HARASSMENT

Introduction

The word no one wants to hear

If you are like most people, the word harassment is not one you want to hear. In our opinion, it should really be on a list of words that should not be part of our vocabulary. Unfortunately, it is part of our vocabulary . . . because it exists.

The USJE and the PSAC firmly believe that every individual has the right to live and work without having to experience harassment in any way, shape or form.

The definition of harassment includes any improper behaviour by a person that is directed towards another individual who finds the behaviour offensive and which the person knew, or ought reasonably to have known, was inappropriate and unwelcome.

The definition of harassment also includes behaviour that contravenes the protections of the Canadian Human Rights Act. This legislation protects individuals against harassment based on the prohibited grounds of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.

At the work site, your employer is responsible for ensuring that employees can carry out their tasks in a workplace free from harassment. On October 1, 2012, Treasury Board issued the new Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace. This was a long awaited update to the original policy issued in 2001. Designed to foster a respectful workplace through the prevention and prompt resolution of harassment, a copy of this Policy is included in this document for easy reference.

USJE’s approach to harassment is two-fold. In the workplace, the union firmly believes that it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that its employees - USJE members - are provided with a work environment that is free from harassment.

Our role as union officers is to police this employer responsibility through pressure to provide proactive, preventative training and to offer early mediation to the individual parties. The union must also ensure that our members are provided with due process and fairness, and that proceedings are conducted in a timely manner.

The union does, nevertheless, have a role to play to ensure that our goal of a harassment-free workplace is met. Our responsibility is emphatically clear in cases of harassment of one USJE member by another. Where there are allegations of harassment involving two union members, the USJE is committed to ensuring that all of our members have:

    • the right to fair and due process and confidentiality, subject to appropriate disclosure to those involved; and
    • assistance in settling the matter at the earliest stage possible.

The PSAC has developed guidelines and typical questions and answers to assist union representatives in implementing its policies on harassment. These guidelines outline:

    • the roles and responsibilities of the individuals and bodies involved; and
    • the process, which should be followed where harassment situations arise.

Local union officers should also be aware of Regulation 19 of the PSAC Constitution, which governs membership discipline. It should be noted that Regulation 19 sets out the procedures to be followed in handling disciplinary charges at the Local level in cases where one member has laid a complaint against another. It is important that these procedures be followed in a correct and timely manner.

As union representatives in Local leadership positions, you should familiarize yourselves with the materials in this section. They will serve as useful tools when you are called upon to assist your members in dealing with harassment situations, whether with the employer or within the union. We would also encourage you to attend training sessions offered by either the union or the employer on the issue of harassment.

Finally, if you have any questions or require additional information on the above, you should contact your USJE Regional Vice-President or the USJE National Office for assistance.


USJE Statement on Harassment

This statement is to be read aloud and distributed at all USJE events.

Our union is made strong by Sisters and Brothers working together to improve our working lives and to preserve the rights that we have struggled to achieve. Mutual respect is the cornerstone of this cooperation. The USJE Constitution states that every member is entitled to be free from discrimination and harassment, both in the union and at the workplace, on the basis of age, sex, colour, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, marital status, criminal record, disability, sexual orientation, language, class or political belief. Members are also entitled to be free from personal harassment.

If you experience harassment at this event, contact the identified Harassment Complaint Coordinator to discuss the situation and possible responses. Our initial approach is to encourage early and informal resolution and to facilitate our members speaking directly with one another to resolve the matter. If this is not successful or possible, the Constitutional and policy mandates on the issue of harassment will be fully and quickly enforced.

Harassment in all its forms, detracts from our common purpose and weakens our union. Let each one of us, as we work together on the important task at hand, treat each other with dignity and respect.


Impact of Harassment

Harassment is a type of behaviour that undermines our ability to work together and it is a serious social and union issue. Harassment is not a joke, nor is it a joking matter. Its impact can range from feelings of uneasiness or discomfort to actual harm. It can be emotionally, psychologically and physically damaging. Harassment hurts.

Harassment affects people both directly and indirectly. Those who witness incidents of harassment may be deeply affected by what they see or hear. Beyond this, they must continue to operate in what may be a very tense, poisoned environment. In response, they may withdraw into silence, cease to actively participate, leave the union event or withdraw from union activity altogether. Harassment weakens our union.

As members of our union, we must each take responsibility for our own behaviour. The attitudes and behaviours of those who harass are not caused by the individuals they harass; they belong to the person who is harassing. While we live in a society that is not free from discrimination and prejudice, we are each individually responsible for how we act.

When harassment goes unquestioned and unchallenged, it leaves the wrong impression as to what is acceptable human interaction. It poisons the environment and may cause an escalation in the offensive behaviours.


Harassment and the Role of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) plays a pivotal role in the policing and enforcement of laws and regulations designed to thwart harassment.

The CHRC’s activist role flows from the Canadian Human Rights Act. Section 14 of the Act contains the following prohibition against harassment:

  • (1) It is a discriminatory practice,
    • a) in the provision of goods, services, facilities or accommodation customarily available to the general public,
    • b) in the provision of commercial premises or residential accommodation, or
    • c) in matters related to employment,

to harass an individual on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), sexual harassment shall, for the purposes of that subsection, be deemed to be harassment on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Protection against acts of employment harassment is not limited to the employee’s normal workplace or the employer’s general premises. The CHRC has held that the Act protects individuals anywhere they may find themselves in the course of their work, during or outside normal working hours.

Harassment may be related to any of the discriminatory grounds contained in the Canadian Human Rights Action. These discriminatory grounds are:

    • race;
    • national or ethnic origin;
    • colour;
    • religion;
    • age;
    • sex;
    • sexual orientation;
    • marital status or family status;
    • disability; and
    • conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.

The harassing behaviour may be verbal, physical, deliberate, unsolicited or unwelcome. It can be either one incident or a series of incidents. While not an exhaustive list, the CHRC suggests that harassment may include:

    • verbal abuse or threats;
    • unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendos or taunting about a person’s body, attire, age, marital status, ethnic or national origin, religion, etc.;
    • displaying of sexual explicit, racist or other offensive or derogatory pictures;
    • practical jokes which cause awkwardness or embarrassment;
    • unwelcome invitations or requests, whether indirect or explicit, or intimidation;
    • condescension or paternalism which undermines self-respect;
    • unnecessary physical contact such as touching, patting, pinching, punching; or
    • physical assault.

Harassment will be considered to have taken place if a reasonable person ought to have known that such behaviour was unwelcome.

The CHRC will investigate complaints launched under Section 14(1)(c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. In investigating and deciding each case, the Commission will undertake an objective examination of all the circumstances, including the nature and context of the incidents.

To determine whether workplace harassment has in fact occurred, the CHRC examines such practical considerations as whether there is a term or condition of employment that constitutes harassment. This includes:

    • the availability or continuation of work, promotional or training opportunities;
    • interference with job performance; or
    • policies, acts or actions that humiliate, insult or intimidate any individual.

The employer is somewhat accountable for the harassing actions of employees. The Act holds that any harassment committed by an employee or an agent of any employer in the course of the employment shall be considered to be an act committed by that employer. However, and here is the loophole, an act of harassment is not considered to be an act committed by an employer if it is established that the employer did not consent to the commission of the act and subsequently, to mitigate or avoid its consequences.

As union leaders, it is our responsibility to combat and eliminate workplace harassment. The Canadian Human Rights Commission Web site — www.chrc-ccdp.ca — is a valuable source of information for Local officers.


Treasury Board Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace

1. Effective Date

1.1 This policy takes effect October 1, 2012

1.2 This policy replaces the following:

Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace (2001)

2. Application

2.1 This policy applies to the core public administration which includes the organizations named in Schedule I and the other portions of the federal public administration named in Schedule IV of the Financial Administration Act unless excluded by specific acts, regulations or Orders in Council.

2.2 The provisions in sections 6.2.2, 6.2.3 and 7 relating to the role of the Treasury Board Secretariat in monitoring compliance and directing measures to be taken in response to non-compliance do not apply with respect to the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. The deputy heads of these organizations are solely responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with this policy within their organizations, as well as for responding to cases of non-compliance in accordance with any Treasury Board instruments providing principles and guidance on the management of compliance.

2.3 The scope of this policy applies to employee behaviour in the workplace or at any location or any event related to work, including while:

      • On travel status,
      • At a conference where the attendance is sponsored by the employer,
      • At employer sponsored training activities/information sessions, and
      • At employer sponsored events, including social events.

3. Context

3.1 The values of the public sector uphold the practice of respect, fairness and courtesy and the importance of demonstrating human dignity within professional relationships. These are also core components of a fair, supportive and ethical workplace as envisaged in the Policy Framework for People Management and the Workplace Policy (under development). Success in the practice of these values will foster a safe and healthy workplace free from harassment. When allowed to persist, harassment has adverse effects on the mental health and engagement of employees and on the quality of their work. In a complex and demanding work environment that brings together diverse people and in which collaboration is essential to success, misunderstandings and interpersonal conflicts are inevitable. The organizational culture has an influence on how colleagues interact with one another, and should therefore promote the awareness and practice of good communication and effective interpersonal skills. The ongoing effort to demonstrate respect is everyone’s personal responsibility.

Interactions between supervisors and subordinates may be especially sensitive because of the power differential they embody. Exercising the normal supervisory functions such as assigning and appraising work is not harassment, but how such functions are exercised can risk giving rise to the potential for harassment or perceptions of harassment.

Inevitably, there will be occasional instances of conduct that are incompatible with public sector values, and where informal requests for change in behaviours do not succeed. For such situations, a more formal process remains necessary. This policy and the associated Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process should be read in the spirit that early, informal, and less bureaucratic approaches are to be sought, even once a formal process has been engaged.

3.2 This policy stresses the responsibility of deputy heads to protect employees from harassmentbeyond the requirement of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which forbids harassment on prohibited grounds of discrimination, by requiring deputy heads to act on all forms of harassment. It also responds to the Canada Labour Code Part II and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Part XX-Violence Prevention in the Work Place, that require every employer to provide employees with a safe, healthy, and violence-free work environment and dedicate sufficient attention, resources and time to address factors that contribute to workplace violence including bullying, teasing and other aggressive or abusive behaviours. Harassment is a factor that can contribute to the risk of workplace violence and must be promptly and adequately addressed.

3.3 Deputy heads have the responsibility and are accountable for the establishment and maintenance of a respectful and harassment-free workplace and for the prompt resolution of related complaints. This policy provides deputy heads with strategic direction to prevent and manage harassment in the context of creating wide-ranging support for a safe and respectful workplace. It intends to give enough flexibility for tailoring mechanisms and practices to the distinctive operational needs and culture of each organization. Minimum requirements and expectations of all organizations are stipulated in this policy and the associated directive.

