# 2014-208 - Harassment, Procedural Fairness

Harassment, Procedural Fairness

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2015–06–25

As a result of complaints from civilian employees about the grievor and a poor working environment, the grievor's unit commenced an informal investigation, followed by a summary investigation.The grievor was not informed of the informal investigation, which was a conscious decision by the investigator. He was not interviewed nor provided an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him. The grievor was moved out and placed into another unit. Subsequent to his move, the summary investigation commenced and allowed the grievor to make representations concerning all of the evidence. The summary investigation made one adverse finding and one recommendation related to the grievor, and also found that the poor working environment was caused by several stressors.

The grievor contended that his unit did not handle the workplace conflict situation in accordance with policy, specifically the harassment prevention and resolution guidelines. He submitted that he was not afforded procedural fairness, but would have been had the allegations been treated as harassment complaints. The grievor contended that irreparable damage had been caused to his reputation and his career due to the handling of the workplace situation and his removal from his position.

There was no initial authority decision in this matter.

The Committee reviewed the military administrative law manual with respect to administrative investigations and noted that informal investigations should be used when an expedited response is required, the matter is not expected to be complicated, and when the information sought is readily available. It was the Committee's view that it should have been clear from the civilian employees' complaints concerning the grievor and the work environment that the matter would be complex and would involve adverse evidence against the grievor. In addition, based on the allegations, that a more formal investigation designed to deal with the adverse evidence would be appropriate.

In accordance with the principles of administrative law, individuals have a right to be heard and to be provided with notification and disclosure where administrative actions that may affect their rights privileges or interests are contemplated. During the informal investigation, the Committee found that the grievor's rights to procedural fairness were breached. However, during the summary investigation, the grievor was notified of the allegations against him, given the opportunity to review all relevant evidence, make a written statement, and ask additional questions of any witness, as well as request that additional witnesses be interviewed. Consequently, the Committee found that the summary investigation was properly administered and did not breach the grievor's procedural fairness rights.

With respect to irreparable damage to the grievor's reputation and career, the Committee found that comments made by the investigator during the informal investigation were harsh and potentially damaging to the grievor's professional reputation and career, without having provided him with procedural fairness. As a result, the Committee recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff direct that all reference to the informal investigation be removed from the grievor's personnel file. The Committee also reviewed the grievor's Personnel Evaluation Reports since the investigations and noted that they were consistently outstanding, and that he had since been promoted.

FA Decision Summary

The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the informal investigation be removed from the grievor's personnel file and disposed of in accordance with Library and Archives of Canada Act.

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