Scenarios

Scenario 1: Between a Ph.D. student and her supervisor

Chantal is a doctoral research assistant. She has been diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder, which results in her taking more time to get her work done. Through SASS, she has academic accommodation measures in place to help ensure academic success in spite of her disorder, which is considered a disability.

Even with the academic accommodations in place, and after advising her supervisor about her academic accommodations, he is very hard on her. He believes she wastes time at work. As a result, he makes Chantal work evenings and weekends, even though she isn’t paid for this extra time. He criticizes how she does her work and sarcastically offers to teach her about good time management.

What are Chantal’s options?

  1. Tell her supervisor the effect his words and actions are having on her.
  2. Advise the University’s Student Academic Success Service about the situation.
  3. Advise a discrimination and harassment prevention officer at the Human Rights Office about the situation in order to put a stop to it and to prevent things from getting any worse.
  4. All of the above.

Number 4: Chantal can do any or all of the above. By talking to her supervisor and seeking his understanding, Chantal could be assigned tasks that are more in line with her skills and strengths. The steps in answers 2 and 3 allow staff at SASS and the Human Rights Office to help Chantal and her supervisor overcome this challenge.

Scenario 2: Between a manager and two of his employees

Richard is a director at the University of Ottawa. For the past four weeks, he has overheard two colleagues make comments of a sexual nature. He is worried that these comments are making the other employees uncomfortable and creating a poisoned work environment.

What do you think Richard’s responsibility is?

  1. The director shouldn’t get involved because it concerns only his employees.
  2. As director, he is required to intervene.
  3. He should fire the two employees in question.
  4. None of the above.

 

Number 2: Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, an employer must provide a workplace free of harassment. As the director, Richard represents the employer and is responsible for preventing harassment in the workplace or stopping it if when it’s happening. He should consult the University’s policy on the prevention of harassment and discrimination and contact a discrimination and harassment prevention officer to find ways to maintain a healthy work environment and to ensure that the rights of all parties are protected.

Scenario 3 : Between an international student and two other students

Aba is a first-year international student in an undergraduate BA program at the University of Ottawa. Although he has learned to speak English, he still has difficulty expressing himself both orally and in writing. He has to work with some fellow students on a group project for one of his courses, but the other team members don’t seem to value his contributions. When he talks to the other group members, they roll their eyes and make fun of how he talks. He feels uncomfortable, sad and harassed. He would like to drop out of this course. Instead, he decides to meet with one of the Human Rights Office discrimination and harassment prevention officers.

Is the Office able to intervene in cases like this?

  1. No. The Office does not get involved in conflicts between students.
  2. No. Students must be mature enough to resolve conflicts on their own.
  3. No. It is the professor’s or the department’s responsibility to manage activities that take place in the classroom.
  4. None of the above.

 

Number 4. Part of the role of the Human Rights Office is to do prevention work with all members of the University community. If Aba comes to the Office, a discrimination and harassment prevention officer will take the time to listen to Aba’s concerns and help guide him in dealing with the other team members, the professor or the department to make them aware of the importance of a healthy study environment. If necessary, the officer can become directly involved to prevent or stop inappropriate behaviour.

 

Scenario 4 : Between a professor and a student

Tala is a professor at the University of Ottawa. Eric, one of her students from the previous session, asks her to provide him with a reference for a summer placement. Tala declines, saying she isn’t comfortable providing a reference letter because he not only got a D in the course but also was absent numerous times. Despite Tala’s response, Eric insists that she still provide a reference letter and starts sending her very long emails.

What do you think Tala should do?

  1. Tala shouldn’t worry about it. As time passes, Eric will stop asking her for a reference and stop sending emails.
  2. Tala should provide him with the reference so he’ll stop bothering her.
  3. Tala should seek assistance because Eric’s behaviour is unacceptable.
  4. None of the above.

 

Number 3: Tala should tell the dean and her faculty about the situation and get in touch with one of the Human Rights Office discrimination and harassment prevention officers. The officer can intervene to help make Eric aware of the seriousness of his actions and the consequences they could have.

Scenario 5 : Between two students

Sonia is wondering what she can do to help her friend Sarah. While Sarah was at a retreat organized by the student association, she had a bit too much to drink and ended up letting another student, Sebastian, kiss her. Ever since then, Sebastian has been after her. He texts her every day and won’t stop calling her. He wants Sarah to date him, but she refuses and eventually starts feeling afraid of Sebastian. Should Sonia help her friend by contacting one of the Human Rights Office harassment and discrimination prevention officers?

  1. No. Sarah and Sebastian’s relationship is a private matter, so the University’s policy on the prevention of harassment and discrimination doesn’t apply.
  2. No. The retreat was held by a student association, so the University’s policy on the prevention of harassment and discrimination doesn’t apply.
  3. No. The University of Ottawa’s policy on the prevention of harassment and discrimination applies only to workplace harassment.
  4. None of the above.

 

Number 4: The University’s policy on the prevention of harassment and discrimination applies to anyone who studies or works at the University. The policy also applies to activities that take place off campus.

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