Guide on Applying the Harassment Resolution Process
Table of Contents
- Who is this guide for?
- Purpose of the guide
- The Harassment Resolution Processes
- Informal Resolution Process
- The Harassment Complaint Process: a Model for Applying the Steps
- Step 1 – Acknowledging receipt of the complaint
- Step 2 – Reviewing the complaint
- Step 3 – Exploring options
- Step 4 – Rendering a decision
- Step 5 – Restoring the well-being of the workplace
- Annex A — Examples of what may or may not constitute harassment
- Annex B — Scenarios with examples of what may or may not constitute harassment
Who is this guide for?
This guide is primarily for those who are involved in the resolution of harassment related allegations such as designated officials, the person responsible for managing the complaint process, harassment prevention advisors, labour relation advisors and informal conflict resolution practitioners. This guide may also be useful for employees and managers who share a responsibility in preventing and resolving harassment in the workplace.
Purpose of the guide
The objective is to provide contextual information and best practices related to the harassment resolution process, including the use of the informal resolution processes and the application of the formal harassment complaint process. These guidelines are intended to allow for flexibility in the tailoring of mechanisms and practices to the operational needs and culture of each organization while being mindful of the need to carry out the harassment complaint process in accordance with procedural fairness and the step-by step process as outlined in the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process.
The Harassment Resolution Processes
The goal of the informal and formal processes is to resolve situations of alleged harassment as quickly as possible, in a fair, constructive and respectful manner. In many instances, using informal processes (also called collaborative problem-solving approaches), such as dialogue (facilitated or not) or mediation, offers the possibility of resolving many work related issues that may be harassment or perceived as harassment in a satisfactory manner, acceptable to both parties. Such an approach has the advantage of addressing the parties’ needs, concerns and other interests rather than focusing on who is right and who is wrong. It empowers the parties to focus on solutions to meet their needs and often leads to the re-establishment of respectful working relationships.
The formal resolution process as outlined in the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process requires that a complaint be filed in writing and calls upon an impartial person to determine whether or not a person’s rights have been infringed upon. This approach is sometimes necessary to protect an individual’s rights, to shed light on the alleged incidents and to determine appropriate corrective and or disciplinary measures.
Although access to a formal resolution process is valuable to address allegations of harassment, it is not always the most efficient way to resolve issues. The formal resolution process is inherently adversarial (determining who is right and wrong rather than focusing on restoring relationships) and as a result, it is difficult to reconcile such a process with the ultimate goal of restoring the workplace relationships once a decision has been rendered. For this reason, informal resolution processes should be encouraged whenever appropriate.
Informal Resolution Process
Whether or not a written complaint has been filed, an employee who experiences a workplace situation as harassment should be encouraged, if appropriate,Footnote 1 to make the situation known to the other person as constructively as possible in an attempt to resolve the situation. This could include the assistance of a resource person such as a coach, facilitator, advisor, mediator, manager/supervisor or union representative, to help prepare the employee for a meaningful conversation. The words chosen and the tone used to express issues and concerns, and the intent behind messages have an impact on how the recipient receives the information and responds.
If the problem is not resolved, or if one of the parties feels he or she cannot speak directly with the other person, other options such as a facilitated dialogue or mediation can be explored. Informal resolution processes can be effective in resolving issues related to harassment but require the willingness of the parties to participate. They are voluntary processes and cannot be forced on anyone. Frequently, however, a party’s hesitation in agreeing to use them stems from the unknown. These processes may be unfamiliar to them and they may be uncertain that they will get “satisfaction” from the process. It is useful to the parties if they are given an explanation as to why a certain approach may be seen as the most appropriate for the situation and how both parties can benefit by using a collaborative problem-solving approach. Empathic listening is also helpful to get the parties’ cooperation for giving consideration to collaborative problem-solving approaches. It allows for an authentic understanding of what they feel and need and helps bring to surface relevant information needed to assist them in resolving the situation. When we listen deeply for what people feel and need, we provide them with an opportunity to be “heard” and they ultimately become empowered and more willing to create solutions for themselves based on mutual respect and consensus.
If it appears that the time required to follow the informal process will be more than the twelve month time limit prescribed for the filing of a complaint under the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process, the person has an option to proceed with the filing of a written complaint and request that it be held in abeyance while continuing to pursue the informal process route. This will protect his or her right to later avail him or herself of the formal process, if needed.
