Violence and Harassment Policy

From Free Geek Toronto
Jump to: navigation, search

FREE GEEK TORONTO - HEALTH AND SAFETY -Violence and Harassment Policy (June 9, 2013) The Free Geek Toronto Board of Directors is committed to the prevention of workplace violence and harassment. We will take responsible best efforts to protect our employees from workplace violence and harassment. Definition of ‘Employees’ for the purposes of this policy will include paid participants as well as hourly, part-time, temporary employees, volunteers, board members, service users, community members and any others who visit the Free Geek Toronto space or participate in programs and services, whether those programs or services are performed at Free Geek space or any off-site locations. We are committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Violent or harassing behaviour in the workplace is unacceptable from anyone and will not be tolerated. Everyone is expected to uphold this policy and to work together to prevent violence and harassment. This workplace violence and harassment procedure implements this policy. It includes measures and procedures to protect employees from workplace violence and harassment, a means of summoning immediate assistance, and a process for employees to report incidents and raise concerns. This policy is not intended to limit or constrain the reasonable exercise of management functions in the workplace. The goal is to prevent, identify, and correct the actions of one person toward another that - if left unchecked - would result in violence and harassment in the workplace and an unhealthy, unsafe and disharmonious work environment. Management pledges to investigate and deal with incidents and complaints of workplace violence and harassment in a timely manner, respecting the privacy of all concerned as much as possible. This policy does not prevent or restrict an employee from exercising statutory rights, from filing a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission or notifying the police of an incident. This policy is premised on the Principles of Natural Justice [ref:]

Definition of Workplace Violence Exercise of physical force by a person against an employee, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the employee Attempt to exercise physical force against an employee, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the employee Statements or behaviour that are reasonable for an employee to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the employee, in the workplace, that could cause physical injury to the employee Violent or aggressive behaviour including destruction of property, throwing or breaking items, shouting, swearing and intimidation Physical or sexual assault Note: In extreme cases where the safety of person(s) is at immediate risk, anyone may and should call 911 and summon police assistance.

Definition of Workplace Harassment Vexatious comments or conduct against an employee, in a workplace, that is known or ought reasonably to be known as unwelcome Bullying, intimidation or offensive jokes or innuendos, displaying or circulating offensive pictures or material, offensive or intimidating phone calls, personal overtures or comments Unnecessary and unwanted physical contact such as touching, patting, pinching or rubbing, kissing, brushing up against a person Discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, record of offences, marital status, family status, disability and economic status. Refusing to converse, share or work with other employees based on discrimination (as defined above) Attempts to belittle or denigrate or ‘bad talk’ any individuals or groups at Free Geek Toronto to any third parties. Employees are expected to show respect for one another and all groups at Free Geek, which includes staff, volunteers, board members and the general public. Responsibility for Implementation Employer Free Geek Toronto as the employer will ensure that this policy and the supporting program are implemented and maintained and that all employees and managers have the appropriate information and instruction to protect them from harassment or violence in the workplace.

The Board of Directors will ensure all incidents and complaints of workplace harassment or violence will be investigated and dealt with in a timely and fair manner, respecting the privacy of all concerned to the extent possible.

Training on this policy will be held for all staff, board members and volunteers. In the event of a violation or allegation, management will ensure that the necessary steps are followed in order to achieve a safe and healthy work environment In the event of a breach of this policy, Free Geek Toronto will exercise its discretion in imposing sanctions that may vary depending upon specific circumstances. Staff found to have violated this policy may receive sanctions ranging from a verbal reprimand up to and including dismissal. Anyone may have their involvement with Free Geek Toronto terminated (Bylaw change needed to remove a board member upon 2/3 vote of the board or general membership)


Every employee must work in compliance with this policy and the supporting program. All employees are encouraged to raise any concerns about workplace violence and harassment and to report any harassment, violent incident or threats. This can be done through the Executive Director, or the Board President when the complaint is against the Executive Director. There will be no consequences for any reports that are made in good faith.

How the Complaint Process Works:

Who may complain:

All employees have the right to complain about situations they believe constitute harassment or discrimination under this policy.

A complaint should be made by the person affected. Complaints can also be made by a group of people who may have been subjected to the same offensive treatment; co-workers who witnessed the incidents where there is a direct and personal impact as a result of harassment involving others; or a third party complaining on behalf of the complainant.

When a complaint is made by a third party, the alleged complainant will be approached by a manager to determine if she/he wishes to pursue a complaint formally.


To protect the interest of the complainant, the respondent and any others who may report incidents of harassment or discrimination, confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigative procedure to the furthest extend possible.

Confidentiality must be distinguished from anonymity. It is fundamental that an individual accused of an offence and subject to sanctions, be informed of the allegations at Step 2 of the procedure; this information will include the identity of the complainant.

It must be recognized that, to the extent that the complainant or respondent chooses to initiate proceedings or make comments outside the complaint procedure, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Parties to a complaint are advised to refrain from discussing the complaint with anyone. It must also be recognized that information collected and retained is subject to release under the Ontario Human Rights Code or the rules governing court proceedings.

