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, you can contact the Harassment and Discrimination Officer at the Human Rights Office to discuss your concerns and get information, support and advice.

  1. Aknowledge that there is a problem. Do not think that the behavior will stop by itself; it could get worse if you do nothing.
  2. Talk to someone you trust. Sharing a concern breaks isolation. Tell yourself that it's not your fault.
  3. Speak frankly as soon as you realize that there is a problem. Tell the other person that their behavior offends you. Clearly describe the behavior. For example :

“I feel uncomfortable when you take me by the waist. Please don’t do it anymore.”

“I find your remarks about my appearance said during the meeting disrespectful. I would likeyou to avoid these kinds of remarks in the future.”

  1. Write to the person harassing you a letter that includes the following three elements: (i) describe objectively the behavior in question (ii) express your emotions and (iii) ask the person to stop the behavior. Remember to keep a copy of the letter for your records.
  2. Keep detailed account of all incidents. Mark the tone, the words, the gestures and include the date, time, location and names of witnesses, if applicable.
  3. Make a verbal complaint; the discrimination and Harassment Counselor will intervene by meeting with both parties. If everyone agrees, the matter is closed. If not, the complainant will be invited to submit a formal complaint in accordance with Regulation (67a) on the prevention of discrimination and harassment.
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:

    “I find your remarks about my race offensive. I would like you to no do it again please.”

    “I find your remarks about my sexual orientation disrespectful. I would like you to avoid these kinds of remarks in the future.”

  2. Keep a detailed record of all incidents. Mark the tone, the words or the gestures and include the dates, time, location and names of witnesses if applicable.
  3. Write to the person a letter that includes the following three elements : (i) describe objectively the behaviour in question (ii) express your emotions and (iii) ask thye person to stop the behavior. Remember to keep a copy of the letter for your records.
  4. Make a verbal complaint; the discrimination and Harassment Counseler will intervene by meeting with both parties. If everyone agrees, the matter is closed. If things do not settle out of court, the complainant may file a formal complaint.
  5. Place a formal complaint in writing to the Discrimination and Harassment Counseler, in accordance with Regulation (67a) on the prevention of discrimination and harassment. The complaint must be filed within twelve months of the last incident of harassment.

If at any time you feel in danger, contact Protection Services.

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

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