H1 – Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment
Originator: Chief Human Resource Officer
Approver: Senior Leadership Team
Effective: April 19, 2021
Replaces: H1 – Discrimination and Harassment
Members of the College Community are entitled to work and learn free from Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, and associated violence.
The College has the right as well as the legal and moral responsibility to ensure that all its members are treated fairly, equitably, and respectfully, and will take all reasonable precautions to prevent Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment in the Working and Learning Environment. Any concerns or complaints about such incidents will be taken seriously and handled in a confidential, impartial and unbiased manner, in accordance with this Policy and any accompanying Procedures Guides.
The College acknowledges that online and/or off campus conduct that occurs between members of the College Community and that violates this Policy can have a significant adverse impact on the College Community by compromising the ability of students, staff and faculty to feel safe in their Workplace or Learning Environment. This Policy outlines the College’s position related to acceptable and unacceptable behaviour with respect to Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment as well as the responsibilities of the College, and individuals including students and employees.
The College is committed to:
- Maintaining a Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment, free from Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment as prohibited by The Human Rights Code, The Workplace Safety and Health Act and this Policy;
- Educating members of the College Community regarding respectful interactions in a Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment;
- Taking all reasonable steps to prevent Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and associated violence;
- Addressing issues of Bullying, Discrimination or Harassment and associated violence; and
- Implementing resolution and complaint procedures that provide for the timely and appropriate responses to alleged incidents of Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and associated violence.
“Workplace and Learning Environment” includes any physical or electronic environment where Red River College Polytechnic conducts business or where a College Matter takes place, whether during regular working hours or off hours.
“Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment” (“RWLE”) is an environment that values diversity and inclusion, dignity of the person, courteous conduct, mutual respect, fairness and equality, positive communication between people and collaborative working relationships.
“College Matter” includes any activity, event, or undertaking in which a member of the College Community participates, which has a substantial connection to the College, such as:
- College-related activities or events, including but not limited to:
- Any activity or event on property owned or controlled by the College;
- The leasing of space, including student residence rooms, on property owned or controlled by the College;
- The offering of any service by the College, including educational services;
- Student placements, practica, or clinical training;
- College research activities, whether on or off any College campus;
- Social events or networking, where matters regarding the College or members of the College Community are a significant focus of the activity;
- College field trips, service-learning activities, and similar activities;
- Activities or events involving members of the College Community, where the actions of those members of the College Community may reasonably reflect upon or affect the College, including but not limited to:
- Any aspect of the employment or engagement of employees and contractors for roles and projects substantially connected to the College;
- Participation on a committee or board as a representative of the College;
- Writings, photographs, artwork, audio or video recordings, and/or electronic communications, including communications through social media, where matters regarding the College or members of the College Community are a significant focus of the communication;
- Matters of off campus conduct that have, or might reasonably be seen to have, an adverse effect on the proper functioning of the College or the rights of a member of the College Community to use and enjoy the College’s Workplace and Learning Environment.
For greater certainty, members of the College Community, including employees and students, can still be considered to be engaged in a College Matter even when they are not physically present on campus. This can include:
- While engaged in remote teaching or learning, whether by video, phone, message board, internet chat, or some other mode of communication;
- When corresponding with other members of the College Community including students, faculty, or staff, whether by email or another method, electronic or otherwise (including social media);
- When attending video meetings or calls with students, colleagues, or staff;
- When using online learning platforms;
- At conferences or other off-campus events or meetings;
- While at working lunches or dinners.
“College Community” includes:
- Current Red River College Polytechnic employees, students and alumni;
- The Red River College Polytechnic Students’ Association and its employees;
- Members of the College Board of Governors;
- Representatives of College partners and agents;
- Visitors to the College;
- Tenants of the College;
- Persons living in a College residence;
- Independent contractors engaged to perform services by the College on College property;
- All others present in, or participating in the Workplace or Learning Environment or participating in College business.
“Discrimination” means intentional or unintentional differential treatment of an individual or group of individuals that has a negative impact such as by imposing burdens, obligations or disadvantages for which there is no bona fide or reasonable justification, based on:
- 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
- Any of the following characteristics:
- Ancestry, including colour and perceived race;
- Nationality or national origin;
- Ethnic background or origin;
- Religion or creed, or religious belief, religious association or religious activity;
- Sex, including sex-determined characteristics or circumstances, such as pregnancy, the possibility of pregnancy, or circumstances related to pregnancy;
- Gender identity;
- Sexual orientation;
- Marital or family status;
- Source of income;
- Political belief, political association or political activity;
- Physical or mental disability or related characteristics or circumstances, including reliance on a service animal, a wheelchair, or any other remedial appliance or device;
- Social disadvantage.
