Originator: Vice President, Finance and Administration
Approver: President’s Council
Effective: May 14, 2013
Replaces: February 14, 2006

Download the PDF version of this policy

Note: This policy is currently being revised.

1. Purpose

1.1

Members of the College Community are entitled to work and learn free of discrimination and harassment. The College must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that no member of the College Community is subjected to discrimination or harassment in the Workplace or Learning Environment.

1.2

While the first goal of the College is to prevent the occurrence of discrimination and harassment, this policy also establishes a process for dealing with complaints of discrimination or harassment should they arise.

2. Definitions

2.1

“Workplace or Learning Environment” is any physical or electronic environment where Red River College conducts business or College-related activities take place.

2.2

“College Community” includes Red River College employees, contractors and students. Other individuals present on College grounds or participating in College activities as well as business/training associates are also expected to adhere to the terms of this policy.

2.3

“Discrimination and Harassment”

2.3.1 “Discrimination” means intentional or unintentional differential treatment imposing burdens, obligations or disadvantages for which there is no bona fide or reasonable justification of an individual or group of individuals based on:

  1. 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, or
  2. any of the following characteristics:
    1. ancestry, including colour and perceived race;
    2. nationality or national origin;
    3. ethnic background or origin;
    4. religion or creed, or religious belief, religious association or religious activity;
    5. age;
    6. sex, including pregnancy, the possibility of pregnancy, or circumstances related to pregnancy;
    7. gender identity;
    8. sexual orientation;
    9. marital or family status;
    10. source of income;
    11. political belief, political association or political activity;
    12. physical or mental disability or related characteristics or circumstances, including reliance on a service animal, a wheelchair, or any other remedial appliance or device;
    13. social disadvantage.

2.3.2 “Harassment” is the term used to describe any and all of the following three types of harassment:

  1. Discrimination Based Harassment: A course of abusive and unwelcome conduct or comment based on any characteristic set out in 2.3.1 (ii).
  2. Sexual Harassment:
    1. a series of objectionable and unwelcome sexual solicitations or advances;
    2. a sexual solicitation or advance made by a person who is in a position to confer any benefit on, or deny any benefit to, the recipient of the solicitation or advance, if the person making the solicitation or advance knows or ought reasonably to know that it is unwelcome;
    3. a reprisal or threat of reprisal for rejecting a sexual advance or solicitation.
  3. Personal Harassment: Objectionable conduct (including a written or verbal comment, a physical act or gesture or a display, or any combination of them) that creates a risk to the health of an individual or severe conduct that adversely affects an individual’s psychological or physical well-being.Conduct is considered objectionable if it is based either on any of the characteristics set out in 2.3.1 (ii) or on physical size or weight.Conduct is considered severe if it could reasonably cause an individual to be humiliated or intimidated and is repeated, or, in the case of a single occurrence, has a lasting, harmful effect on an individual.

2.3.3 Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following do not constitute discrimination or harassment:

  1. the appropriate use of authority by a Manager/Supervisor responsible for functions such as (but not limited to) performance appraisals, discipline, and directing the work of an employee;
  2. the appropriate use of legitimate authority by academic staff in determining grades, identifying and preventing inappropriate classroom behavior, and recommending discipline;
  3. discrimination based on the establishment and application of bona fide and reasonable occupational and/or learning requirements;
  4. interpersonal conflict where discrimination or harassment are not present.

Examples of discriminatory and harassing behaviour may be found on the Discrimination and Harassment Office website.

2.4

“Complainant” is a person who alleges that he/she has been subjected to discrimination or harassment as defined by this policy.

2.5

“Respondent” is a person who is alleged to have engaged in discrimination or harassment as defined by this policy.

2.6

“Discrimination and Harassment Officer” is the College employee responsible for receiving and investigating complaints pursuant to this policy.

2.7

“Discrimination and Harassment Office” is the office from which the Discrimination and Harassment Officer works.

2.8

“Administrator” is:

  1. In the case of a Respondent who is a student, the Vice-President or designate (e.g., Program Manager, Chair, Dean, etc.) of the division of the College in which the student is enrolled;
  2. In the case of a Respondent who is an employee or contractor, the responsible Vice-President or designate (e.g., Program Manager, Chair, Dean, etc.);
  3. In the case of a Respondent who is a Vice-President, the President of the College;
  4. In the case of a complaint involving the President of the College, the Board of Governors.

3. Policy

3.1

Discrimination or harassment committed by any member of the College Community in the Workplace or Learning Environment is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.