3.4 This policy is issued pursuant to Sections 7 and 11.1 of the Financial Administration Act.

3.5 This policy should be read in conjunction with the following:

3.6 Additional mandatory requirements are set out in the:

Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process

4. Definitions

For definitions to be used in the interpretation of this policy refer to Appendix A.

5. Policy Statement

5.1 Objective

The objective of this policy is to provide deputy heads with strategic directions and set out expected results to foster a respectful workplace and address potential situations of harassment.

5.2 Expected results

The expected results of this policy are that:

5.2.1 Employees have been given ample opportunity to learn about harassment prevention strategies, the harassment complaint process and their right to a harassment free workplace and there are effective incentives for employees and managers to demonstrate a high level of respect for people;

5.2.2 Employees have access to an effective, timely and confidential harassment1 resolution process without fear of reprisal, either through informal resolution or a formal harassment complaint process or both;

5.2.3 Employees perceive their work environment as generally fair and respectful;

5.2.4 There is an enhanced collaborative union-management approach on harassment.

6. Policy Requirements

6.1 Deputy heads are responsible for:

6.1.1 Ensuring that preventive activities are in place to foster a harassment-free workplace. These include informing employees about the employer’s commitment to fostering a harassment-free workplace and ensuring that results are achieved in a manner that respects employees. Other possible preventive activities are suggested in the Definitions Section- Appendix A.

6.1.2 Optimizing the use of the informal resolution processes and ensuring that those who are involved in managing and resolving harassment complaints have the required competencies, including informal conflict resolution skills.

6.1.3 Regularly consulting with bargaining agents, informal conflict resolution practitioners and other stakeholders on the application of the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process.

6.1.4 Designating an official or officials for the application of the Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution and the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process.

6.2 Monitoring and reporting requirements

6.2.1 Within organizations Deputy heads are responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy and its associated directive within their organizations.

6.2.2 By organizations

The achievement of expected results by deputy heads will be assessed by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (TBS/OCHRO) through data collection mechanisms such as the Public Service Employee Survey and the Management Accountability Framework.

Organizations may be required to provide additional information considered necessary for assessing compliance. For example, TBS/OCHRO may conduct focus groups with representatives of identified organizations, in partnership with the bargaining agents, to better understand challenges in organizations with relatively poor results.

6.2.3 Government-wide

7. Consequences

7.1 Deputy heads are responsible for taking corrective measures when significant issues arise regarding policy compliance. When corrective action is not implemented satisfactorily or in a timely manner, the Chief Human Resources Officer may request that deputy heads take corrective actions and report back on the outcome. Consequences of non-compliance with this policy or failure to take corrective actions requested by the Chief Human Resources Officer may result in Treasury Board taking actions under the Financial Administration Act.

7.2 For a range of consequences of non-compliance, please refer to the Framework for the Management of Compliance.

8. Roles and responsibilities of government organizations

In addition to its monitoring role, TBS/OCHRO assists the designated officials with the implementation and application of this policy through the provision of advice and the issuance of related administrative guidelines and tools.

9. References

9.1 Other relevant legislations/regulations

9.2 Related policy instruments/publications

GUIDES


Appendix A - Definitions

Harassment (harcèlement)

improper conduct by an individual, that is directed at and offensive to another individual in the workplace, including at any event or any location related to work, and that the individual knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause offence or harm. It comprises objectionable act(s), comment(s) or display(s) that demean, belittle, or cause personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat. It also includes harassment within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act (i.e. based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and pardoned conviction).

Harassment is normally a series of incidents but can be one severe incident which has a lasting impact on the individual.

Harassment prevention activities (activités de prévention du harcèlement)

activities which aim to reduce the potential for harassment, or perceptions of harassment in the workplace. These may include :

    • communicating to all employees the informal and formal processes available to them to resolve issues related to harassment;
    • communicating to all employees the departmental resources available such as a harassment prevention advisors, union representatives, Employee Assistance Program counsellors, and informal conflict resolution practitioners;
    • informing employees about the employer’s commitment to a respectful workplace;
    • delivering workshops on harassment prevention, anger management, meaningful conversations, collaborative problem solving, etc.;
    • developing communication tools;
    • identifying risk factors;
    • managing conflicts promptly;
    • promoting a culture of self-awareness, collaboration and respect; for example, putting in place 360-degree feedback mechanisms or comparable processes to ensure that results are achieved in a manner that respects employees.
    • providing appropriate training and tools to those who are involved in managing and resolving harassment complaints;
    • staying vigilant to the workplace climate.

Informal Resolution Process (processus de résolution informel)

a confidential and voluntary collaborative problem-solving approach such as face to face conversation, conflict coaching, facilitated discussion or mediation that has the advantage of addressing the parties’ needs, concerns and mutual interests. Informal resolution processes are also commonly called interest based conflict resolution, Informal Conflict Management System (ICMS) and alternative dispute resolution.

Footnotes: 1 - All parties directly involved in the process are expected to limit the discussions of all aspects pertaining to the complaint to those who need to know.


PSAC Policy on Union Representation - Workplace Harassment

Adopted by the PSAC National Board of Directors (February 2008)

The PSAC believes that every individual has the right to dignity and respect, both within the union and in the workplace.

Harassment based on a prohibited ground of discrimination, as well as personal harassment, are totally inconsistent with the principles of union solidarity, dignity and respect. As such, the PSAC does not condone any form of harassment or discrimination.

This Policy deals with harassment that occurs in the workplace. It is the employer’s responsibility to create and maintain a workplace free of harassment. Your union has a role in making sure the employer meets that important responsibility.

This Policy helps clarify what role the Union can play where a workplace harassment complaint or grievance is filed. There are three basic principles that support this Policy:

    • 1) the Union’s role in providing representation to employees in the context of workplace harassment should be consistent with its condemnation of harassment;
    • 2) you can request and obtain Union representation unless it is clear that the allegations — on their face — do not meet the definition of harassment that applies to your workplace. Depending on where you work, the definition of harassment can be found either in your collective agreement or in an employer policy; and
    • 3) if an allegation of harassment has been made against you, the Union can help provide you with information about the process you can expect. If a finding has been made that you did harass someone, and you are subject to corrective measures such as discipline or a deployment to another position, the Union may provide you with representation where it reasonably believes that the measures taken are too severe or unwarranted in the circumstances.

To help you understand how workplace harassment allegations are usually dealt with, here are some general things to keep in mind:

    • it is the employer that is responsible for providing a workplace free from harassment. The employer, therefore, must assess the validity of a complaint, decide whether to investigate it, and, if so, render a decision;
    • the definition of harassment that will apply under this Policy will be the definition in either the employer’s policy or your collective agreement;
    • the process used to investigate allegations of harassment will either be those set out in your collective agreement or, where no such provision exists, those set out in the employer’s policy;
    • the person alleging harassment, and the person against whom the allegations are made, have a right to be heard. This doesn’t mean the investigation process looks like a trial, but you need to be given a reasonable opportunity to put relevant information in front of the employer or investigator and to respond to any evidence or allegations made against you.

In addition to the Union’s role in the context of individual complaints or grievances, the PSAC continues to work hard at the negotiating table and in the workplace to hold the employer to its duty to ensure that allegations of harassment are dealt with fairly, transparently and expeditiously. The union will also continue to work with the employer to support the necessary education and training that is required to raise the awareness necessary to achieve and maintain the harassment-free workplace that each of you is entitled to work in.


Sample Q&A - PSAC Policy on Representation Workplace Harassment for Locals


To provide representation, I need to decide whether there was harassment. How do I do that?

Under this policy, you should provide representation unless you consider that no harassment has occurred. This is the same question that human rights commissions ask when they are deciding whether to investigate a complaint as well.

You are not required to conduct a full investigation into the complaint — that is the employer’s job. Read the allegations, look at the definition of harassment, and talk to the complainant/ grievor. If, taken as true, these allegations could constitute harassment, the Union can represent and — in doing so — make sure that the employer fully and fairly investigates the allegations.

If you decide that the allegations, if taken as true, would not meet the definition of harassment, you should communicate your reasons to the complainant/grievor — preferably in writing. For example, if someone alleges that a manager is monitoring his/her work performance, and there is no reasonable information that would suggest that this is motivated by discrimination or harassment, you need not provide representation.


What do I do if allegations of harassment are made against one or more PSAC-represented employees?

The employer is responsible for maintaining a harassment-free workplace and is responsible for investigating a complaint. The person(s) alleged to have engaged in harassment (Respondent(s)) will be advised by the employer as a result of the filing of a grievance or complaint.

A Respondent may seek assistance and advice from the Union with respect to the process in place in the workplace for addressing allegations of harassment.

For example, the Union will provide the Respondent with information outlining the grievance or complaint process and employer contact information. It will remain available to answer questions related to process and may step into making general representations where a fair and thorough process is not being followed by the employer.

If the Respondent receives discipline as a result of the grievance/complaint, then he or she can approach the Union with a request for representation. The Union will consider whether any resulting discipline was warranted or was excessive, or whether any other resulting corrective measures were reasonable in deciding whether it will provide representation.

For employees employed in the Federal Public Service, where a Respondent has been found guilty of harassment and the disciplinary measure is an involuntary deployment, the Union (PSAC) will not provide representation where it believes the deployment was reasonably necessary to address the harassment.


What do I do if there are cross-complaints?

This happens when person A files a harassment complaint against person B, and person B files a harassment complaint against person A.

Where a series of cross-complaints are filed, it becomes difficult for the Union to take a representational role, particularly where the allegations could — on their face — meet the definition of harassment. These situations are extremely complex and divisive. It makes the most sense for the Union to play a role that ensures that the employer deals with the allegations in a timely and fair manner. The Union’s role, therefore, is to monitor the process rather than to adopt the role of full representative for one side or the other.

When the process is concluded and the result is disciplinary action or other corrective measures, an employee can approach the Union, but the Union needs to decide whether the measures are excessive before deciding to represent the affected employee.


What do I do if I feel I am being harassed?

Any employee in a PSAC-represented bargaining unit who believes he or she is experiencing harassment in the workplace (the Complainant) can approach his or her Local Union Representative for information and/or assistance.


I have been named the Respondent in a harassment complaint. What do I do?

Approach your Local to ask questions if you are unsure about what to expect. Cooperate with the investigation and provide as much relevant information as you can. If you receive a disciplinary sanction as a result of a finding of harassment, then you can approach your Local for appropriate representation. The Union can provide you with representation if it believes that the sanctions are excessive or unreasonable in the circumstances.

Why do I not receive full representation as the Respondent?

