# 2012-153 - Harassment


Case Summary

F&R Date: 2013–03–11

The grievor, while deployed as part of a multi-national contingent in Afghanistan, found an inappropriate note left anonymously on his workstation. As a result, he submitted a harassment complaint. After a situational assessment, it was determined by the Responsible Officer that, despite the note being unacceptable, no investigation would take place. The grievor argued in his grievance that the Canadian Forces (CF) failed to provide a harassment-free workplace, and that the leadership did not take the appropriate measures to deal with his complaint.

There was no Initial Authority decision in this case as the grievor did not grant an additional extension to the time limit to render a decision.

The Board examined the relevant harassment policy documents and determined that while the CF strive to provide a harassment-free and respectful workplace, the documents acknowledge and recognize that harassment situations will most likely occur. Interpreting the evidence in its context, the Board found that the CF policy on harassment is one of zero tolerance.

In addition, given that the alleged harassment took place in Afghanistan within a multi-national setting, the Board concluded that the conduct of an investigation as provided for in the Harassment Prevention and Resolution Guidelines would not have been effective as it would have been restricted to Canadian military personnel, leaving out all other personnel from the contingent. However, the Board nonetheless found that the Canadian leadership in place did have a responsibility to address the incident within the spirit and principles of the harassment policy documents.

The Board examined the measures taken by the grievor's chain-of-command and found that a multi-national contingent policy was developed and distributed within weeks of the incident, and that it was included in mandatory briefings for all new personnel. In addition, the grievor's Commanding Officer made recommendations to higher leadership concerning pre-deployment harassment awareness training. Given the circumstances, the Board found that these measures, both short- and long-term, were reasonable in the circumstances.

The Board recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff deny the grievance.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2014–03–19

The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be denied.

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