3.2

It is recognized that creating and maintaining a Workplace and Learning Environment free of discrimination and harassment is a shared responsibility. Accordingly, members of the College Community are responsible for:

  1. understanding and applying this policy;
  2. taking reasonable, practical and timely steps, commensurate with the position they hold at the College, to prevent the development, escalation and recurrence of discrimination and harassment in the Workplace and Learning Environment;
  3. cooperating fully in an investigation under this policy in accordance with 4.4.10.

3.3

Individuals who believe that they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in the Workplace or Learning Environment are encouraged to inform the person(s) that the behaviour is offensive and to ask that the behaviour stop.

3.4

Managers who are aware of an incident involving discrimination and/or harassment but fail to take reasonable steps to resolve or address it may be subject to disciplinary action. Managers are encouraged to contact the Discrimination and Harassment Office to discuss any such incidents so that a determination can be made as to whether the behaviour of concern falls within the scope of this Policy.

3.5

The College will:

  1. take steps to educate members of the College Community about discrimination and harassment and about their rights and obligations under this policy;
  2. maintain a process to deal with allegations of discrimination and harassment in a procedurally fair, unbiased and timely manner;
  3. take appropriate and timely action against any member of the College Community who engages in discrimination or harassment. This action may include disciplinary action up to and including dismissal (in the case of employees) and expulsion (in the case of students) and/or limiting access to the College through the provisions of The Petty Trespasses Act.

Note: This policy is not intended to be used in situations where behaviours are considered of a violent nature as defined by Policy E13 – Workplace Violence Prevention. In such situations, that policy will apply.

4. Complaint and Investigation Process

4.1 Role of Discrimination and Harassment Officer

The Discrimination and Harassment Officer is impartial and is not an advocate for either party.

4.2

4.2.1 A Complainant who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination or harassment in the Workplace or Learning Environment may contact the Discrimination and Harassment Office for advice and assistance.

4.2.2 Provided that the matter of concern falls within the scope of this policy, the Complainant may request that the Discrimination and Harassment Officer attempt to resolve the matter informally.

4.2.3 Complaints should be raised as expeditiously as possible, and, in any event, within 6 months of the last alleged incident unless, in the discretion of the Discrimination and Harassment Officer, extenuating circumstances warrant an extension of time.

Detailed information regarding informal resolution options may be found on the Discrimination and Harassment Office website.

4.3 Formal Complaint

4.3.1 If the matter is not resolved informally (either because informal resolution is not pursued or because it is pursued but is not successful), or if the behaviour continues or reoccurs, the Complainant has the option of filing a formal complaint.

4.3.2 Formal complaints must be submitted in writing on the prescribed form, which may be obtained from the Discrimination and Harassment Office or website.

4.3.3 Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Discrimination and Harassment Officer will review the matter to ensure that it falls within the scope of this policy.

4.3.4 If it is determined that the matter does not fall within the scope of this policy, the Complainant will be advised and no further action will be taken on the formal complaint. The Discrimination and Harassment Officer may be able to recommend other problem solving options or refer the Complainant to other College resources.

4.3.5 If it is determined that the matter falls within the scope of this policy, the Discrimination and Harassment Officer will then determine whether an investigation is appropriate or, alternatively, whether an informal resolution option(s) should be pursued. In either case, the Respondent will be notified in writing that a complaint has been filed and will be provided with a copy of the complaint as well as a copy of this policy.

4.3.6 Formal Complaints should be filed as expeditiously as possible, and, in any event, within 6 months of the last alleged incident unless, in the discretion of the Discrimination and Harassment Officer, extenuating circumstances warrant an extension of time.

4.4 Investigation

4.4.1 Normally, investigations will be carried out by the Discrimination and Harassment Officer. As required, alternate or additional internal or external investigators may be appointed by the Discrimination and Harassment Officer.

4.4.2 Investigations will generally include interviews of the Complainant, Respondent and relevant witnesses as well as the review of any applicable documentary or other evidence. The Discrimination and Harassment Office may develop and adopt specific procedures for the investigation process.

4.4.3 Investigations will be conducted as expeditiously as possible. If the investigator foresees significant and unexpected delays in the completion of the process, he/she will notify the Complainant and the Respondent.

4.4.4 At any time during the investigation process, the Complainant or Respondent may be accompanied by a support person of their choice including a union representative or student advocate. The support person cannot be a witness or potential witness in the investigation.

4.4.5 Even though an investigation has been commenced, the process may be interrupted at any time to proceed with an informal resolution option(s) depending upon the circumstances of the matter.

4.4.6 Once an investigation has been concluded, an Investigation Report will be prepared by the investigator, which will include a decision about whether, on a balance of probabilities, the Respondent breached this policy.