The Union cannot argue both sides of the harassment equation. If a set of allegations could constitute harassment, then the employer has a responsibility to deal with it effectively. The Union’s ability to hold the employer to that important responsibility is most effective where we provide representation to a complainant. We cannot, on the one hand, say that the allegations constitute harassment, while on the other hand, we say they do not. At the end of the day, the grievance/complaint process is a fact-gathering exercise to determine if the allegations are supported. Because of this, we can still play a role for you by giving you information about the process and to monitor the employer while it investigates the allegations.


PSAC Policy 23B - Ant-Harassment: the Union

Adopted in September 1998

The Public Service Alliance of Canada believes that every individual has the right to dignity and respect both within the union and in the workplace. This policy, which compliments Section 5, Membership Rights, of the PSAC Constitution, outlines the Alliance’s responsibilities and responses as a membership- based organization in cases involving harassment within our union.

Harassment is an expression of power and superiority by one person or group over another person or group, often for reasons of sex, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, family or marital status, social or economic class, political or religious affiliation or language. Harassment can also be personal in nature and unrelated to the grounds listed above. Harassment can include, but is not limited to, the following type of behaviour:

    • unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendoes, taunts or other discriminatory communication in any media;
    • insulting gestures or practical jokes which cause someone embarrassment or discomfort;
    • display of offensive or pornographic pictures, graffiti or other materials;
    • placing unreasonable limitations on someone because of a perceived need (e.g., disability, pregnancy, etc.);
    • leering (sexually suggestive staring);
    • demands for sexual favours;
    • unnecessary physical contact such as touching, patting or pinching; or
    • physical assault.

Harassment may occur between members of our union at union-related events such as education courses, conferences, local meetings and so on. It can also occur in interactions between individuals in a union-related context.

Harassment can also occur between members and staff of our union. As an employer, the Alliance is legally obligated to provide a workplace free from harassment for our staff.

Unions are political organizations that represent the interests of the membership. In order to do this, our union must be able to take positions on various issues and situations. Determining what our members’ interests are and deciding how to balance competing interests is an intense process and one that can involve energetic debate. For our union to be strong and vibrant, it is essential that these debates take place and that we grow individually and collectively by working through sometimes difficult issues. A union where members are afraid to express their opinion is neither democratic nor healthy.

That being said, it is equally important that these necessary debates take place in a respectful way. Harassment not only poisons our union for the individual(s) being harassed but for all of those who witness the harassment. The Alliance will not tolerate it.

It is not the intention that this policy chill or prevent debate and discussion, or that it be used to chill debate and discussion. Rather, this policy should be used as a tool to assist us in working together in ways that strengthen our union and help us reach our goals.

Where allegations of harassment have risen, the Alliance is committed to ensuring that all members of our union have:

    • the right to fair and due process and to confidentiality, subject to appropriate disclosure to those involved, and
    • assistance in settling the matter at the earliest stage possible.

As an ongoing campaign to support this policy, the Alliance will ensure that a statement is read at each Alliance event providing members with information about harassment and how to address it. All levels of our union are encouraged to undertake this initiative.

Guidelines to assist in the implementation of this policy have been developed and will be revised as necessary and based on input from the membership.

Any member of the Public Service Alliance of Canada who is found guilty of harassment may be disciplined in accordance with PSAC Regulation 19 and Section 25 of the PSAC Constitution.


PSAC Policy 23B - Guidelines

Unions are organizations based on working together. We call each other Sister and Brother to underline our need to work together to support one another. There is nothing more distressing than when our family members are unfairly treated, especially if it is by someone else in the family. The same holds true for our union. It is essential, if we are to fulfil our objectives as a union, that measures be in place and all of us assume responsibility in ensuring that our union is free of harassment.

Harassment

PSAC Policy 23B defines harassment as follows:

Harassment is an expression of power and superiority by the respondent(s) over another person or group, often for reasons of sex, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, family or marital status, social or economic class, political or religious affiliation, or language. Harassment can also be personal in nature and unrelated to the grounds listed above. Harassment can include, but is not limited to, the following type of behaviour:

    • unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendos, taunts, or other discriminatory communication in any media;
    • insulting gestures or practical jokes which cause someone embarrassment or discomfort;
    • display of offensive or pornographic pictures, graffiti, or other materials;
    • placing unreasonable limitations on someone because of a perceived need (e.g., disability, pregnancy, etc.);
    • leering (sexually suggestive staring);
    • demands for sexual favours;
    • unnecessary physical contact such as touching, patting or pinching;
    • physical assault.

This policy expands on Section 5: Membership Rights of the PSAC Constitution, which states:

Every member in good standing is entitled:

    • to be free from any act or omission on the part of the Union, or other members, that would discriminate against the member on the basis of age, sex, colour, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, marital status, criminal record, physical or mental handicap, sexual orientation, language, political belief, or employer.
    • to be free from harassment by another member, both within the union and in the workplace, on the basis of any of the grounds mentioned in paragraph (b).

Policy 23B and the associated guidelines provide further direction and information about the implementation of this section of our Constitution. Resolution 83A from the 1997 PSAC Triennial Convention also mandated the inclusion of personal harassment under this policy.


Application of PSAC Policy 23B

The PSAC has the legal obligation, arising from human rights law, to ensure that our members do not experience discrimination at the hands of our union. We also have the moral obligation to create a tolerant, welcoming union for all those who wish to participate. The PSAC Constitution acknowledges our obligations through Section 5: Membership Rights and in Section 25: Discipline, which names harassment as the basis for discipline.

This policy, which outlines the Alliance’s responsibilities and responses as a membership-based organization in cases involving harassment within our union, applies to all interaction among our members in their roles as members of our union. This includes participation in union events (such as courses, conferences, and meetings), as well as in individual interaction (such as representation on grievances and in discussions about union matters).

As Policy 23B pertains to the way the PSAC runs itself, note that for this policy to apply, an individual must be a member of the union (as opposed to a suspended member or a Rand deductee). Depending on the facts of the situation, a worker covered by an Alliance collective agreement who has not yet joined the Alliance may be allowed to join the union at the time of the complaint and have their

internal complaint addressed under this policy. This decision would be made by the elected Responsible Officer (see Toolbox Sheet on Roles and Responsibilities).

Unions are political organizations that represent the interests of the membership. In order to do this, our Union must be able to take positions on various issues and situations. Determining what our members’ interests are and deciding how to balance competing interests is an intense process and one that can involve energetic debate. For our Union to be strong and vibrant, it is essential that these debates take place and that we grow individually and collectively by working through sometimes difficult issues. A Union where members are afraid to express their opinion is neither democratic nor healthy.

That being said, it is equally important that these necessary debates take place in a respectful manner. Harassment not only poisons our union for the individual(s) being harassed, but for all of those who witness the harassment. The Alliance and the USJE will not tolerate it.

This policy does not apply to situations wherein members are espousing duly adopted policies or positions of our union. It does not apply to situations where members are expressing their opinion, as long as those opinions do not constitute illegal discrimination (such as racial discrimination, homophobia, and so on). Also, it does not apply to situations wherein someone is actively opposing illegal discrimination or harassment.


Roles and Responsibilities

Where allegations of harassment have arisen, the PSAC is committed to ensuring that all members of our union have:

    • the right to fair and due process and to confidentiality, and
    • assistance in settling the matter at the earliest stage possible.

The process of implementation of this policy has been developed with these principles in mind. The process itself involves various individuals and bodies, namely the:

    • Complainant,
    • Harassment Complaint Coordinator,
    • Harassment Complaint Committee,
    • PSAC Staff,
    • Respondent,
    • Responsible Officer, and
    • Witness.

Complainant

This is the individual(s) who feels s/he has experienced harassment. Roles and responsibilities include:

    • Making every effort to advise the member they feel has harassed them that the attention, attitude or behaviour is unwelcome and unwanted, if possible;
    • Being specific and concrete when identifying the harassment; and
    • Cooperating with the Harassment Complaint Coordinator and the Harassment Complaint Committee in resolving the complaint.

Harassment Complaint Coordinator

This individual is responsible for receiving complaints, ensuring that they fall under this policy and attempting early/informal resolution of the complaint. A Harassment Complaint Coordinator should be appointed for each union event and clearly identified to the participants. Please note that it is usually preferable to consider the composition in appointing the Coordinator to ensure members/participants will feel comfortable approaching that person. While there should be one person responsible for the overall coordination, in some cases it might be best to request other members to work with that person (e.g., male/female, racial diversity, and so on).

Union bodies, such as Locals, Components, Regional Women’s Committees, and so on, are encouraged to appoint a Harassment Complaint Coordinator to deal with complaints as they arise. If this initiative is undertaken, the members should be advised and reminded of this appointment on a regular basis.

Roles and responsibilities include:

General:

    • Receiving complaints and ensuring that they fall under this policy;
    • Facilitating early/informal resolution, if possible;
    • Advising the respondent of the complaint;
    • Ensuring that members understand the process and how they fit in, including their right to appeal any decisions;
    • Ensuring that the policy is available upon request;
    • Being familiar with the policy and to carry out any required preparatory work/research as required. This includes being comfortable with the Alliance’s liability in cases of harassment, as well as our desire to focus on corrective remedial actions in situations of harassment as opposed to a lengthy punitive process;
    • Being available and easily accessible to members for who they have been named a Harassment Complaint Coordinator;
    • Consulting with others (e.g., Local executive, convener of an event, staff coordinator, and so on) to identify any issues that may affect the group with whom they are working;
    • Making suggestions to prevent harassment situations from developing. For example, to raise the possibility of regular training for the membership, or lunchtime sessions at an event.

At an event:

    • Working with the event convener/chairperson to introduce the policy and them self, including proving information about how they may be reached during the event;
    • Checking in with the convener/chairperson periodically to identify any issues of concern;
    • Ensuring a space/room is reserved for the Coordinator that allows confidentiality;
    • Adapting the harassment kit and resource materials to the event, as required;
    • Liaising with the group common rooms committee or Host committee to review the policy and discuss their role and responsibilities.

Harassment Complaint Committee

This is the body tasked with investigating allegations and making a report including recommendations. It is appointed by the Harassment Complaint Coordinator (if a member) or the responsible Officer (if the Harassment Complaint Coordinator is a staff person).

The Committee should be made up of three members of our union, who have no personal connection with either party to the complaint. Committee members can be drawn from those participating in the event or from the broader pool of members.

Locals and other union bodies may wish to establish an on-going Committee to deal with complaints of this nature. Roles and responsibilities include:

    • Investigating allegations of harassment and submitting a report to the Responsible Officer, including recommendations;
    • Being familiar with the policy and carrying out any of the necessary preparatory work/ research;
    • Being discreet in investigating the complaint and ensuring that, during the handling of complaints of harassment, particular attention is paid to the concept of a fair and due process;
    • Dealing with complaints as quickly as possible, ensuring that the complaint is investigated and concluded before the conclusion of the event, if the allegation arose at an event, or shortly thereafter;
    • Developing recommendation(s) with respect to the resolution of the complaint;
    • Providing the complainant and the respondent with a copy of their report;
    • Briefing the event convener, as required.