If the issue cannot be resolved informally, or if the parties at any point opt out of the informal process and want to address the issue in a formal way, the complainant may within the applicable time limits:
- file a written complaint with the person responsible for managing complaints of harassment under the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process (provided a grievance has not been filed on the same issue);
- file a grievance;
- file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission if an allegation of harassment is based on one of the grounds of discrimination prohibited under the Canadian Human Rights Act;
The closure of the informal process is usually documented in writing by the Informal Conflict Resolution practitioner and constitutes a statement as to whether or not the process was successful in whole or in part, recognizing that any agreement between the parties will remain confidential. However, some information may be communicated to individuals in order to help implement the agreement. The agreement does not set a legal precedent and cannot be used in similar cases.
The responsible manager and the parties involved implement any agreed upon restorative and/or corrective measures in a timely manner.
Regardless of the outcome of the informal process, further action may be needed to ensure that positive and respectful working relationships are restored.
- For more information on restoring the wellbeing of the workplace, please refer to Restoring the Workplace Following a Harassment Complaint: A Manager's Guide.
- For more information on the informal resolution processes, please consult with your departmental Informal Conflict Resolution contact person. You may also refer to Getting to know Informal Conflict Management Systems better and A guide to the key elements of an ICMS in the core public administration.
The Harassment Complaint Process: a Model for Applying the Steps
The procedural information provided in this section can be tailored to the distinctive operational needs and culture of each organization as long as the required steps under the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process and the principles of procedural fairness toward the complainant, the respondent and all parties involved are respected at all times. For more information on how to achieve procedural fairness within the context of a harassment complaint process, please consult your organization’s Legal services or Labour relations advisors.
As per the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process, designated officials are responsible for ensuring that the harassment complaint process is carried out promptly and respects the principles of procedural fairness towards the complainant, the respondent and all other parties involved. Steps 1 to 4 in the formal process are to be completed without delay, within twelve months, and step 5 initiated within the same time frame.
Step 1 – Acknowledging receipt of the complaint
The complainant submits a harassment complaint in writing within one year of the last alleged incident to the designated official or any other person chosen by the organization with the required competencies to manage complaints of harassment. The complaint can be filed using a harassment complaint form or should at least include the nature of the allegations; the name of the respondent; the relationship of the respondent to the complainant (e.g., supervisor, colleague); the date and a detailed description of the incident(s); and, if applicable, the names of witnesses. The onus is on the complainant to provide sufficient information, and be as precise and concise as possible.
Upon receipt of the complaint, the person responsible for managing the complaint process notifies the complainant in writing acknowledging receipt.
If the complaint is incomplete (following clarification) or has not been filed within twelve months of the last incident of the alleged harassment (unless there are extenuating circumstances), or if a grievance has already been filed on the same issue, then the complaint does not proceed further and the complainant is notified.
If a complaint is rejected, the alleged issues should still be addressed by exploring, with the parties and perhaps with the manager concerned, the nature of the issues, and by suggesting possible ways to resolve the situation.
Twelve-month time limit
The twelve-month time limit to file a complaint is calculated from the date of occurrence of the last repeated incident or from the date of the single severe incident. Once the complainant can demonstrate that an incident occurred less than twelve months prior to the filing of the complaint, the allegations can go back further in time to describe behaviours or events if they are directly related to the complaint. This is especially necessary in cases where the complainant intends to demonstrate a pattern of events. The investigation can look into these behaviours or events, subject to proper recollections by witnesses and parties involved, as well as availability of any documentary evidence.
Some consideration should also be given to extenuating circumstances where a complaint may otherwise have been deemed to be filed outside of the time limit. The person responsible for managing the complaint process will make a determination based on the extenuating circumstances to accept the complaint or not. Examples of extenuating circumstances may include:
- Circumstances outside the control of the complainant (e.g. administrative delays or administrative error)
- Use of informal conflict resolution
Step 2 – Reviewing the complaint
Once the complaint has been acknowledged, the person responsible for managing the complaint process proceeds with the review of the complaint to determine whether or not the allegations satisfy the definition of harassment (see definition found in Annex A of the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process and examples provided in Annex A and Annex B of this document), and if necessary, seeks additional information from the complainant. The person responsible for managing the complaint process should be satisfied that the allegations and information provided, assuming they are true, satisfy the definition of harassment.
Complaints that do not meet the definition of harassment
If the person responsible for managing the complaint process determines that the allegations are frivolous or do not satisfy the definition of harassment, he or she informs the complainant that the complaint can not be accepted and provides the reasons for his decision.