All records will be kept confidential except where disclosure is required by a disciplinary or other corrective process.

No reprisal:

This policy strictly prohibits reprisals or threats of reprisals against employees because they have rejected harassment, they have complained under this policy or they have provided information regarding a complaint. Alleged reprisals are subject to the same complaint procedures and penalties as complaints of discrimination and harassment. The Employer acting on an allegation of discrimination or harassment does not constitute reprisal.

To summon immediate assistance, contact the Executive Director or shift lead on duty.

APPENDIX A Violence/Harassment Procedure:

Step 1- Informal Resolution

Wherever possible, employees experiencing discrimination and/or harassment must take the following actions: Inform the Executive Director of the discrimination and/or harassment incident (or the Board President when the complaint is against the Executive Director). The Executive Director (or Board President) will contact the person who is accused of harassing or discriminating against the complainant, in person or in writing, that his/her behaviour and/or action is unwelcome and should stop. Often this will resolve the situation.

Step 2- Formal Resolution

Where attempts to resolve an informal resolution of the problem are unsuccessful or where the employee feels unable to bring the matter directly to the attention of the alleged respondent through the Executive Director (or Board President), a more formal complaint may be filed.

Promptness in reporting a complaint protects the rights of both the person making the complaint and the respondent. Employees are therefore encouraged to report a complaint as soon as possible after the action or behavior giving offense has occurred.

Employees can make a written complaint to the Executive Director. When the Executive Director is the person being complained about or the complainant feels unable to bring the matter to the Executive Director, the complaint should be made to the Board President. The written complaint must contain a description of the incident(s), time and place of occurrence, the person(s) involved, the names of witnesses, if any, and it should also include the remedy sought.

Respondents must be advised that there is a formal complaint against them and given a copy of the written statement of complaint. They will be kept informed throughout the process.

The procedure for the formal resolution of complaints under the policy can take two forms: mediation and/or formal investigation.

Keep a record of the incident, including the time, location, people present etc. (Refer to Appendix B – Violence/Harassment Complaint Form)

Step 2 (a)- Mediation

With the consent of the employee complaining and the respondent, the Executive Director (or Board President) may attempt to mediate a settlement at any point prior to or during the formal investigation. Mediation is voluntary and may be ended by any party at any time during the process. When a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, a Formal Investigation will be conducted.

Step 2 (b)- Formal Investigation

When any Formal Investigation occurs, the Executive Director and the full Board of Directors shall be notified immediately by the person receiving the complaint Within 5 working days of receiving a written complaint, the Executive Director or designate will notify the respondent(s) of the allegations. Respondents will be given 10 working days to reply in writing to the allegations. If no reply has been received in that time frame, a formal investigation will proceed. The Executive Director or designate will conduct confidential interviews with relevant parties to obtain information and clarify the details of the reported incident(s) Depending on the circumstances, the respondent may be suspended with pay and/or required to not be on Free Geek premises until the investigation is complete The results of the investigation will be documented. Both parties will have an opportunity to review and comment on the findings and recommendations before a final decision is made The complainant(s) and the respondent(s) will be notified in writing of the final decision. A founded complaint under this policy will be considered a form of misconduct. Corrective action could include: education and training disciplinary action varying from counselling to a written reprimand, suspension or discharge referral to public authorities such as the policy or Human Rights Office Where the results of the investigation do not support the allegations, the complaint will be discontinued, but all parties to the complaint will be so advised.

NOTE: When the Executive Director is the person being complained about, the Board President shall take the actions outlined in Steps 2(a) and (b).

Step 3- Appeal of Decision:

An employee, whether complainant or respondent, if dissatisfied with the outcome of the formal investigation and associated decision, may appeal the decision to the Board of Directors.

When the President receives a written complaint, the Executive Director shall be notified. The President and at least one other designate appointed by the Board President (to be known as the Review Committee) will conduct confidential interviews with relevant parties to obtain information and clarify any details. The results of the review will be documented. Both parties will have an opportunity to review and comment on the findings and recommendations before a final decision is made.

The Review Committee will notify the complainant(s) and respondent(s) in writing of the final decision.

Keep a record of the incident, including the time, location, people present etc. (Refer to Appendix B – Violence/Harassment Complaint Form)

NOTE: All complaints shall be well documented and maintained on confidential file.

APPENDIX B - Violence/Harassment Complaint Form FGT

Date of Complaint: ___________________ Time of Complaint: ______________

LOCATION: (be as specific as possible) ___________________________________

Complaint Against: _______________________ (individual or group)

Nature of Complaint: (Circle One) VIOLENCE HARASSMENT

(refer to definitions in policy)

DETAILS: (be as specific as possible, who did what to whom - in your own words)

COMPLAINANT NAME: _____________________ SIGNATURE: ____________________

Received by Executive Director (or Board President) _______________ Signed: _________

Resolution: (circle) Step 2 (Formal) Step 3 (Appeal)

Date and Time of Resolution (all parties informed): _______________ Signed: __________