PSAC Staff

PSAC staff generally only have a role to play in the implementation of this policy at Alliance-sponsored events, as opposed to Local or Component events. Their role is limited to acting in the capacity of a technical advisor, such as what PSAC policies might touch on this particular situation, whether there are relevant sections of the PSAC Constitution and so on. The staff person does not have a role to play in the development of recommendations or in contacting or interviewing members or other involved parties.

Respondent

This is the individual(s) against whom the allegation of harassment is made. Roles and responsibilities include:

    • Listening carefully to the allegations and attempting to understand and resolve the concern as quickly as possible;
    • Cooperating with the Harassment Complaint Coordinator and the Harassment Complaint Committee in resolving the complaint.

Responsible Officer

This is the elected Officer responsible for the situation in which the allegation of harassment is made. The relevant Responsible Officer is:

    • The PSAC National President or his/her delegated Officer, if the complaint involves an elected union officer at the Component or Alliance levels;
    • The PSAC Vice-President responsible for the event or his/her delegated Officer, if it is a national Alliance event or matter;
    • The Regional Executive Vice-President or his/her delegated Officer, if it is a regional Alliance event or matter;
    • The Component President or his/her delegated Officer, if it is a Local event or matter.

Roles and responsibilities include:

    • Ensuring that there is a clearly identified Harassment Complaint Coordinator to deal with complaints in various situations;
    • Reviewing and approving the report of the Harassment Complaint Committee and taking the appropriate action.

Witness

Witnesses are individuals who witnessed either the behaviour or action that is alleged to have been harassment or who have some other type of relevant information that will assist in resolving the complaint. Roles and responsibilities include:

    • Cooperating with the Harassment Complaint Committee in resolving the complaint by providing accurate and fair testimony.


Process

1. Prevention

This is the most important step in ensuring that our union is free from harassment. It includes training, open discussion about the subject and reading/handing out the PSAC Statement on Harassment or a Component’s Statement of Harassment at the beginning of union events. The more we focus on this step, the less likely we will have to move to the following steps.

2. Member feels they have experienced harassment

A member who feels s/he has experienced harassment has the right and should make every effort to advise the member s/he feels has harassed them that the attention, attitude or behaviour is unwelcome and unwanted. This may not be possible in all cases.

3. Member decides to make a Complaint

The member should approach the identified Harassment Complaint Coordinator and advise them of the situation. If no one has been named or if the member is unsure of who it is, the member should approach the elected officer(s) or staff representative(s) for clarification. This individual will then either appoint or request the appointment (if staff) of a Harassment Complaint Coordinator to continue the process.

4. Initial discussion with Harassment Complaint Coordinator

Prior to taking any action, the Harassment Complaint Coordinator will review the facts presented by the member who has approached him/her to ensure that the situation in question falls appropriately under this Policy. If this is not the case, the Harassment Complaint Coordinator will advise the member that Policy 23B does not apply and, if applicable, refer the member to the appropriate recourse. If the member does not agree with this decision, it may be appealed (see point 10 below).

If the situation does fall under this Policy, the Harassment Complaint Coordinator must discuss the available options with the member who has raised the complaint. The member may simply have wanted to tell someone, but not desire any action at that time, or the member may wish measures taken to prevent a similar situation in the future. Unless there is clear danger or the likelihood of continued, intentional harassment, the Coordinator must allow the member who raised the complaint the dignity of risk. This means allowing the individual to assess for themselves whether it is preferable for them to take formal action at that time. See the following section on Dignity of Risk.

5. Informal resolution

If the member raising the complaint wishes that some action be taken to resolve the matter, the Harassment Complaint Coordinator must discuss the situation with the parties to determine if the matter can be resolved informally.

Please note that the respondent has a right to receive a written copy of the allegations being made. If the appearance of an official complaint form might pose a barrier to the successful resolution of a complaint form might pose a barrier to the successful resolution of a complaint, and the respondent has not requested a copy of the complaint form, judgement should be exercised in deciding whether it should be provided.

If the complaint can be resolved, the matter ends at this point. If the complaint has arisen at an event, a summary of the issues raised (using no names) should form part of the event report to the elected Officer responsible.

6. Investigation

If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, the Harassment Complaint Committee will conduct an investigation to determine the facts of the matter as quickly as possible. A form has been designed for use with Policy 23B that will assist the Committee in this investigation. Forms are available through the PSAC Human Rights Office.

7. Harassment Complaint Committee Report

Once the Committee has completed their investigation, they will submit a written report, including recommendations, to the Responsible Officer. Regulation 19 of the PSAC Constitution has the following comments to make about these types of reports:

Report of the Committee established in Section 6(a) of this Regulation shall consist of one or two parts depending on whether the allegation is upheld by the Committee:

(e) Part I: will include a finding of fact that either confirms or not that the member or members have violated the PSAC Constitution or Component, Local or Area Council Bylaws. This part of the report cannot be amended and is not subject to a vote.

Part II: would recommend the specific disciplinary action in the event that the Committee finds that the member or members have violated the PSAC Constitution or Component, Local or Area Council Bylaws.

The parties to the complaint will each receive a copy of the report and be invited to submit comments on it to the Responsible Officer by a specific deadline.

8. Approval of the Report

The Responsible Officer receiving the report must make a decision, in consideration of the report and any submissions from involved members, as to whether the recommendations are appropriate. The Officer may, if it is appropriate, modify the recommendations.

Not for Application at Local Level: Where the matter has been presented to the Local Executive and

“if disciplinary action is recommended, the Committee’s report shall be placed before a special or general meeting of the Local and shall be subject to the acceptance of two- thirds (2/3) of those members in attendance.” PSAC Constitution, Regulation No. 19, Section 6(c)

If either party disagrees with the decision of the meeting, the matter can be appealed as described in 10 and 11 below.

9. Disclosure

The Responsible Officer will advise the involved members and the Harassment Complaint Committee in writing of the action to be taken.

10. Complaint unfounded

In the event the complaint is found to be without substance, the complainant may appeal to the Alliance Executive Committee.

11. Complaint founded

In the event discipline under Regulation 19 of the PSAC Constitution is recommended, the Responsible Officer (or a representative of that person) will present the case to the National Board of Directors. If there is a recommendation for discipline arising at the Local level, the Local executive will forward the recommendation to the Component President for appropriate action.

Where disciplinary action is authorized by the National Board of Directors, the member to receive the discipline may appeal this decision to the PSAC National President within sixty (60) days of receipt of notice of the discipline. The matter will then be considered by a Tribunal established under Regulation 19 of the PSAC Constitution.

12. Dissemination of relevant information

Where incidents of harassment result in disciplinary action by the union, the Alliance Executive Committee will have the right to disseminate the relevant information, including who was disciplined, in what way, and for what period of time (if suspension).


Dignity of risk

Where action is taken without the permission of the member complaining of harassment, it can result in that member feeling twice victimized. It might also prevent other members from stepping forward for fear they will begin a process over which they have no control.

This does not mean, however, that the union should not or is not able to respond to these situations, which may be a poisoned environment due to harassment. Some actions can be taken, in consultation with the member, without necessarily involving them in a formal process against their will. For example, at an event, the Harassment Statement could be read out again to all participants or it might be possible to ensure that the member is not left alone with the person they named. These types of situations can be quite difficult and complex and it is essential that they be approached creatively and in problem-solving mode.

Nonetheless, for substantiated serious offenses such as unnecessary physical contact, or physical or sexual assault, regardless of intent or proffered apology, the union may be required to act. In such circumstances, it may be imperative that the union take action to protect other members from similar behaviour as well as to protect the complainant from retaliation or continued physical attacks.


Principles of Investigation

When conducting an investigation, the Harassment Complaint Committee should keep the following principles in mind:

    • The investigation is impartial and, as importantly, is seen as impartial by all parties.
    • All witnesses are interviewed and any relevant documents identified by the parties are reviewed. All required interviews should be conducted in an appropriate confidential area and interviewees should be aware that they may be accompanied by a person of their choice.
    • The investigation is timely, i.e., it takes place while everyone can still remember the situation. If at an event, there should be an effort to conduct the investigation before the event is finished.
    • The expectation of how long the investigation will take should be clearly stated by the investigator at the beginning of the process. The length will vary depending on the complexity of the allegations and surrounding circumstances.
    • All statements relied upon in the investigation should be reviewed and signed by the person making the statement.
    • There should be full disclosure to complainants and respondents of all allegations, responses and statements, except where non-relevant personal information is involved.
    • There should be a clear focus on resolving a problem.
    • The final report from the investigation should be provided to all parties.


The Harassment Complaint Committee Report

A Harassment Complaint Report Form must be completed and copied to the member(s) making the complaint and the member(s) against whom the complaint is being made. These members must be invited to submit their comments on the report directly to the Responsible Officer by a specified deadline. The deadline should be set to allow the members the opportunity to review and respond to the report, but not to create a lengthy delay.

Factors to Consider in Developing Recommendations

In line with Canadian human rights law, the Alliance’s approach to resolving harassment complaints is to focus on corrective remedial actions, rather than a lengthy punitive process. The focus is on creatively resolving the problem, not on punishment.

For founded complaints that do not involve assault, or threatening physical contact, some factors may be considered by the Harassment Complaint Committee in developing their recommendations, including:

    • Any voluntary admission by the respondent(s) to the behaviour that is the basis of a complaint;
    • Cooperative attitude on the part of the alleged respondent(s) with the investigation of a complaint;
    • Evidence that a respondent sincerely regrets behaviour that constitutes harassment and is willing to take steps to change;
    • The needs of the complainant;
    • The welfare of the group;
    • The union’s legal obligation under applicable human rights legislation.

Examples of Appropriate Recommendations

Founded Complaints: If harassment is found to have occurred, examples of appropriate recommendations include:

    • a requirement that the respondent(s) make a private or public apology to the complainant(s) depending on the situation and the request/wishes of the complainant(s);
    • a requirement that the respondent(s) make a commitment to the Harassment Complaint Committee to cease the offensive behaviour;
    • a requirement that the respondent(s) study the union’s policy on harassment and demonstrate that they understand what it means;
    • a suggestion that the respondent(s) attend training sessions on harassment that may be available in the community;
    • a stipulation that a specific period of time must pass before the respondent(s) would be entitled to attend similar union events in the future;
    • removal of the respondent(s) from the union event; and/or
    • suspension from union membership (See Regulation 19 of the PSAC Constitution).