In order to respect the principles of procedural fairness, the respondent is notified that a complaint was received, is provided with the allegations as they relate to him or her and the reasons why the complaint was not accepted. If the respondent requires a copy of the complaint, he or she has a right to obtain it.
If appropriate, the parties’ managers can be made aware of the situation and are provided with the information on a need to know basis only. The person responsible for managing the complaint process may redirect the complainant to the appropriate avenue of recourse such as referring the person(s) to an Informal Conflict Resolution practitioner or suggest other means of resolving the issue. Many behaviours that do not meet the definition of harassment may still undermine wellness and excellence at work.
A frivolous complaint can be defined, according to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, as one “of little or no weight or importance” … characterized by lack of seriousness;” or “manifestly futile”. The frivolous complaint does not require an investigation to come to the evident conclusion that it is frivolous. The complaint should not proceed any further when, from a simple initial review, it is evident that it will not be possible to substantiate it because the complainant provided no specific allegations or information surrounding the allegations and, upon request, does not provide the necessary information to initiate a proper investigation of precise behaviours, acts, events or displays.
Vexatious complaint or one made in bad faith
A vexatious complaint, or one made in bad faith, is about intent and may only be determined through an investigation. This investigation would seek to determine if either the complaint was
- made intentionally for the purpose of vexing and annoying or embarrassing a person or
- the complaint was not calculated to lead to any practical result; or
- there is evidence of bad faith on the part of the complainant indicating an intention to mislead or if there is the presence of ill-will.
Complaints that meet the definition of harassment
If the complaint meets the definition of harassment, the person responsible for managing the complaint process informs the complainant in writing, that the complaint is deemed admissible. He or she also informs the respondent in writing that a complaint has been received. The respondent is provided with a copy of the allegations and is given an opportunity to respond to the allegations in writing. The parties’ managers are made aware of the situation, if appropriate, and are provided with the information on a need to know basis so that they can support the parties, manage the impact on the team and keep operations running smoothly.
Elements of the definition
For a complaint to be deemed admissible, the different elements of the definition should be present:
- The respondent displayed a potentially improper and offensive conduct;
- The behaviour was directed at the complainant;
- The complainant was offended or harmed;
- The respondent knew or reasonably ought to have known that his or her behaviour would cause offence or harm;
- The behaviour occurred in the workplace or at any location or any event related to work (as per the policy scope in the Application section of the Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution).
Repetitious behaviour versus single event
It is important to consider the severity and impropriety of the behaviour (act, comment or display) in the circumstances and context of each situation. Essentially, the definition of harassment means that more than one act or event need to be present in order to constitute harassment and that taken individually, this act or event need not constitute harassment. It is the repetition that generates the harassment. In other words, workplace harassment consists of repeated and persistent behaviours towards an individual to torment, undermine, frustrate or provoke a reaction from that person. It is a behaviour that with persistence, pressures, frightens, intimidates or incapacitates another person. Each behaviour, viewed individually, may seem inoffensive, however, it is the synergy and repetitive characteristic of the behaviours that produce harmful effects.
Please note that one single incident can constitute harassment when it is demonstrated that it is severe and has an important and lasting impact on the complainant.
In order to conclude that harassment occurred, the intent of the respondent to cause offence or harm by his/her acts, comments or displays does not need to be demonstrated; it is the impact on the other person that is taken into account. However, if this intent was present and can be demonstrated, it will be a factor in the determination of the corrective or disciplinary measures.
To determine if a person ought to have reasonably known that the behaviour was improper, we must ask what a reasonable person, well informed of all the circumstances and finding himself or herself in the same situation as that of the complainant, would conclude. The behaviour in question is not only assessed by the impact or effect on the person, but it is also assessed against a reasonably objective standard. Did the behaviour exceed the reasonable and usual limits of interaction in the workplace? Would a reasonable person be offended or harmed by this conduct?
In the case of alleged sexual harassment it is also important to note that a single incident may be viewed to be more significant in circumstances when the parties’ relationship at work is one where the respondent has influence or power over the complainant with regard to career advancement, performance review, work assignment and when the incident(s) leads to adverse job related consequences for the complainant.
Please note that incidents of violence including alleged threats should be handled through the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations – Part XX dealing with Violence Prevention in the Workplace found in the Canada Labour Code. Assaults, including sexual assault and criminal harassment are subject to the Criminal Code and such cases should be promptly referred to the appropriate authorities.
