# 2013-118 - Abuse of Authority, Harassment

Abuse of Authority, Harassment

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2014–06–24

The grievor argued that, after indicating his intent to submit a harassment complaint and a grievance regarding the actions of his supervisors, he suffered reprisals by his chain of command in the form of a lowered Personnel Evaluation Report (PER) and an unfavourable posting, leading to repercussions on his career progression. The grievor did in fact submit a harassment complaint. Some allegations were found to meet the definition of harassment and were investigated. The grievor reiterated the remaining allegations in support of the grievance before the Committee. In his submission to the Final Authority, the grievor stated that his grievance constituted a complaint of racist conduct. The issue before the Committee was to determine whether the grievor suffered reprisals for submitting complaints, and whether his allegations of racist conduct were substantiated.

The Initial Authority did not accept the grievance having determined that it was submitted beyond the six-month time limit set out in article 7.02 of Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces. The Final Authority however accepted the grievance as being submitted within the time limits.

The Committee examined the harassment prevention and resolution process and found that the grievor did not challenge within this grievance the situational assessment conducted in regard to his harassment complaint, nor did he challenge the findings of the harassment investigation. Consequently, the grievor's claims were reviewed under the standards applicable to the grievance process, which places the burden of proof onto the grievor, not the harassment complaint process where stating an allegation that meets the definition of harassment is sufficient to trigger an investigation.

The Committee found that the harassment process and investigation did not support the grievor's contention that his supervisor held a demonstrated bias against immigrants and ethnic groups. The Committee also found that the grievor's contentions had to do with ongoing disagreements with his supervisors with respect to the assignment of duties and the resolution of operational issues. The Committee noted that it was the chain of command's prerogative to assign duties, and reassign them as needed, to organize tasks, to accept or not the advice of a subordinate, etc. The Committee found that the grievor did not provided evidence to show that his superiors' actions were unreasonable in the circumstances or were motivated by racism. It was the Committee's view that the grievor took exception to actions that were within the reasonable exercise of authority. The Committee also found that the grievor had not provided any evidence to support his claims of racist conduct.

The Committee determined that the grievor's claims of reprisal by way of lowered PER and an unfavourable posting, were unfounded. With regard to the PER, the grievor did not provide a copy of the PER in question and did not offer any evidence to show that he deserved a different rating on any of the assessment factors. With regard to the unfavourable posting, the Committee was aware from file material that the grievor was actively pursuing other professional avenues, at the same time challenging his chain of command's decisions in that regard. The Committee found that the Canadian Armed Forces posted the grievor to a location which was more favourable to his expressed wishes regarding a planned change in careers. The Committee thus found that the grievor did not substantiate his claims that he suffered reprisal for submitting complaints.

The Committee recommended to the Chief of the Defence Staff that he deny the grievance.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2015–11–13

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

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