Unfounded Complaints: If no harassment is found to have occurred, there may still be issues that need to be addressed. If the complaint is unfounded, examples of appropriate recommendations include:

    • a requirement that all involved members study the union’s policy on harassment and demonstrate that they understand what it means;
    • a suggestion that all involved members attend training sessions on harassment that may be available in the community;
    • a requirement that the member making the complaint make a private or public apology to those against whom the allegations were made, if the complaint is found to be malicious or vexatious; and/or
    • suspension from union membership for the member raising the complaint, if the complaint is found to be malicious or vexatious (see Regulation 19 of the PSAC Constitution).

Retaliation

Retaliation against a member is totally unacceptable and will be dealt with swiftly.


Situations Involving Members and Staff

Those working for our union are required in the course of their duties to educate, motivate and organize the membership, to handle members’ problems at the workplace and to ensure their rights are protected. In carrying out these functions, most of our staff, particularly at the officer level, spend the majority of their work time unsupervised in situations where they are required to take the initiative and to make decisions on their own. It is inevitable that there will be differences of opinion, disagreements and, from time to time, complaints about staff. As well, staff may sometimes feel that the way in which they have been treated is inappropriate.

As our staff are representatives of the USJE, their reputation and credibility is important to our union. Just as important is the necessity for our staff to work in an environment free from idle complaints and hearsay that have the potential to undermine our staff’s well-being and job performance.

Situations involving staff that concern allegations of harassment will be dealt with by the USJE in full consideration of our obligations as an employer under human rights legislation and the relevant collective agreement for the involved staff. Members wishing further information in this regard should contact the USJE National Office.


Process for Implementation of Policy 23B

Guidelines for Investigating Member vs. Member Complaints/Grievances at the Workplace

As indicated earlier in this policy, the employer has a clear legal liability to create and maintain a harassment free work environment. The following guidelines are provided to assist all concerned when a complaint/grievance of personal or sexual harassment is received. These guidelines are built upon the principles of confidentiality, expediency, and fair and due process for both the complainant and the respondent.

Because of the sensitive nature of this problem, all avenues of assistance should be open to a member who is being harassed. The following steps, however, would be the basic steps that a Union representative would normally follow.

1. When a written complaint is received from a member, PSAC Regulation 19 is to be followed. All investigations conducted by the Union may be parallel to and independent of any investigation carried out by management. All information must be treated on a confidential basis, except to the extent that it is necessary to complete the investigation.

2. All parties to the investigation will receive a copy of the USJE Policy on Harassment, including PSAC Regulation 19.

3. Where a complaint is upheld by the employer and the harasser(s) receive a disciplinary penalty, at their request, the Union will review the disciplinary penalty and, where it is determined the penalty is unjust, will provide the harasser(s) with representation on a subsequent grievance. In some cases, some representation will be limited to the severity of the penalty.

4. If the Local decides to provide representation to an alleged harasser, the Local should warn the alleged harasser, in writing, that representation at one level of the grievance procedure does not guarantee representation at further levels. The Union will not withdraw representation in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner, but the Alliance may choose to withdraw once a final decision is made on whether the discipline is unjust.


Guidelines for Investigating Complaints at Union- Related Activities

The following guidelines are provided to assist all concerned when a complaint of personal/sexual harassment is received. The guidelines are built upon the principles of confidentiality, expediency, and fair and due process for both the complainant and the respondent.

Because of the sensitive nature of this problem, all avenues of assistance should be open to a member who is being harassed. The following steps, however, would be the basic steps that a Union representative would normally follow.

1. When a written complaint is received from an individual, PSAC Regulation 19 is to be followed. All information must be treated on a confidential basis, except to the extent that is necessary to complete the investigation.

2. All parties to the investigation will receive a copy of the USJE Policy on Harassment, including PSAC Regulation 19.

3. National Executive Officers will act as harassment coordinators at all Union-related functions.


Violence in the Workplace

What is workplace violence?

Most people think of violence as a physical assault. However, workplace violence is a much broader problem. It is any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated or assaulted in his or her employment. Workplace violence includes:

    • threatening behaviour - such as shaking fists, destroying property or throwing objects.
    • verbal or written threats - any expression of an intent to inflict harm.
    • harassment - any behaviour that demeans, embarrasses, humiliates, annoys, alarms or verbally abuses a person and that is known or would be expected to be unwelcome. This includes words, gestures, intimidation, bullying, or other inappropriate activities.
    • verbal abuse - swearing, insults or condescending language.
    • physical attacks - hitting, shoving, pushing or kicking.
    • Rumours, swearing, verbal abuse, pranks, arguments, property damage, vandalism, sabotage, pushing, theft, physical assaults, psychological trauma, anger-related incidents, rape, arson and murder are all examples of workplace violence.

Workplace violence is not limited to incidents that occur within a traditional workplace. Work-related violence can occur at off-site business-related functions (conferences, trade shows), at social events related to work, in clients’ homes or away from work but resulting from work (a threatening telephone call to your home from a client).

What work-related factors increase the risk of violence?

Certain work factors, processes, and interactions can put people at increased risk from workplace violence. Examples include:

    • working with the public.
    • handling money, valuables or prescription drugs (e.g. cashiers, pharmacists).
    • carrying out inspection or enforcement duties (e.g. government employees).
    • providing service, care, advice or education (e.g. health care staff, teachers).
    • working with unstable or volatile persons (e.g. social services, or criminal justice system employees).
    • working in premises where alcohol is served (e.g. food and beverage staff).
    • working alone, in small numbers (e.g. store clerks, real estate agents), or in isolated or low traffic areas (e.g. washrooms, storage areas, utility rooms).
    • working in community-based settings (e.g. nurses, social workers and other home visitors).
    • having a mobile workplace (e.g. taxicab).working during periods of intense organizational change (e.g. strikes, downsizing).

Risk of violence may be greater at certain times of the day, night or year; For example,

    • late hours of the night or early hours of the morning,
    • tax return season,
    • overdue utility bill cut-off dates,
    • during the holidays,
    • pay days,
    • report cards or parent interviews, and
    • performance appraisals.

Risk of violence may increase depending on the geographic location of the workplace; for example,

    • near buildings or businesses that are at risk of violent crime (e.g. bars, banks).
    • in areas isolated from other buildings or structures.

Which occupational groups tend to be most at risk from workplace violence?

Certain occupational groups tend to be more at risk from workplace violence. These occupations include:

    • health care employees,
    • correctional officers,
    • social services employees,
    • teachers,
    • municipal housing inspectors,
    • public works employees, and
    • retail employees.

How do I know if my workplace is at risk?

    • Review any history of violence in your own workplace.
    • Ask employees about their experiences, and whether they are concerned for themselves or others.
    • Review any incidents of violence by consulting existing incident reports, first aid records, and health and safety committee records.
    • Determine whether your workplace has any of the risk factors associated with violence.
    • Conduct a visual inspection of your workplace and the work being carried out. Focus on the workplace design and layout, and your administrative and work practices.
    • Evaluate the history of violence in similar places of employment.
    • Obtain information from any umbrella organizations with which you are associated; e.g., your industry association, workers’ compensation board, occupational health and safety regulators or union office.
    • Seek advice from local police security experts.
    • Review relevant publications.
    • Collect newspaper or magazine clippings relating to violence in your industry.
    • Contact legislative authorities to determine if specific legislation regarding workplace violence prevention applies to your workplace.
    • Organize and review the information you have collected. Look for trends and identify the occupations and locations that you believe are most at risk. Record the results of your assessment. Use this document to develop a prevention program with specific recommendations for reducing the risk of violence within your workplace.

What can I do to prevent violence in my workplace?

The most important component of any workplace violence prevention program is management commitment. Management commitment is best communicated in a written policy. The policy should:

    • be developed by management and employee representatives.
    • apply to management, employee’s, clients, independent contractors and anyone who has a relationship with your company.
    • define what you mean by workplace violence in precise, concrete language.
    • provide clear examples of unacceptable behaviour and working conditions.
    • state in clear terms your organization’s view toward workplace violence and its commitment to the prevention of workplace violence.
    • precisely state the consequences of making threats or committing violent acts.
    • outline the process by which preventive measures will be developed..
    • encourage reporting of all incidents of violence.
    • outline the confidential process by which employees can report incidents and to whom.
    • assure no reprisals will be made against reporting employees.
    • outline the procedures for investigating and resolving complaints.
    • describe how information about potential risks of violence will be communicated to employees.
    • make a commitment to provide support services to victims of violence.
    • offer a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to allow employees with personal problems to seek help.
    • make a commitment to fulfil the violence prevention training needs of different levels of personnel within the organization.
    • make a commitment to monitor and regularly review the policy.
    • state applicable regulatory requirements.

What are some advantages of having a written policy about workplace violence, harassment and other unacceptable behaviour?

A written policy will inform employees about:

    • what behaviour (e.g., violence, intimidation, bullying, harassment, etc.) that management considers inappropriate and unacceptable in the workplace,
    • what to do when incidents covered by the policy occur, and
    • contacts for reporting any incidents.
    • It will also encourage employees to report such incidents and will show that management is committed to dealing with incidents involving violence, harassment and other unacceptable behaviour. Some employers caring to exceed “minimum” requirements in legislation include “personal harassment” in their anti-harassment policies. Personal harassment does fall under the definition of harassment - unwelcome behaviour that demeans, embarrasses, or humiliates a person; however, it is not covered by human rights legislation dealing with harassment related to race, ethnic origin, religion, sex, etc.

Can you give me some examples of preventive measures?

Preventive measures generally fall into three categories, workplace design, administrative practices and work practices.

Workplace design considers factors such as workplace lay-out, use of signs, locks or physical barriers, lighting, and electronic surveillance. Building security is one instance where workplace design issues are very important. For example, you should consider:

    • Positioning the reception area or sales or service counter so that it is visible to fellow employees or members of the public passing by.
    • Positioning office furniture so that the employee is closer to a door or exit than the client and so that the employee cannot be cornered.
    • Installing physical barriers, e.g. pass-through windows or bullet-proof enclosures.
    • Minimizing the number of entrances to your workplace.
    • Using coded cards or keys to control access to the building or certain areas within the building.
    • Using adequate exterior lighting around the workplace and near entrances.
    • Strategically placing fences to control access to the workplace.

Administrative practices are decisions you make about how you do business. For example, certain administrative practices can reduce the risks involved in handling cash. You should consider:

    • Keeping cash register funds to a minimum.
    • Using electronic payment systems to reduce the amount of cash available.
    • Varying the time of day that you empty or reduce funds in the cash register.
    • Installing and using a locked drop safe.
    • Arranging for regular cash collection by a licensed security firm.

