or in writing to their supervisor, and/or the TAIS contact person(s), and/or directly to the Human Resources Committee of the Board of Directors.
Supervisors and contact person(s) have a responsibility to report any incidences of a complaint or concern of harassment and discrimination to the HR Committee. The HR Committee has a responsibility to investigate and deal with all concerns, complaints, or incidents of workplace harassment in a fair and timely manner while respecting workers’ privacy as much as possible, and to report this activity to the Board of Directors.
TAIS is committed to a comprehensive strategy to address harassment and discrimination. If any worker at TAIS observes inappropriate behaviour, they are encouraged to report it. TAIS will act to stop the reported behaviour and/or endeavour to resolve the matter.
TAIS Contact persons for matters pertaining to Workplace Harassment at the time of authoring are:
Jenn Snider, Managing Director
Felix Heeb, Human Resources Committee; Officer, Board of Directors
The points of order for procedure of processing/resolving of complaints is as follows:
Information about a complaint will be given only to people directly involved in the complaint. Everyone involved with the complaint will be advised of the need for confidentiality. Information will be kept securely and will only be recorded on a worker’s file if they are disciplined.
Fair treatment for all is paramount. The complaint will be handled fairly and in good faith. Any person complained about has the right to know the details of any allegations against them. Both parties will have the opportunity to give their version of events and no judgments will be made or action taken until all relevant information has been assessed. Both sides are allowed support or representation. All allegations will be investigated before a decision is made. Complaints must be substantiated before any disciplinary action is taken.
- Victim Protection
The parties involved in a complaint will be protected from being victimized and all victimization will be disciplined. Anyone found making malicious or false complaints will be disciplined.
- What to Do
We encourage you to go through these options to resolve your complaint. At any time, you can make a complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (contact information below).
Option 1 Self help:
Try to resolve the problem yourself by talking to the person or people involved.
Option 2 Seek information and talk to the contact person if you:
a) Are not sure how to handle the problem yourself.
b) Want to confidentially seek more information about what to do.
Option 3 Ask your supervisor to act if you:
a) Think there is a chance of quickly stopping the problem before it develops.
b) Have an ongoing working relationship with the person you are complaining about.
c) Want them to confidentially speak to the person you are complaining about to convey your concerns.
d) Want them to bring you together with the other party to conciliate.
e) Want to discuss options and outcomes.
f) Need to protect others in the workplace.
Option 4 Make a written complaint to the HR Committee and/or the Board of Directors if:
a) You have tried to resolve the problem and failed.
b) Your allegations are very serious.
c) Your allegations have been denied and you want to substantiate them.
d) You want the complaint investigated.
e) You have been victimized for complaining.
f) You are complaining against a senior person and an investigation will help to ensure you are not disadvantaged.
Note: Exact details and evidence of your allegations (which may lead to an investigation) will be required. You are allowed to have support people with you at any interviews or meetings.
Option 5 Ask for help elsewhere:
If the complaint has not been resolved internally with a satisfactory outcome for all, you can approach the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), 18003879080
How Complaints Are Resolved
a) Agreement: Complaints can be settled by agreement between the people involved.
b) Not substantiated: If there is not enough evidence to decide if the allegations happened or were likely, no disciplinary action will be taken. We may monitor the situation and/or consider staff education or training.
c) Disciplinary Action: If there is found to be breach of our policy or the law, we may discipline those responsible. If a complaint is found to have been false or malicious we may discipline the person making the complaint. Untrue allegations could lead to legal action for defamation. The level of discipline will depend on:
I) The severity and frequency of the discrimination or harassment
II) The weight of evidence
III) Whether the behaviour was determined to be intentional or malicious
IV) Existence of any prior incidents or official warnings
V) Whether there are any mitigating circumstances.
Discipline could involve: counselling, apologizing, warning, loss of promotion or wage increases for a period, demotion, transfer, suspension, probation, or dismissal. Anyone who is disciplined will have a record of the complaint and the outcome placed on their employee, volunteer, Board, or client file.
Records, notes or reports will be kept confidential and will not be kept on employee volunteer, Board, or client files unless there is disciplinary action. They will be filed in a confidential system with limited access.
- Other Help
At any time anyone involved in a complaint can seek legal advice and bring representatives to any interviews or meetings. At any time you have the right to contact an external agency for advice/help.
Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)
Nothing in this policy prevents or discourages a worker from filing an application with the Human Rights Tribunal on a matter related to Ontario’s Human Rights Code within one year of the last alleged incident. A worker also retains the right to exercise any other legal avenues that may be available.
TAIS Policy on Workplace Harassment is required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act [Section 32.0.1(b) and (c)].
Approved by the Board of Directors of the Toronto Animated Image Society: November 10, 2015.