Step 3 – Exploring options
The person responsible for managing the complaint process determines what efforts have already been made to resolve the problem and identifies with the parties the various avenues of resolution available. If appropriate, the parties’ manager may be involved in order to assist the parties in resolving the problem.
Informal resolution processes
If appropriate, the parties should be reminded of the options for informal resolution throughout the formal process. At any time, should the parties decide to resolve informally, the parties should be redirected to an Informal Conflict Resolution practitioner. If the process is successful in resolving the complaint, the person responsible for managing the complaint process ensures that any agreed upon restorative and or corrective measures are implemented. This constitutes the resolution of the complaint and the file should be closed. Further information on the informal resolution process is provided earlier in this guide.
If the person responsible for managing the complaint process is satisfied that he or she has all the facts based on his or her inquiries and that the parties have been heard in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness, he or she may decide not to undertake an investigation, inform the parties accordingly of his or her reasons, and make a decision as to whether there was harassment, then proceeds to Step 5.
If the person responsible for managing the complaint process decides to launch an investigation, he or she assigns a mandate to an investigator(s) (either sourced internally or through the Public Works and Government Services Canada Standing Offer Index) and ensures that the person(s) conducting investigations are qualified in accordance with the Competencies Profile for Harassment Investigators, that they are impartial, have no supervisory relationship with the parties, and that they are not in a position of conflict of interest. Investigators must apply the principles of procedural fairness which include the individual’s right to be heard, to be given a fair opportunity to present his or her case, to be given adequate time and sufficient detail to respond, and to be aware of the information held by the decision-maker prior to the decision being made (for more information on procedural fairness, please consult your organization’s Legal services or Labour Relations advisors.)
The person responsible for managing the complaint process notifies the complainant and the respondent that an investigation has been launched, and informs them of their rights and responsibilities as well as possible options to access support and advice during any resolution process associated with the complaint.
If during the investigation process the parties undertake to informally resolve the complaint, the investigator will be asked to suspend the investigation pending further instructions. If the parties are successful in resolving the complaint, the investigation is terminated. If the informal resolution process is unsuccessful or if the person responsible for managing the complaint process concludes that progress is not being made in the resolution of the complaint after having spoken with the parties, the investigator is asked to resume his or her activities and the parties are notified of the intent to restart the investigation.
For more information related to the investigation process, please refer to the Investigation Guide for the Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution.
Being mindful of the parties’ needs
Clear, timely communication with all involved parties is important throughout the process. The involved parties should be kept informed of developments.
During the resolution process, all parties should be treated fairly and objectively.
The complainant and respondent should also be asked what type of support and assistance they require throughout the process and be provided with options of appropriate resources.
Assessing the need to separate the parties
It is also important to consider the working relationship between the two parties. Occasionally, the complaint will be such that the two parties are able to continue working productively without changing their working relationship. This may be because they have minimal day-to-day interaction or there is not a direct reporting relationship. In other situations, however, the complaint process is a time of extreme tension that is very stressful on the working relationship of the involved parties. This, in turn, affects not only the productivity of the involved parties but also creates tension that pervades the entire work environment and reduces productivity of other employees as well. When this is likely to happen it may be necessary to separate the complainant and respondent in some way. The need to separate the parties should be assessed carefully in consultation with the employees’ manager(s). It may be sufficient to temporarily remove the reporting relationship. It may be appropriate to have the parties working from separate locations. Or it may require separating them, both hierarchically and physically. Any of these actions has consequences for the parties and for operations. Such hierarchical or physical separation should not be seen as a punitive or a disciplinary act against either party.
Step 4 – Rendering a decision
Following a fact-finding exercise or an investigation, the person responsible for managing the complaint process reviews all the relevant information and renders a decision. He or she then informs the parties in writing of his or her decision as to whether there was harassment and notifies their manager(s). A copy of the final investigation report, if applicable, is provided to both parties.
It is important to follow procedural fairness in the process and justify any decision made. This is especially important given that there are other recourse mechanisms available to employees.
The parties may grieve the decision or the manner in which the complaint was addressed or the disciplinary measures. This could result in a grievance going to arbitration by the Public Service Labour Relations Board.
The decision could also be challenged in Federal Court where the review would focus on whether or not the process respected the principles of procedural fairness.