Work practices include all the things you do while you are doing the job. People, who work away from a traditional office setting, for example real estate agents or home care providers, can adopt many different work practices that will reduce their risk. For example,

    • Prepare a daily work plan, so that you and others know where and when you are expected somewhere.
    • Identify a designated contact at the office and a back-up.
    • Keep your designated contact informed of your location and consistently adhere to the call- in schedule.
    • Check the credentials of clients.
    • Use the buddy system, especially when you feel your personal safety may be threatened.
    • DO NOT enter any situation or location where you feel threatened or unsafe.

Is there specific workplace violence prevention legislation?

Most Canadian jurisdictions have a general duty provision in their Occupational Health & Safety legislation, which requires employers to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of employees.

Jurisdictions in Canada that have specific workplace violence prevention regulations include Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island, as well as Canadian federally regulated workplaces (for those organizations that fall under the Canada Labour Code, Part II). Quebec has legislation regarding psychological harassment, which may include forms of workplace violence. Many jurisdictions also have working

alone regulations, which may have some implications for workplace violence prevention. Ontario also has specific harassment legislation.

Where can I find more information about workplace violence from CCOHS?

CCOHS has produced a pocket guide called Violence Prevention in the Workplace. This guide is written for anyone who wants to learn about workplace violence and its prevention. It is especially useful to individuals involved in the development and implementation of workplace violence prevention programs.

CCOHS also created three e-learning courses based on the best-selling pocket guide. These e-courses are titled:

Violence in the Workplace: Awareness (FREE)

Violence in the Workplace: Recognize the Risk & Take Action Violence in the Workplace: Establish a Prevention Program

From the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website. Used by permission http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/violen...


Bullying in the Workplace

What is workplace bullying?

Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could mentally hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Sometimes, bullying can involve negative physical contact as well. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people. It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression.

Is bullying a workplace issue?

Currently there is little occupational health and safety legislation in Canada that specifically deals with bullying in the workplace. Quebec legislation includes psychological harassment in the Act Respecting Labour Standards. Some jurisdictions have legislation on workplace violence in which bullying is included. In addition, employers have a general duty to protect employees from risks at work. This duty can mean both physical harm and mental health. Many employers choose to address the issue of bullying as both physical and mental harm can cost an organization.

In general, there will be differences in opinion and sometimes conflicts at work. However, behaviour that is unreasonable and offends or harms any person should not be tolerated.

What are examples of bullying?

While bullying is a form of aggression, the actions can be both obvious and subtle. It is important to note that the following is not a checklist, nor does it mention all forms of bullying. This list is included as a way of showing some of the ways bullying may happen in a workplace. Also remember that bullying is usually considered to be a pattern of behaviour where one or more incidents will help show that bullying is taking place.

Examples include:

    • spreading malicious rumours, gossip, or innuendo that is not true
    • excluding or isolating someone socially
    • intimidating a person
    • undermining or deliberately impeding a person’s worth
    • physically abusing or threatening abuse
    • removing areas of responsibilities without cause
    • constantly changing work guidelines
    • establishing impossible deadlines that will set up the individual to fail
    • withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information
    • making jokes that are obviously offensive by spoken word or email
    • intruding on a person’s privacy by pestering, spying or stalking
    • assigning unreasonable duties or workload which are unfavourable to one person (in a way that creates unnecessary pressure)
    • underwork - creating a feeling of uselessness
    • yelling or using profanity
    • criticising a person persistently or constantly
    • belittling a person’s opinions
    • unwarranted (or undeserved) punishment
    • blocking applications for training, leave or promotion
    • tampering with a person’s personal belongings or work equipment.

It is sometimes hard to know if bullying is happening at the workplace. Many studies acknowledge that there is a fine line between strong management and bullying. Comments that are objective and are intended to provide constructive feedback are not usually considered bullying, but rather are intended to assist the employee with their work.

If you are not sure an action or statement could be considered bullying, you can use the reasonable person test. Would most people consider the action unacceptable?

How can bullying affect an individual?

People who are the targets of bullying may experience a range of effects. These reactions include:

    • shock
    • anger
    • feelings of frustration and/or helplessness
    • increased sense of vulnerability
    • loss of confidence
    • physical symptoms such as
    • inability to sleep
    • loss of appetite
    • psychosomatic symptoms such as
    • stomach pains
    • headaches
    • panic or anxiety, especially about going to work
    • family tension and stress
    • inability to concentrate, and
    • low morale and productivity.

How can bullying affect the workplace?

Bullying affects the overall health of an organization. An unhealthy workplace can have many effects. In general these include:

    • increased absenteeism
    • increased turnover
    • increased stress
    • increased costs for employee assistance programs (EAPs), recruitment, etc.
    • increased risk for accidents / incidents
    • decreased productivity and motivation
    • decreased morale
    • reduced corporate image and customer confidence, and
    • poorer customer service.

What can you do if you think you are being bullied?

If you feel that you are being bullied, discriminated against, victimized or subjected to any form of harassment:

DO

FIRMLY tell the person that his or her behaviour is not acceptable and ask them to stop. You can ask a supervisor or union member to be with you when you approach the person.

KEEP a factual journal or diary of daily events. Record:

        • The date, time and what happened in as much detail as possible
        • The names of witnesses.
        • The outcome of the event.

Remember, it is not just the character of the incidents, but the number, frequency, and especially the pattern that can reveal the bullying or harassment.

KEEP copies of any letters, memos, e-mails, faxes, etc., received from the person.

REPORT the harassment to the person identified in your workplace policy, your supervisor, or a delegated manager. If your concerns are minimized, proceed to the next level of management.

DO NOT

DO NOT RETALIATE. You may end up looking like the perpetrator and will most certainly cause confusion for those responsible for evaluating and responding to the situation.

What can an employer do?

The most important component of any workplace prevention program is management commitment. Management commitment is best communicated in a written policy. Since bullying is a form of violence in the workplace, employers may wish to write a comprehensive policy that covers a range of incidents (from bullying and harassment to physical violence).

A workplace violence prevention program must:

    • be developed by management and employee representatives;
    • apply to management, employee’s, clients, independent contractors and anyone who has a relationship with your company;
    • define what you mean by workplace bullying (or harassment or violence) in precise, concrete language;
    • provide clear examples of unacceptable behaviour and working conditions; state in clear terms your organization’s view toward workplace bullying and its commitment to the prevention of workplace bullying;
    • precisely state the consequences of making threats or committing acts;
    • outline the process by which preventive measures will be developed;
    • encourage reporting of all incidents of bullying or other forms of workplace violence;
    • outline the confidential process by which employees can report incidents and to whom;
    • assure no reprisals will be made against reporting employees;
    • outline the procedures for investigating and resolving complaints;
    • describe how information about potential risks of bullying/violence will be communicated to employees;
    • make a commitment to provide support services to victims;
    • offer a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to allow employees with personal problems to seek help;
    • make a commitment to fulfil the prevention training needs of different levels of personnel within the organization;
    • make a commitment to monitor and regularly review the policy;
    • state applicable regulatory requirements, where possible.

What are some general tips for the workplace?

DO

ENCOURAGE everyone at the workplace to act towards others in a respectful and professional manner.

HAVE a workplace policy in place that includes a reporting system.

EDUCATE everyone that bullying is a serious matter.

TRY TO WORK OUT solutions before the situation gets serious or “out of control”. EDUCATE everyone about what is considered bullying, and whom they can go to for help. TREAT all complaints seriously, and deal with complaints promptly and confidentially.

TRAIN supervisors and managers in how to deal with complaints and potential situations. Encourage them to address situations promptly whether or not a formal complaint has been filed.

HAVE an impartial third party help with the resolution, if necessary.

DO NOT

DO NOT IGNORE any potential problems.

DO NOT DELAY resolution. Act as soon as possible.

(Adopted from the Wellness in the Workplace Guide. CCOHS) Used by permission.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, http://www.ccohs.com/oshanswers/psychosocial/ bullying.html


Part XX Violence Prevention in the Workplace

Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

Interpretation

20.01 The employer shall carry out its obligations under this Part in consultation with and the participation of the policy committee or, if there is no policy committee, the work place committee or the health and safety representative.

20.02 In this Part, work place violence constitutes any action, conduct, threat or gesture of a person towards an employee in their work place that can reasonably be expected to cause harm, injury or illness to that employee.

Work Place Violence Prevention Policy

20.03 The employer shall develop and post at a place accessible to all employees a work place violence prevention policy setting out, among other things, the following obligations of the employer:

(a) to provide a safe, healthy and violence-free work place;

(b) to dedicate sufficient attention, resources and time to address factors that contribute to work place violence including, but not limited to, bullying, teasing, and abusive and other aggressive behaviour and to prevent and protect against it;

(c) to communicate to its employees information in its possession about factors contributing to work place violence; and

(d) to assist employees who have been exposed to work place violence.

Identification of Factors that Contribute to Work Place Violence

20.04 The employer shall identify all factors that contribute to work place violence, by taking into account, at a minimum, the following:

(a) its experience in dealing with those factors and with work place violence;

(b) the experience of employers in dealing with those factors and with violence in similar work places;

(c) the location and circumstances in which the work activities take place;

(d) the employees’ reports of work place violence or the risk of work place violence;

(e) the employer’s investigation of work place violence or the risk of work place violence; and

(f) the measures that are already in place to prevent and protect against work place violence.

Assessment

20.05 (1) The employer shall assess the potential for work place violence, using the factors identified under section 20.4, by taking into account, at a minimum, the following:

(a) the nature of the work activities;

(b) the working conditions;

(c) the design of the work activities and surrounding environment;

(d) the frequency of situations that present a risk of work place violence;

(e) the severity of the adverse consequences to the employee exposed to a risk of work place violence;

(f) the observations and recommendations of the policy committee or, if there is no policy committee, the work place committee or the health and safety representative, and of the employees; and

(g) the measures that are already in place to prevent and protect against work place violence.

(2) The employer, when consulting with the policy committee or, if there is no policy committee, the work place committee or the health and safety representative, shall not disclose information whose disclosure is prohibited by law or could reasonably be expected to threaten the safety of individuals.

Controls

20.06 (1) Once an assessment of the potential for work place violence has been carried out under section 20.5, the employer shall develop and implement systematic controls to eliminate or minimize work place violence or a risk of work place violence to the extent reasonably practicable.

(2) The controls shall be developed and implemented as soon as practicable, but not later than 90 days after the day on which the risk of work place violence has been assessed.

(3) Once controls referred to in subsection (1) are implemented, the employer shall establish procedures for appropriate follow-up maintenance and corrective measures, including measures to promptly respond to unforeseen risks of work place violence.

(4) Any controls established to eliminate or minimize work place violence shall not create or increase the risk of work place violence.

