What to do

What to do if...I have been accused of discrimination?

Treat this situation as serious.

If you believe you may have offended someone, check with them. Discuss the situation openly with the person and listen to them carefully. Take their answer seriously and resolve to never behave this way again.

Know your rights. You have a right to know who made the complaint and the nature of the allegations. You have the right to present your version of the events. You may retain a legal representative at any time.

You have the right to obtain support. Students can connect with their community advisors in residence, a professor with whom they have a supportive relationship, their parents or legal guardians, friends, family or any individual(s) who can offer their assistance. Faculty or Staff can obtain professional assistance from their union, association or from a Human Resource Services representative.

Avoid, if the circumstances permit, all contact with the complainant. Such conduct might be perceived as harassing behaviour. Do not act in any way that could be perceived as an act of retaliation against the complainant.

Keep it confidential. Confidentiality is mandated by internal policies on discrimination and harassment. The confidential nature of the complaint resolution procedures protects the interests of the complainant as well as your interests and fosters a safe environment for a mediated resolution or agreement to occur.

Do find out about the complaint procedures. Cooperate and take part in the process. Respond to the allegations. Behave professionally throughout the process.

Consider whether an agreement is possible to resolve the complaint. You need to be satisfied that a settlement is in your best interests. You voluntarily choose to agree to a settlement; it is never forced upon you.

Apologize if you recognize that you engaged in inappropriate conduct. An apology can go a long way in resolving issues. A sincere apology includes acknowledgement that you engaged in the behaviour, an acknowledgement of the impact of the behaviour on the complainant and a commitment to avoid repetition of the behaviour in question.

For further details, see Policy 67a – Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination and its links to Procedures 36-1 and 36-2. You can also check our diagrams for a simplified outline of the procedures to follow.

What to do if...I am being harassed?

At any time, contact the Harassment and Discrimination Officer. The Officer is available to discuss your concerns and to provide information, support and advice.

  1. Admit that the problem exists. Do not assume that the behaviour will stop; it may worsen if you ignore it.
  2. Tell someone. Sharing your concern with someone you can trust may help you feel less isolated. Remember, it is not your fault.
  3. Speak up as soon as you realize that there is a problem. Tell the person that you find his or her behaviour offensive. Be specific about the behaviour in question:

    “I am uncomfortable when you put your arm around my waist. Please don’t do that.”

    “I find it inappropriate when you make comments about my personal appearance at these meetings. Please refrain from doing that in the future.”

  4. Write a letter to the harasser in which you (i) describe the behaviour in objective terms, (ii) express your reaction to it and (iii) request what you want to happen next. Keep a copy of this letter for your records.
  5. Keep a detailed record of events. Make note of the behaviours, dates, times, places and witnesses.
  6. Make a verbal complaint, in which case the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Officer will try to resolve the complaint by meeting with the respondent or with both parties together. If an agreement is reached, the matter is closed. If the matter cannot be resolved, the complainant can proceed with a written complaint.
  7. Lodge a written complaint with the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention officer in accordance with the Policy on discrimination and harassment prevention.
What to do if...I have been accused of sexual harassment?

Recognize that it is a serious matter

Know your rights. You have a right to know who made the complaint and the nature of the allegations. You have the right to present your version of the events. You may retain a legal representative at any time.

Obtain professional assistance from your union, association or any other professional assistance as need be.

Avoid, if the circumstances permit, all contact with the complainant. Such conduct might be perceived as harassing behaviour. Do not act in any way that could be perceived as an act of retaliation against the complainant.

Keep it confidential. Confidentiality is mandated by internal policies on sexual harassment. The confidential nature of the complaint resolution procedures protects the interests of the complainant as well as your interests and fosters a safe environment for a mediated resolution or agreement to occur.

Do find out about the complaint procedures. Cooperate and take part in the process. Respond to the allegations. Behave professionally throughout the process.

Consider whether an agreement is possible to resolve the complaint. You need to be satisfied that a settlement is in your best interests. You voluntarily choose to agree to a settlement; it is never forced upon you.

Apologize if you recognize that you engaged in inappropriate conduct. An apology can go a long way in resolving issues. A sincere apology includes acknowledgement that you engaged in the behaviour, an acknowledgement of the impact of the behaviour on the complainant and a commitment to avoid repetition of the behaviour in question.

What to do if...I experience discrimination?

Contact the Harassment and Discrimination Officer.The officer is available to discuss your concerns and to provide information, support and advice.

  1. Speak up as soon as you realize there’s a problem. Tell the person that you find his or her behaviour offensive. Be specific about the behaviour in question:

    “Your comment about my race offended me. Please stop making those types of comments.”

    “I find it inappropriate when you make comments about sexual orientation. Please refrain from doing that.”

  2. Write a letter to the person in which you (i) describe the behaviour in objective terms, (ii) express you reaction to it and (iii) request what you want to happen next. Keep a copy of this letter for you records.
  3. Keep a detailed record of events. Note the behaviours, dates, times, places and witnesses.
  4. Make a verbal complaint, in which case the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Officer will try to resolve the issue by meeting with the respondent or with both parties together. If an agreement is reached, the matter is closed. If the matter cannot be resolved, you can proceed with a written complaint.
  5. Lodge a written complaint with the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Officer in accordance with the policy on the prevention of discrimination and harassment. Your complaint must be made within 12 months of the last incident. Exceptions to this time limit can be made.

If at any time you feel your safety is being threatened, contact Protection Services

What to do if...I am faced with a conflict at work?

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