If the harassment complaint relates to one of the grounds prohibited under the Canadian Human Rights Act the complainant has the right to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.
Step 5 - Restoring the well-being of the workplace
From the time a complaint is filed, the person responsible for managing the complaint process follows-up with the employees’ manager to ensure that issues, concerns and needs of all parties involved are addressed throughout the complaint process as well as any detrimental impacts resulting from the incidences of harassment.
The harassment complaint process can be difficult and stressful for all parties involved and may have an impact on other colleagues. Regardless of the outcome of the formal process, further action may be needed by the responsible manager to ensure that anyone who interferes with the resolution of a complaint with threats, intimidation or retaliation are addressed and that positive and respectful working relationships are restored in the work unit.
This may be accomplished with the input of all parties involved and may require the assistance of a specialist, and the support of union representatives to re-establish trust, improve communication and encourage positive working relations.
For more information on restoring the wellbeing of the workplace please refer to Restoring the Workplace Following a Harassment Complaint: A Manager's Guide.
Corrective or disciplinary measures
Where corrective or disciplinary measures may be required, the employee’s manager receives a copy of the final investigation report, if applicable, and determines the measures in consultation with his or her labour relations advisor. Reasonable, timely corrective/disciplinary measures should be taken based on the conclusions of the investigation or the fact-finding, taking into account the values of the public sector, circumstances, legislation, precedents, policies and guidelines. The nature of the measures imposed such as the type and quantum of such measures (for example: a 10 day suspension) may be disclosed to the complainant(s) subject to the Privacy Act. Likewise, if the complaint is determined to have been vexatious or made in bad faith, the respondent may be informed of the nature of the corrective or disciplinary measures imposed, subject to the Privacy Act. For more information, please refer to the Information Notice 2007-15 - Release of Harassment Investigation Material.
The person responsible for managing the complaint process follows up to ensure that timely restorative, corrective and/or disciplinary measures are taken by the employee’s manager, if warranted. Disciplinary measures may also be taken against any manager who is aware of a harassment situation and fails to take corrective action or anyone who interferes with the resolution of a complaint with threats, intimidation or retaliation.
Any documents related to the investigation are filed in a separate harassment complaint file. In other words, no documents relating to the harassment complaint are placed in the personnel file of either party, other than a disciplinary letter in the file of the employee who is subject to a disciplinary measure. The harassment complaint file is kept for two years following the last administrative activity in relation to an individual case. These documents should be securely stored by the department.
Annex A — Examples of what may or may not constitute harassment
Remember that each case is unique and should be examined in its own context and according to the surrounding circumstances as a whole.
Inappropriate behaviour that is not harassment but still needs to be addressed
- Talking loudly in the workplace.
- Always being in a bad mood.
- Slamming doors.
- Constantly interrupting colleagues in a meeting.
- Barging in on colleagues who are having a conversation.
- Whining about trivial things.
What does not generally constitute harassment
- Carrying out managerial duties where the direction was carried out in a respectful and professional manner.
- Allocating work.
- Following-up on work absences.
- Requiring performance to job standards.
- Taking corrective or disciplinary measures when justified.
- A single or isolated incident such as an inappropriate remark or having an abrupt manner.
- Exclusion of individuals for a particular job based on specific occupational requirements necessary to accomplish the safe and efficient performance of the job.
- A social relationship welcomed by both individuals.
- Friendly gestures among co-workers such as a pat on the back.
- The normal exercise of management rights. Footnote 2
- Supervisory mistakes.
- Work-related stress.
- Conditions of works.
- Difficult professional constraints such as a budget reduction exercise.
- Conflicts.Footnote 3
- Constructive criticism about the work mistake and not the person.
- Counselling an employee on his performance appraisal when done in a non discriminatory or respectful manner.
What may constitute harassment
- Criticizing, insulting, blaming, reprimanding or condemning an employee in public.
- Exclusion from group activities or assignments without valid reason.
- Statements damaging to a person's reputation or career.
- Making sexually suggestive remarks or innuendos.
- Physical contact such as touching or pinching.
- Removing areas of responsibility unjustifiably.
- Inappropriately giving too little or too much work.
- Constantly overruling authority without just cause.
- Unjustifiably monitoring everything that is done.
- Blaming an individual constantly for errors without just cause.
What generally constitutes harassment
- Serious or repeated rude, degrading, or offensive remarks, such as teasing related to a person's physical characteristics or appearance, put-downs or insults.