Work Place Violence Prevention Measures Review

20.07(1) The employer shall review the effectiveness of the work place violence prevention measures set out in sections 20.3 to 20.6 and update them whenever there is a change that compromises the effectiveness of those measures, but at least every three years.

(2) The review shall include consideration of the following:

(a) work place conditions and work locations and activities;

(b) work place inspection reports;

(c) the employees’ reports and the employer’s records of investigations into work place violence or the risk of work place violence;

(d) work place health and safety evaluations;

(e) data on work place violence or the risk of work place violence in the employees’ work place or in similar work places;

(f) the observations of the policy committee, or if there is no policy committee, the work place committee or the health and safety representative; and

(g) other relevant information.

(3) The employer shall keep, for a period of three years, a written or electronic record of findings following the review of the work place violence prevention measures, and make it readily available for examination by a health and safety officer.

Procedures in Response to Work Place Violence

20.08 (1) The employer shall develop in writing and implement emergency notification procedures to summon assistance where immediate assistance is required, in response to work place violence.

(2) The employer shall ensure that employees are made aware of the emergency notification procedures applicable to them and that the text of those procedures is posted at a location readily accessible to those employees.

(3) In the development and implementation of emergency notification procedures, the employer’s decision of whether or not to notify the police shall take into account the nature of the work place violence and the concerns of employees who experienced the work place violence.

(4) If the police are investigating a violent occurrence, the work place committee or the health and safety representative shall be notified of their investigation, unless notification is prohibited by law.

(5) The employer shall develop and implement measures to assist employees who have experienced work place violence.

Notification and Investigation

20.09 (1) In this section, “competent person” means a person who

(a) is impartial and is seen by the parties to be impartial;

(b) has knowledge, training and experience in issues relating to work place violence; and

(c) has knowledge of relevant legislation.

(2) If an employer becomes aware of work place violence or alleged work place violence, the employer shall try to resolve the matter with the employee as soon as possible.

(3) If the matter is unresolved, the employer shall appoint a competent person to investigate the work place violence and provide that person with any relevant information whose disclosure is not prohibited by law and that would not reveal the identity of persons involved without their consent. The competent person shall investigate the work place violence and at the completion of the investigation provide to the employer a written report with conclusions and recommendations.

(4) The employer shall, on completion of the investigation into the work place violence,

(a) keep a record of the report from the competent person;

(b) provide the work place committee or the health and safety representative, as the case may be, with the report of the competent person, providing information whose disclosure is not prohibited by law and that would not reveal the identity of persons involved without their consent; and

(c) adapt or implement, as the case may be, controls referred to in subsection 20.6(1) to prevent a recurrence of the work place violence.

(5) Subsections (3) to (5) do not apply if:

(a) the work place violence was caused by a person other than an employee;

(b) it is reasonable to consider that engaging in the violent situation is a normal condition of employment; and

(c) the employer has effective procedures and controls in place, involving employees to address work place violence.

Training

20.10 (1) The employer shall provide information, instruction and training on the factors that contribute to work place violence that are appropriate to the work place of each employee exposed to work place violence or a risk of work place violence.

(2) The employer shall provide information, instruction and training

(a) before assigning to an employee any new activity for which a risk of work place violence has been identified;

(b) when new information on work place violence becomes available; and

(c) at least every three years.

(3) The information, instruction and training shall include the following:

(a) the nature and extent of work place violence and how employees may be exposed to it;

(b) the communication system established by the employer to inform employees about work place violence;

(c) information on what constitutes work place violence and on the means of identifying the factors that contribute to work place violence;

(d) the work place violence prevention measures that have been developed under sections 20.3 to 20.6; and

(e) the employer’s procedures for reporting on work place violence or the risk of work place violence.

(4) At least once every three years and in either of the following circumstances, the employer shall review and update, if necessary, the information, instruction and training provided:

(a) when there is a change in respect of the risk of work place violence; or

(5) when new information on the risk of work place violence becomes available. The employer shall maintain signed records, in paper or electronic form, on the information, instruction and training provided to each employee for a period of two years after the date on which an employee ceases to perform an activity that has a risk of work place violence associated with it.

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR...


PSAC Constitution, Section 25

Sub-Section (1)

The NBoD shall have the authority, by resolution passed by a majority consisting of two-thirds (2/3) of those eligible to vote, to suspend or expel from membership any PSAC National Officer; any Regional Council, Component, Local, Area Council, or any of their officers or members, for contravening any provision of the Constitution of the PSAC or the By-Laws of any Regional Council or any By-Laws of any Component or the By-Laws of any Local or for causes as listed in Sub-Section (5) of this Section.

(a) An officer or member suspended from membership shall be removed from an office held for a period not exceeding five (5) years. Any person or persons suspended shall turn over to the PSAC all records, documents, funds or property that are held in trust for the PSAC, a Regional Council, a Component, a Local or an Area Council.

(b) An officer or member expelled from membership shall be removed from an office held for a period up to life, subject to a review process every five (5) years. Any person or persons expelled shall turn over to the PSAC all records, documents, funds or property that are held in trust for the PSAC, a Regional Council, a Component, a Local or an Area Council.

Sub-Section (2)

The NBoD shall have the authority by resolution passed by a majority consisting of two-thirds (2/3) of those eligible to vote, to remove from office any PSAC National Officer; any Regional Council, Component, Local or Area Council officer for contravening any provision of the Constitution of the PSAC or the By-Laws of any Component or Local or for causes as listed in Sub-Section (5) of this Section. An officer removed from office shall not be allowed to hold office for a period not exceeding five (5) years. Any person or persons removed from office shall turn over to the PSAC all records, documents, funds or property that are held in trust for the PSAC, a Component, a Local or an Area Council.

Sub-Section (3)

Any disciplinary action taken under the provisions of Sub-Sections (1) and (2) of this Section for a cause listed in Sub-Section (5) (n) of this Section shall include the imposition of a fine that equals the amount of daily remuneration earned by the member, multiplied by the number of days that the member crossed the picket line, performed work for the employer or voluntarily performed struck work.

Sub-Section (4)

(a) Any disciplinary action taken under the provisions of Sub-Sections (1) and (2) of this Section, the applicable Regional Council, Component, Local, Branch or Area Council By- Laws, may be appealed to a tribunal empowered to hear appeals which shall make final and binding decisions thereon. The Chair of the tribunal shall be an independent person agreed to by both parties or appointed by an appropriate labour organization where there is no mutual agreement.

(b) All terms and conditions of the tribunal shall be contained in an appropriate Regulation adopted by the PSAC NBoD.

Sub-Section (5)

A PSAC, Regional Council, Component, Local, Area Council officer or member, is guilty of an offense against this Constitution who:

(a) violates any of the provisions of this Constitution;

(b) obtains membership or solicits membership by misrepresentation;

(c) institutes, urges or advocates that a member institute action in a court of law against the PSAC, any of its constituent parts or any of their officers without first exhausting all remedies through appeal within the PSAC;

(d) other than through proper Component channels, advocates or attempts to bring about the withdrawal from the PSAC, its Regional Councils, Components or Locals of any member or group of members;

(e) publishes or circulates among the members, false reports or misrepresentations;

(f) works in the interest of a rival organization;

(g) slanders, libels or willfully wrongs an officer of the PSAC, its Regional Councils, Components, Locals or Area Councils;

(h) uses abusive language or disturbs the peace of any meeting or around any office or meeting place of the PSAC, its Regional Councils, Components, Locals or Area Councils;

(i) fraudulently receives or misappropriates any monies due to the PSAC, its Regional Councils, Components, Locals or Area Councils;

(j) uses the name of the PSAC for soliciting funds or advertising without the consent of the AEC;

(k) furnishes without prior authority a list or any information on the membership of the PSAC, its Regional Councils, Components or Locals, to any person or persons other than those whose official position in the PSAC, its Regional Councils, Components or Locals, would entitle them to have such information;

(l) deliberately interferes with an official of the PSAC or its Components, in the discharge of duties;

(m) engages in any other conduct prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the PSAC;

(n) is a worker in a legal strike position, who either crosses the picket line or is paid by the employer not to participate in strike action, or performs work for the employer, unless required to do so by law, or who voluntarily performs struck work;

(o) being a PSAC, Regional Council, Component or Local Officer who willfully does not initiate disciplinary action against scabs as defined in paragraph (n) of this Section; or

(p) sexually or personally harasses another member.

Sub-Section (6)

Any member can initiate disciplinary action against any PSAC, Component or Local Officer under Sub- Section (5) (o) of this Section.

Sub-Section (7)

Within six (6) months of the conclusion of a ratification vote, members of the NBoD shall be responsible for providing the AEC with a status report on disciplinary actions taken against scabs within their Component. The report shall include details of disciplinary action undertaken by Locals and what steps have been taken to ensure that the disciplinary action is taken against scabs as specified in this Constitution.

Sub-Section (8)

A Regional Council, Component, Local or Area Council which has not carried out the responsibilities required by this Constitution shall be considered to be in violation of this Constitution, and the NBoD shall have the authority to appoint a trustee with the responsibility to manage the Regional Council, Component, Local or Area Council’s affairs and to bring about its compliance with this Constitution without delay.


PSAC Regulation 19

REGULATION GOVERNING MEMBERSHIP DISCIPLINE

(1) The National Board of Directors, in accordance with Section 25 of the Constitution, retains the authority to suspend or expel from membership any PSAC officer or member.

(2) In accordance with this Regulation, a Regional Council, Component, Local or Area Council shall have the authority to remove from an office of the body concerned any member who is found to be in contravention of the Constitution as specified in Sub-Section (5) of Section 25 or the Component, Local or Area Council By-Laws.

(3) In accordance with the procedure outlined in this Regulation, a Component or Local may recommend the suspension or expulsion from membership of any member of that body.

(4) Any and all charges against a member shall be placed in writing, signed by the member or members making the charge or charges, and shall be submitted to the member(s) concerned and the appropriate body for consideration.

(5) Any charge or charges which are found to be frivolous or intended to harass, embarrass, or discredit a member or members may result in disciplinary proceedings under Section 25, Sub- Section (5) (e) and/or (g).

(6) The procedure for the handling of disciplinary charges at the Local level shall be as follows:

(a) The Local shall establish an internal or external impartial review committee consisting of three (3) people to investigate and assess the charges, including the receipt of oral and written evidence.

(b) The member(s) charged with misconduct shall be provided a copy of the charges and, both the members making the charge and member(s) charged will be afforded the right to appear before the Committee.

(c) The Committee findings and recommendations shall be submitted to the Local executive and, if disciplinary action is recommended, the Committee’s report shall be placed before a special or general meeting of the Local and shall be subject to the acceptance of two-thirds (2/3) of those members in attendance; except only that the member(s) initiating disciplinary action against another member(s), and the accused member(s) shall be denied voice and vote during the decision-making process.

