# 2013-071 - Clarity Needed Regarding the Harassment Policy, Harassment

Clarity Needed Regarding the Harassment Policy, Harassment

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2013–10–30

The grievor submitted a harassment complaint and subsequently filed a grievance concerning the administration of his complaint. The grievor argued that the chain of command did not properly administer his harassment complaint and contended that the Responsible Officer should not have acted in the role as he was named as a witness. The redress sought by the grievor was that a harassment investigation be completed and that he be provided with the opportunity to accept or rebut the outcome of the investigation.

The Initial Authority denied redress, concluding that the harassment complaint was administered fairly and in accordance with all applicable Canadian Armed Forces policies. He also stated that the harassment complaint, as submitted by the grievor, could not be properly assessed during a situational assessment due to the lack of necessary details and witness names.

The Committee found that sufficient information had been provided and that the harassment criteria was met as defined in section 1.3 of the Harassment Prevention and Resolution Guidelines (hereinafter “the Guidelines”). The Committee found that the Responsible Officer erred in refusing to complete a situational assessment, noting that the Guidelines provided no such discretion.

The Committee then considered section 4.1.2 of the Guidelines and determined that it is not obligatory that a harassment complaint submission include all the elements of a complaint as they are described. The first harassment criterion functions to ensure that there is sufficient information to apply the test described by the second criterion. However, the Committee noted that portions of the policy, when read in isolation, could suggest that a complaint must contain all of the listed elements. Therefore, the Committee concluded that the Guidelines would benefit from clarification in this regard.

The Committee found that, notwithstanding the grievor's release from the Canadian Armed Forces, an investigation should still be undertaken due to the seriousness of the allegations raised by the grievor and because the respondent is still a serving member.

The Committee also agreed with the grievor that the Responsible Officer was named as a witness and therefore should not have been administering the complaint.

The Committee recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff grant redress by ordering an investigation into the grievor's harassment complaint.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2014–10–01

The CDS did not agree with the Committee's findings and recommendations. The CDS did not agree with the Committee that the aviation safety issues raised by the grievor were important enough to require that a harassment investigation be conducted. Besides, the CDS was of the view that there was a separate process to address the grievor's concerns related to military aviation, and those have been heard, analyzed and addressed by the competent authority.

The CDS agreed with the Committee's finding that the chain of command should have appointed an independent RO to administer the harassment complaint. The CDS proceeded with the review of the grievor's harassment complaint. Since the grievor did not provide sufficient details and names of witnesses, despite being requested to do so, some elements required in the harassment complaint to meet the definition of harassment were missing, therefore, it was impossible to determine whether the grievor's statements meet that definition. Consequently, the CDS denied the grievance.

The CDS was not convinced that a systemic issue exists with respect to the information required when submitting a complaint, but he forwarded the Committee's systemic recommendation to the Director Human Rights and Diversity for his consideration (DHRD). As a result, the DHRD informed the CDS that the sections in the Guidelines, identified by the Committee, will be revised and clarified during the drafting of the improved harassment policies.

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