4.4.7 The Investigation Report will not make any specific recommendations as to corrective action, as the ultimate responsibility for the resolution of the complaint, based on the findings of the investigation, rests with the appropriate Administrator. However, because the Investigation Report may serve as a remedial guide to correct deficiencies in the Workplace or Learning Environment, the report may include general recommendations to correct such deficiencies.

4.4.8 The Complainant and the Respondent will be provided with a written summary of the Investigation Report. In exceptional circumstances, at the sole discretion of Discrimination and Harassment Officer, the Complainant and/or the Respondent may be provided with a copy of the Investigation Report.

4.4.9 The Discrimination and Harassment Officer will determine who else needs to be aware of the results of the investigation and/or provided with a copy of the Investigation Report or written summary thereof.

4.4.10 All members of the College Community are required to cooperate fully in an investigation under this policy. This includes, but is not limited to, attending meetings with the investigator and delivering relevant information. Interference with the conduct of an investigation or failure to cooperate in an investigation may itself result in disciplinary or other corrective action.

Detailed information on the investigation process may be found on the Discrimination and Harassment Office website.

4.5 Findings of Investigation

4.5.1 Breach of Policy 

  1. If it is determined that this policy has been breached, immediate and appropriate corrective action will be taken by or at the direction of the appropriate Administrator (in consultation with Human Resource Services when the Respondent is an employee). The Administrator will confirm in writing to the Discrimination and Harassment Officer that such action has been taken. The Discrimination and Harassment Officer will thereafter advise the Complainant that corrective action has been taken, but will not provide the Complainant with the particulars of that action unless, in the discretion of the Discrimination and Harassment Officer, extenuating circumstances warrant doing so.
  2. Corrective action may include, but is not limited to:
    • public or private apology (verbal or written)
    • referral to educational or psychological services
    • restricted/no access to specific areas of the College or to a specific campus
    • suspension/expulsion from specific classes and/or from the College
    • disciplinary action including warning, reprimand, suspension or dismissal

4.5.2 No Breach of Policy. If it is determined that this policy has not been breached, no further action will be taken unless it is determined by the Harassment and Discrimination Officer that the complaint was frivolous, vexatious or in bad faith. Any complaint that is determined to be frivolous, vexatious or in bad faith may result in disciplinary or other corrective action against the Complainant. Where disciplinary or other corrective action is taken against a Complainant, the Respondent will be advised that action has been taken, but will not be provided with the particulars of that action.

5. College Initiated Complaint

5.1

The President or a Vice-President, in consultation with the Discrimination and Harassment Officer, may request that an investigation be conducted in the absence of a formal complaint and in circumstances where he/she deems it appropriate to do so. The College will utilize the same methods of investigation as set out herein, adapted as necessary to meet the circumstances. Based on the results of this investigation, appropriate corrective action may be taken.

5.2

The College may take whatever interim measures are considered necessary in all the circumstances, pending completion of the investigation of a complaint of discrimination or harassment. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, removing one of the parties from the environment of the alleged discrimination or harassment or ordering one of the parties to cease and desist from engaging in a particular behaviour, pending completion of the investigation.

6. Appeals

6.1

The Respondent may appeal a decision involving disciplinary action in accordance with the appropriate appeal or grievance process and applicable time limit as defined by collective agreement or College policy.

7. Confidentiality

7.1

The College will endeavor to maintain the confidentiality of all members of the College Community who are involved in a matter falling under this policy to the extent practicable and appropriate in all of the circumstances.

7.2

Neither the College nor any member of the College Community involved in the complaint process will disclose the name of a Complainant or Respondent or the details of the complaint to any person except where the disclosure is necessary to investigate or take corrective action with respect to the complaint, or is required by law.

7.3

Intentional or unnecessary breaches of confidentiality by any person may result in disciplinary action.

7.4

Copies of written complaints and all other related material will be maintained by the Discrimination and Harassment Office and kept confidential, except as otherwise provided in this policy or as required by law.

8. Retaliation

8.1

Retaliation against a person who has complained of discrimination or harassment, given evidence in an investigation or been found guilty of discrimination or harassment, whether the complaint was substantiated or unsubstantiated, may itself result in disciplinary or other corrective action.

9. Other Actions not Precluded

9.1

This policy is not intended to discourage or prevent any member of the College Community from exercising any other legal rights pursuant to any law, including the filing of a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.

Related Policies and Legislation

E13 – Violence Prevention
S1 – Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities
S2 – Student Discipline for Non Academic Matters
S3 – Student Appeals

The Workplace Safety and Health Act and Regulations
The Human Rights Code
Collective Agreement between MGEU and Red River College