(d) Reports of the Committee established in Section 6 (a) of this Regulation shall consist of one or two parts depending on whether the allegation is upheld by the Committee.

(e) Part I: will include a finding of fact that either confirms or not that the members have violated the PSAC Constitution or Component, Local, Regional Council or Area Council By-Laws. This part of the report cannot be amended, however is subject to a simple majority vote to receive it.

Part II: would recommend the specific disciplinary action in the event that the Committee finds that the member or members have violated the PSAC Constitution or Component, Local or Area Council By-Laws.

(f) If the Local meeting accepts a recommendation of removal from office, the Local executive shall convey that decision to the member or members concerned together with written notice that an appeal may be submitted to the Component national body.

(g) If the Local meeting accepts a recommendation to suspend or expel from membership, the Local executive shall forthwith advise the Component President in writing together with all relevant documentation. The Component President, after satisfying himself/herself of the seriousness of the offence, shall submit the matter to the National Board of Directors for decision.

(7) A charge or charges against elected officers of a Component national body shall be submitted to that body in writing and shall be dealt with as follows:

(a) The members of the national body against whom the charge or charges have not been alleged shall appoint an internal or external impartial review committee of three (3) people to investigate and assess the charges and receive evidence.

(b) The member(s) charged with misconduct shall be provided a copy of the charges and, both the members making the charge and those member(s) charged will be afforded the right to appear before the Committee.

(c) The Committee findings and recommendations shall be submitted to the Component national body and, if disciplinary action is recommended, shall be subject to acceptance by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of those members against whom the charge or charges have not been alleged, except only that the member(s) initiating disciplinary action against another member(s), and the accused member(s) shall be denied voice and vote during the decision-making process.

(d) Reports of the Committee established in Section 7 (a) of this Regulation shall consist of one or two parts depending on whether the allegation is upheld by the Committee.

(e) Part I will include a finding of fact that either confirms or not that the member or members have violated the PSAC Constitution or Component, Local or Area Council By-Laws. This part of the report cannot be amended, however, is subject to a simple majority vote to receive it.

Part II would recommend the specific disciplinary action in the event that the Committee finds that the member or members have violated the PSAC Constitution or Component, Local or Area Council By-Laws.

(f) If the recommendation is to remove from office, written notice to that effect shall be given to the officer or officers concerned together with the notice that an appeal to the National Board of Directors may be lodged.

(g) If the recommendation is to suspend or expel from membership, the Component President shall submit such recommendation to the National Board of Directors together with all relevant documentation.

(8) The procedure for the handling of disciplinary charges at the Area Council level shall be as follows:

(a) The Area Council shall establish an internal or external impartial review committee consisting of three (3) people to investigate and assess the charges, including the receipt of oral and written evidence.

(b) The member(s) charged with misconduct shall be provided a copy of the charges and, both the members making the charge and those member(s) charged will be afforded the right to appear before the Committee.

(c) The Committee findings and recommendations shall be submitted to the Area Council executive and, if disciplinary action is recommended, the Committee’s report shall be placed before a special or general meeting of the Area Council and shall be subject to the acceptance of two-thirds (2/3) of those members in attendance, except only that the member(s) initiating disciplinary action against another member(s), and the accused member(s) shall be denied voice and vote during the decision-making process.

(d) Reports of the Committee established in Section 8 (a) of this Regulation shall consist of one or two parts depending on whether the allegation is upheld by the Committee.

(e) Part I: will include a finding of fact that either confirms or not that the member or members have violated the PSAC Constitution or Component, Local or Area Council By-Laws. This part of the report cannot be amended, however, is subject to a simple majority vote to receive it.

Part II: would recommend the specific disciplinary action in the event that the Committee finds that the member or members have violated the PSAC Constitution or Component, Local or Area Council By-Laws.

(f) If the Area Council meeting accepts a recommendation of removal from office, the Area Council executive shall convey that decision to the member or members concerned together with written notice that an appeal may be submitted to the Alliance Executive Committee through the Executive Vice-President responsible for Area Councils.

(9) A charge or charges against an officer of the National Board of Directors shall be submitted in writing to the Alliance Executive Committee, except as provided in Section 10, and shall be dealt with as follows:

(a) The Alliance Executive Committee shall appoint an internal or external impartial review committee of three (3) people, against whom the charge or charges have not been alleged, to investigate and assess the charges including the receipt of oral and written evidence.

(b) The officer or officers charged with misconduct shall be provided a copy of the charges and, both the members making the charge and those officer(s) charged will be afforded the right to appear before the Committee.

(c) The Committee findings and recommendations shall be submitted to the National Board of Directors and, if disciplinary action is recommended, shall be subject to acceptance by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of those Board members against whom the charge or charges have not been alleged, except only that the member(s) initiating disciplinary action against another member(s), and the accused member(s) shall be denied voice and vote during the decision-making process.

(d) Reports of the Committee established in Section 9 (a) of this Regulation shall consist of one or two parts depending on whether the allegation is upheld by the Committee.

(e) Part I will include a finding of fact that either confirms or not that the member or members have violated the PSAC Constitution or Component, Local or Area Council By-Laws. This part of the report cannot be amended, however, is subject to a simple majority vote to receive it.

Part II would recommend the specific disciplinary action in the event that the Committee finds that the member or members have violated the PSAC Constitution or Component, Local or Area Council By-Laws.

(f) If a recommendation for disciplinary action is taken, written notice shall be given to the officer or officers concerned together with the advice that an appeal to the Triennial Convention may be lodged.

(10) Where a charge or charges of misconduct is alleged against an officer of the Alliance Executive Committee, the written allegation shall be submitted directly to the National Board of Directors and, at its next regular meeting, the National Board of Directors shall establish an internal or external impartial review committee to deal with the matter in accordance with Section 9 (b) and (f).

(11) Any member charged with misconduct shall not be a member of the Committee established to investigate the allegation(s), and shall not participate in the vote to accept or reject the findings and recommendations of such a committee. For greater clarification, where more than one member is charged with a similar offence, such as crossing a picket line (Section 25, Sub-Section (6)(n)), the member(s) charged will not be member(s) of the Committee established to investigate the allegation(s), and shall not participate in the vote to accept or reject the findings and recommendations of such a committee.

(12) A decision to implement disciplinary action under the provisions of Sub-Sections (1) or (2) of Section 25 of the Constitution, the applicable Component, Local or Area Council By-Laws may be appealed to a three-person tribunal empowered to hear appeals. A written notification of the individual’s intent to appeal must be submitted to the National President within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of the disciplinary notification.

(a) The Tribunal shall be comprised of a representative of the appellant, a representative of the appropriate PSAC body and a third independent person agreed to by both parties or appointed by an appropriate labour organization such as a Canadian Labour Congress affiliated union, a Federation of Labour or the Canadian Labour Congress, as determined by the AEC. The appellant shall not be a member of the Appeal Tribunal. The representative of the appropriate PSAC body must not have a conflict of interest in the outcome nor have been involved in the process or the decision to suspend.

(b) The decision of the Tribunal shall be final and binding on all parties to the appeal.

(13) The Tribunal shall be established within a two-month period unless the time frame is extended by:

(a) mutual agreement of the parties concerned; or

(b) the AEC if it determines that extenuating circumstances prohibit the establishment of the Tribunal within the above-noted timeframe.

(14) The PSAC Centre shall be responsible for the cost of the hearing and the expenses of the Chairperson except as follows.

(a) Each party will be responsible for his/her own expenses, except that if the appellant’s appeal is successful, the appellant may be entitled to reasonable expenses as determined by the National Board of Directors. Such expenses shall be paid by the applicable level of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

(b) The expenses of the member of the Tribunal appointed by the appellant, including any per diem or salary required, shall be borne by the appellant.

(c) When a PSAC Component/Local or Area Council takes disciplinary action against a member and an appeal is lodged with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the PSAC Component/Local or Area Council member of the Tribunal will be appointed by that Component/Local or Area Council, and the Component/Local or Area Council will be solely responsible for his/her expenses.

(d) Each party shall normally be responsible for any expenses incurred as a result of testimony from any witness they wish to call. However, where the appeal is upheld, the appellant may, in extenuating circumstances, request full or partial payment of reasonable expenses incurred by witnesses for the appellant. Such expenses, whose reasonableness shall be determined solely by the National Board of Directors, shall be paid by the applicable level of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

(15) Upon submission of supporting documents, a member(s) may seek reinstatement of their membership through the appropriate level of the PSAC. Should a request for reinstatement of membership be denied, the member(s) concerned may appeal the decision to the National Board of Directors whose decision is final and binding.

(16) Notwithstanding the above, the removal from office provisions of this Regulation shall be deemed to have been complied with by a Component under the following conditions:

(a) When provision is made in the Component By-Laws for a referendum vote of the membership of the particular constituency represented by the officer proposed for removal from office; or

(b) When, in the case of an officer who was elected by representatives rather than by direct membership election, provision is made in the Component By-Laws for a vote by representatives of the particular constituency represented by the officer proposed for removal from office.

(17) Notwithstanding the procedures contained in the previous paragraphs of this Regulation, disciplinary action may be initiated in accordance with Section 25 of the PSAC Constitution at a higher level than where the actions giving rise to disciplinary action occurred.

(18) The procedure for dealing with any disciplinary situation which may arise which is not specifically covered under this Regulation shall be deemed to be covered and processed within the spirit and intent of this Regulation.

(19) Notwithstanding any previous provisions of this Regulation, in the case of an alleged violation of Section 25, Sub-Section (5) (n) of the PSAC Constitution, the following procedures may be utilized:

(a) At the Local level, the alleged violation of Section 25, Sub-Section (5) (n) will be signed by a Local member and submitted to the Local Discipline Committee or Local Executive for study and recommendation to a general membership meeting. The member alleged to have violated Section 25, Sub-Section (5) (n) will be notified in writing, notified of the general membership meeting and given an opportunity to make representation at the Local meeting. The decision of the general membership meeting will be forwarded to the Component President in writing together with all relevant documentation. The Component President, after satisfying himself/herself that the proper procedure has been followed, shall submit the matter to the National Board of Directors for decision.

(b) At the Component national or regional level, upon receipt of an alleged violation of Section 25, Sub-Section (5) (n) signed by a Local member, an assigned Component National Officer shall notify the member charged, conduct an investigation providing an opportunity for the member charged to make representation and prepare a written report for the Component President. The Component President shall submit the written report to an executive body of the Component for its review and recommendation. The Component President, after satisfying himself-herself that the proper procedure has been followed shall submit the matter to the National Board of Directors for decision.

(July 2017)