- Displaying sexist, racist or other offensive pictures, posters, or sending e-mails related to one of the eleven grounds prohibited under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
- Repeatedly singling out an employee by assigning him/her with demeaning and belittling jobs that are not part of his/her regular duties.
- Threats, intimidation or retaliation against an employee, including one who has expressed concerns about perceived unethical or illegal workplace behaviours.
- Unwelcome social invitations, with sexual overtones or flirting, with a subordinate.
- Unwelcome sexual advances which may or may not be accompanied by promises or threats, explicit or implicit.
- Intimidation, threats, verbal abuse, blackmail, yelling or shouting.
- Caressing, kissing or fondling someone against his or her will (could be considered assault).
- Comments, repeated insinuations or false accusations to destroy a person’s reputation.
- Insults or humiliations, repeated attempts to exclude or isolate a person.
- Invasion of personal space (getting too close for no reason, brushing against or cornering someone).
- Persistently asking someone out, despite being turned down.
- Stalking an individual.
- Racist and discriminatory comments or offensive jokes.
- Inappropriate questions, suggestions or remarks about a person’s sex life.
- Systematically interfering with normal work conditions, sabotaging places or instruments of work.
- Abuse of authority or power to threaten a person’s job or undermine his or her performance.
- Bullying (physical, verbal, social, cyber).
- Falsely accusing and undermining a person behind closed doors, controlling a person’s reputation by rumor-mongering, controlling the person by withholding resources (time, budget, autonomy, training) necessary to succeed.
- Humiliating a person in front of colleagues, engaging in smear campaigns.
- Arbitrarily taking disciplinary action against an employee.
Annex B — Scenarios with examples of what may or may not constitute harassment
What does not constitute harassment
Bob is a supervisor. Dan, one of his staff consistently does not finish his tasks and leaves them for the person on the next shift. Bob has spoken to him twice in a courteous manner and has left him two notes. As Dan’s performance does not improve, Bob meets him again to discuss work objectives, standards and deadlines.
What may constitute harassment
Bob meets with Dan a third time and becomes impatient with him by raising his voice during the meeting and by making accusatory statements such as ‘you are incompetent’.
What is harassment
Bob speaks to Dan in a belittling and demeaning manner and calls him a slow, lazy and incompetent person. He has threatened to fire him on more than one occasion if he doesn’t shape up and has warned him that there are lots of people waiting in line to take his place. In a fit of rage, Bob throws Dan’s report in the garbage and laughs sarcastically at Dan.
Dan feels that Bob had been rude to him by making degrading and offensive comments and fears Bob’s behaviour towards him. He feels his livelihood is also being threatened.
What does not constitute harassment
The Workplace emergency response team are out on an exercise. Once completed, and after working hours, the team decides to go to the local pub. One of the team members, Louise, a new employee, and Mike exchanged differing views on a political topic.
What may constitute harassment
When it is time to leave, Mike, who had too much to drink, tells Louise, the designated driver, ‘where to go’ by using profane language. Louise is upset by the incident and approaches her union representative the following morning. Mike, Louise and the union representative meet, Mike acknowledges his inappropriate behaviour and offers an apology to Louise. Louise accepts the apology.
What is harassment
Mike returns to the workplace and speaks to his colleagues about Louise’s reaction and refers to her as a ‘cry-baby’, a whiner and tries to convince them that she does not belong on the Emergency response team. He deliberately ignores her by not answering her questions and winks at his colleagues whenever she speaks in a meeting.
Louise had accepted Mike’s apology and believed that the incident had been resolved informally. She now feels that this incident has ‘crept’ into the workplace and has a detrimental impact on her and on her relationships with Mike and her other colleagues.
What does not constitute harassment
Albert, a term employee, has been waiting for two weeks to have his summer holidays approved. He has asked his manager Pierre twice and each time Pierre responded that he was busy and that he would get back to him as soon as he had some time.
What may constitute harassment
In the course of a conversation with a colleague, Albert learns that everyone else’s leave has been approved for some time now. Albert also learns that everyone’s term position has been extended as well except his. Albert recalls other occasions where he has had problems getting things approved, for example professional opportunities and family related leave.
What is harassment
Albert schedules more than one appointment with Pierre to discuss his concerns. Pierre cancels all appointments at the last minute without having valid reasons for doing so.
Albert feels isolated and singled out in his sector and believes Pierre is abusing his authority by withholding leave approval and blocking career opportunities for advancement.
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