“Harassment” is the term used to collectively describe the following three types of harassment:
- Discriminatory Harassment: A course of abusive and unwelcome conduct or comment based on any characteristic set out in the list contained in the definition of “Discrimination” at section 2.5(b) above. This form of harassment includes offensive (verbal or written) remarks, gestures, display of images, or other objectionable conduct that demeans, belittles or degrades an individual or group of individuals, or that perpetuates or reinforces pejorative stereotypes based on one or more prohibited grounds of discrimination. Microaggressions, which are comments or actions that express a prejudiced attitude towards a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority or persons with disabilities) are a form of discriminatory harassment. Microaggressions are typically subtle behaviours, usually absent any intent of ill will, but which can have a significant impact on the recipient and lead to a divisive and toxic environment. Examples include but are not limited to: telling someone they fit the stereotype of their ethnic group, asking someone if you can refer to them by a nickname because their given name is too difficult to pronounce, conveying surprise at someone’s interest/skill in a particular activity (based on prejudicial attitudes), conveying surprise that someone is well-spoken (based on prejudicial attitudes).
- Sexual Harassment: A form of harassment based on sex, gender or sexual orientation, including:
- A series of objectionable and unwelcome sexual solicitations or advances;
- 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;
- A reprisal or threat of reprisal for rejecting a sexual advance or solicitation. Sexual Harassment can include but is not limited to the following types of comments or conduct: unwelcome remarks, jokes, sexual innuendoes or taunting about a person’s body, attire, sex, personal or social life; practical jokes of a sexual nature which cause awkwardness or embarrassment; displaying and/or distributing pornographic pictures or other offensive material of a sexual nature, either through printed copy or through any digital means including online and web applications; leering (suggestive staring) or other gestures; unnecessary physical contact such as touching, patting or pinching; expressions of gender bias which may include remarks that are discriminatory, degrading or derogatory and create a poisoned work or learning environment; requests for sexual favours; and/or sexual assault. Employees of the College have an obligation to recognize avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest in accordance with Policy P3 – Conflict of Interest. Instructors or non-instructional staff must not become or seek to become involved in a romantic or sexual relationship with a student over whom they may have influence, input or decision-making power, including by teaching, supervising, advising or evaluating. Employees should also avoid becoming romantically or sexually involved with a subordinate due to the power imbalance involved. An intimate personal relationship with a student or a subordinate may constitute or give rise to a subsequent claim that the relationship amounted to sexual harassment.NOTE: Sexual Violence is a form of sexual harassment that is specifically governed by College Policy G5 – Sexual Violence. Whenever a complaint of Bullying, Harassment or Discrimination includes an allegation of Sexual Violence, the Procedures established under Policy G5 – Sexual Violence will be followed. No complaint is invalidated merely because it should have been made under a different Policy and each complaint will be processed in accordance with the appropriate Procedures as outlined in the associated Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment Procedures Guide (“RWLE Procedures Guide”).
- Personal Harassment: Objectionable conduct (including a written or verbal comment, a physical act or gesture or a display, or any combination of thereof) 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 the list contained in the definition of “Discrimination” at section 2.5(b) or based 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.
“Bullying” is frequent or persistent negative actions or comments directed towards an individual or group of individuals that are inappropriate, demeaning or otherwise offensive and that reasonably creates an uncomfortable, hostile, or intimidating workplace or learning environment. Bullying can include but is not limited to: repeated refusal to speak to someone, frequent and inappropriate avoidance of someone, persistent exclusion from workplace informational discussions or College social events, deliberately insensitive comments, deliberately and repeatedly setting tasks unreasonably below or beyond a person’s job duties and skill level, spreading rumours or malicious gossip, belittling comments or behaviours, acts of lateral violence (i.e. bullying behaviours as a result of intergenerational trauma and/or historical colonization), yelling, screaming, swearing at another individual, rude and inappropriate gestures, slamming doors, throwing objects, verbal threats, physical intimidation, unwanted physical contact, or violent behaviour.
In a positive workplace or academic culture, differing viewpoints contribute to healthy debate about issues if offered in a respectful and appropriate way. Innovative ideas, discussions, solutions and workplace improvements are often the result. However, disagreement that escalates into unmanaged conflict may become Bullying. Bullying, which continues or increases in severity and frequency, may become Harassment.
Conduct may be found to be Bullying, Discrimination or Harassment or a combination of the three, depending on the circumstances of the particular incident(s).
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following do not constitute Bullying, Discrimination or Harassment:
- 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 including monitoring workflow and work quality;
- The appropriate exercise of managerial or human resources functions;
- The appropriate use of legitimate authority by academic staff in matters such as: determining grades, identifying and preventing inappropriate classroom behaviour, and recommending discipline;
- Discrimination based on the establishment and application of bona fide and reasonable occupational and/or learning requirements;
- Respectful communication of differences of opinion and/or disagreements about a workplace or academic project, task or issue;
- The use of nicknames that are not unwelcome, demeaning or based on a prejudicial stereotypes;
- Interpersonal conflicts that result from incompatible work or learning habits or discordant personality traits;
- Occasional or “one off” expressions of impatience, moodiness or irritability.
