Respectful Environment Policy

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Respectful Environment Policy

Web version adapted from this document.

Purpose

The Respectful Environment Policy is designed to support a respectful teaching and learning environment that is free from discrimination or harassment.

Scope

This Policy applies to all members of the Robertson College community including applicants, students, employees and external partners. This Policy applies to all College-related activities and interactions that occur in classes, labs, online, learning management system, library, test centers, practicum experience, and research activities. This policy also applies to activities off campus through other means of communication, such as social media.

Definitions

Complainant: The individual who makes the complaint or allegation.

Discrimination: The intentional or unintentional differential treatment, unwelcome conduct, or comment to individuals based on actual or perceived characteristics.

Formal Resolution Process: This process is used for resolving conflicts that cannot be resolved through informal processes. Formal processes are structured, involve an investigation, and the outcomes become part of the Student Record.

Informal Resolution Process: This is a voluntary, structured, interaction between parties involved in a conflict.

Learning Environment: Any environment where teaching and learning occur including but not limited to the classroom, laboratory, online, and practicum experiences.

Respondent: The individual against whom complaint or allegation has been forwarded.

Student Record: The information which is contained within a student’s file which may include personal information, admission, registration, academic, and disciplinary history at Robertson College.

Policy

Freedom from discrimination and harassment is a basic right under the Manitoba Human Rights Code and Alberta Human Rights Act. Robertson College is committed to a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. Discrimination and harassment within the College Community is prohibited and will not be tolerated.

Discrimination and Harassment

Discrimination is the intentional or unintentional differential treatment, unwelcome conduct, or comment to individuals based on, but not limited to:

  • membership with a group of persons
  • political belief
  • income
  • physical or mental disability
  • ancestry
  • nationality
  • ethnic background
  • religion or religious belief
  • age
  • sex
  • pregnancy
  • gender identity
  • sexual orientation
  • family status
  • social disadvantage.

Sexual Harassment includes:

  • objectionable and unwelcome sexual solicitation
  • objectionable and unwelcome sexual advances
  • the threat of reprisal for rejecting a sexual advance or
  • the threat of reprisal for rejecting a sexual solicitation.

Personal Harassment includes objectionable conduct such as, but not limited to:

  • a physical act, gesture, verbal comment or some combination of these that adversely affects an individual’s physical or psychological well-being.

Appropriate Use of Authority

Appropriate use of authority does not constitute discrimination. Some appropriate uses of authority include, but are not limited to;

  • using appropriate authority to assign work
  • disciplining and directing the work of employees
  • determining grades
  • recommending disciplinary action
  • preventing inappropriate behaviors, and
  • interpersonal conflict

Shared Responsibility

Creating an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment is a shared responsibility. Individuals who are subjected to discrimination and/or harassment are encouraged to confront the person(s) directly and inform the person(s) that their behavior is offensive and ask them to stop the behavior.

Members of the Robertson College Community are responsible for:

  • being familiar with this policy
  • taking reasonable, practical and timely actions to support this policy within the College Community
  • cooperating with an investigation of breach of this policy.
  • Robertson staff who are aware of discrimination and/or harassment are required to take reasonable steps to address or resolve the issue. Failure to take action may result in staff disciplinary action.

Complaint and Investigation Process

Robertson College will deal with allegations of harassment and/or discrimination in a procedurally fair, unbiased and timely manner. Complaints and investigations are handled through informal and formal resolution processes.

Robertson Senior Administration may request that an investigation be conducted in the absence of a formal complaint, if circumstances warrant.Both the Complainant and Respondent may appeal the findings of this process using the formal Student Appeal Process Policy. Any member of the College Community can exercise their legal rights pursuant to any law, including filing a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission or Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Corrective Action

Corrective action will follow the procedures outlined in Robertson’s Disciplinary Action Policy. Corrective actions may include, but are not limited to;

  • a public or private apology (verbal or written)
  • referral to psychological services
  • requirement for training around issue
  • restricted access to College campus
  • suspension/expulsion from a class or from the College
  • other disciplinary action

Confidentiality

All information relating to an incident will be confidential to all parties. Information relating to an incident will be disclosed only as reasonably necessary for investigation, disposition, or as required by law.

Retaliation

Retaliation against an individual who has complained of discrimination and/or harassment, who has given evidence in an investigation, or been found guilty of discrimination and/or harassment will result in corrective or disciplinary action.

Related Legislation

Human Rights Code
Workplace Safety and Health Act and Regulations

Procedure

Informal Resolution

  1. Complaint: A complainant who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination and/or harassment may contact the Director for advice and assistance. Complaints should be raised within six months of the last event, though this timeline can be extended at the discretion of the Respectful Workplace Advocate.
  2. Resolution: The Director will work to resolve the matter informally with the parties involved. Formal documentation of the incident will not be recorded in the Student Record.

Formal Resolution

  1. Complaint: A complainant who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination and/or harassment may submit a formal complaint using the Respectful Environment Form which can be found on Robertson’s website. Complaints must be raised within six months of the last event.
  2. Review of Complaint: The formal complaint will be reviewed by the Director to ensure that the complaint falls within the scope of this policy. If it does not, the Director will provide other options or refer the Complainant to other College resources. If it is determined that the matter falls within the scope of this policy, the Director will determine if a formal investigation should be pursued. The Director will notify the Respondent in writing that a complaint has been filed, and provide a copy of this policy.
  3. Investigation: An investigation will be facilitated by the Director. Additional internal and external investigators can be appointed by this individual to support the investigation. The investigation will include interviews of the Complainant, Respondent, witnesses, and any applicable evidence. Both Complainant and Respondents may be accompanied by a support person, who is not a witness to the investigation. The formal investigation process can be ended at any time to proceed with an informal resolution upon agreement by all parties.
  4. Findings: The Director will develop a written decision about whether the Respondent breached this policy. The Complainant and Respondent will be provided with a written summary of this decision within ten working days of the completion of the investigation. The Director has the discretion to share the results of the investigation with other key Robertson Administration as needed.
  5. Disciplinary Action: When it is determined that this Policy has been breached, the Vice-President, Teaching and Learning will take corrective action under the Disciplinary Action Policy. The Vice President, Teaching and Learning will confirm in writing that action has been taken and describe the action in writing.
  6. Communication: The Vice-President, Teaching and Learning will communicate with the Complainant in writing that corrective action has been taken, without providing confidential particulars of the action. The Vice-President, Teaching and Learning will provide the Registration Office with necessary documentation to be included in both the Complainant and Respondent Student files.
  7. Documentation: The Academic Support Team will keep a record of the Respectful Environment Form and written decision in the Complainant Student File.

 

Supporting Documentation

Appendix 1: Respectful Environment Complaint Form

Sexual Harassment Prevention and Guidelines

Related Policies

Disciplinary Action Policy
Student Code of Conduct Policy

Approved by: Joanne Struch

Signature:

Date: December 7, 2020

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