3.0 Roles and Responsibilities
The College is responsible for creating and maintaining a Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment, free from Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment.
It is recognized that creating and maintaining a Workplace and Learning Environment free from Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment is a shared responsibility. Accordingly, all members of the College Community will:
- Treat others respectfully and refrain from participating in behaviour that is or could reasonably be perceived to be Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment or associated violence in relation to all College Matters;
- Understand and apply this Policy and the associated RWLE Procedures Guide;
- Take reasonable, practical and timely steps, to prevent the development, escalation and recurrence of Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace and Learning Environment as appropriate; and
- Cooperate fully in any review of allegations under the Policy.
Any Individual who believes they have been subjected to Bullying, Discrimination or Harassment in relation to any College Matter is strongly encouraged to raise these issues in a timely way and in accordance with the RWLE Procedures Guide.
Managers have an important role to play in addressing Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment. Managers will:
- In the event of any incidents of alleged or reasonably suspected Discrimination or Harassment, contact Human Resources or the Resource and Resolution Advisor to discuss the situation so that a determination can be made regarding the appropriate course of action; and
- In the event of any incidents of alleged or reasonably suspected Bullying, take steps to address the alleged or reasonably suspected bullying in a timely manner and to consult with Human Resources or the Resource and Resolution Advisor for guidance as required.
In many cases, managers will be deemed to be the Appropriate Administrator responsible for addressing concerns and complaints in accordance with the RWLE Procedures Guide. As such, managers should know the key aspects of the Procedures Guide and review the Procedures Guide as issues arise.
The College will:
- Take steps to educate members of the College Community about Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment, and about their rights and obligations under this Policy;
- Maintain a process to deal with allegations of Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment in a procedurally fair, unbiased, impartial and timely manner;
- Take appropriate and timely corrective action in relation to any member of the College Community who engages in Bullying, Discrimination or Harassment;
- Communicate this Policy and any associated Procedures Guides through various mechanisms.
The College will hold members of the College Community accountable for violations of this Policy. Employees that breach the Policy will be subject to appropriate corrective action, including discipline up to and including dismissal. Other individuals that breach the Policy will be subject to appropriate corrective action.
This Policy applies to all members of the College Community in any physical or electronic environment where Red River College Polytechnic conducts business or where any College Matter takes place, regardless of whether or not the incident occurs during regular working hours.
This Policy is not intended to discourage or prevent an individual from exercising any legal right, including filing a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission or contacting the police.
The Director, Human Resources Services, or their designate, shall develop, maintain and update procedures directing members of the College Community on how to report and address Bullying, Discrimination or Harassment.
The RWLE Procedures Guide includes information on how to file a complaint under this Policy.
Incidents involving Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment should be addressed as soon as possible. Formal complaints alleging Discrimination or Harassment should be filed within 12 months of the alleged incident. An extension of this timeframe may be granted where there are extenuating circumstances.
The resolution of a complaint may be accomplished through informal or formal means. Further details of the possible resolution options are set out in the RWLE Procedures Guide.
7.0 Breach of Policy
Breach of the Policy will result in appropriate corrective action being taken as soon as is practicable.
Corrective action may include, but is not limited to:
- Training or coaching;
- Referral to educational or psychological services;
- Restricted access to specific areas of the College or to a particular campus;
- Corrective or disciplinary measures such as a warning, reprimand, suspension or termination;
- Alternative dispute resolution methods including mediation, conciliation or other restorative measures.
Breach of this Policy by a College student may include suspension or expulsion from specific classes or from the College in accordance with Policy S2 – Student Discipline.
Breach of this Policy by a College employee may result in discipline up to and including dismissal.
8.0 Interference or Retaliation
Every member of the College Community has the right to bring forward a concern or complaint under the Policy. Interference with this right or with an investigation or retaliation against a Complainant, Respondent, witness or any other person involved will not be tolerated and may, by itself, result in disciplinary action. Interference or retaliation may take the form of direct contact between the parties or more subtle actions. Retaliation involves not only penalizing someone; it can also be the withholding of a benefit.
Related Legislation, Policy and Protocols
- The Manitoba Human Rights Code
- The Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act
- The Personal Health Information Act
- The Workplace Safety and Health Act
- The Advanced Education Administration Act
- RRC Polytech Policy E13 – Violence Prevention
- RRC Polytech Policy G5 – Sexual Violence
- RRC Polytech Policy P1 – Principals of Conduct Statement
- RRC Polytech Policy P3 – Conflict of Interest
- RRC Polytech Policy P5– Ethical Behaviour
- RRC Polytech Policy S1– Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities
- RRC Polytech Policy S2– Student Discipline
- RRC Polytech Policy S3 – Student Appeals
- RRC Polytech Policy S5 – At-Risk Students
- RRC Polytech Policy IT1 – Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
- The Collective Agreement between the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (“MGEU”) and Red River College Polytechnic
- RWLE Procedures Guide