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Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Policy 

Approved by the Board of Directors effective July 1, 2020

Definitions

For the purposes of this Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Policy (the “Policy”), references to the “ICD” mean the Institute of Corporate Directors and its Chapters; and references to “Covered Person” means each director, officer, employee, volunteer and independent contractor of the ICD.

Purpose and Intent

The ICD is committed to providing and maintaining a workplace which ensures that all Covered Persons are treated with dignity and respect and are able to work in an environment free from harassment, discrimination and violence or threats of violence.

The ICD upholds, as a matter of normal business practice, legislation that prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment based on grounds that include age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed / religion, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, record of offences, sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding) and sexual orientation.

Every Covered Person has the right to work in a dignified, respectful and harassment/discrimination-free environment. Harassment and discrimination, in any form, will not be tolerated.

Every Covered Person also has a responsibility to play a part in ensuring a workplace free from harassment and discrimination. This means not engaging in, allowing, condoning or ignoring behaviour contrary to this Policy.
This Policy is available on the ICD’s website.

  1. What is Harassment?

For the purpose of this Policy, harassment means any vexatious comment or conduct against a Covered Person, including but not limited to harassment and discrimination related to any ground prohibited by law, that is engaged in by someone who knows, or ought reasonably to know, that the comment or conduct is unwelcome. The unwelcome comment or conduct does not have to be directed at a specific person for harassment to occur. Any form of unsolicited behaviour characterized by words, acts or gestures, such as hurtful remarks, insults, humiliating jokes, display of offensive or obscene material, inappropriate physical contact, intimidation, inappropriate demands or reprisals, may constitute harassment.

Any vexatious behaviour involving hostile or unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures that affect a person’s dignity or psychological or physical integrity and that result in a harmful work environment for the person can constitute harassment under this Policy. Harassment can take many forms, including but not limited to sexual harassment and racial harassment.

Any person, regardless of his or her position of authority, may be responsible for committing an act of harassment. While harassment usually involves repeated acts or a course of conduct, a single incident of harassment could be serious enough to constitute a breach of this Policy.

Not all negative interactions are harassment, discrimination or retaliation. For example, a reasonable action taken by a manager or director relating to the management and direction of a Covered Person or the workplace does not constitute harassment.
 
Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to:

  • engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a Covered Person in the workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome;

  • making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement of the employee and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome;

  • refusing to work with people because of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression;

  • remarks, jokes, or innuendos about sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression;

  • unwanted and unnecessary physical contact, including touching, patting, etc.;

  • using language that puts someone down based on their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, including sex-specific derogatory names;

  • leering or inappropriate staring;

  • sexually-suggestive gestures;

  • making gender-related comments about someone's physical characteristics or mannerisms;

  • making comments or treating someone badly because they don't conform with sex-role stereotypes;

  • showing or sending pornography, sexual pictures or cartoons, sexually explicit images, or other offensive images (including on-line);

  • sexual jokes or comments, including passing around written sexual jokes or comments (for example, by e-mail);

  • rough and vulgar humour or language related to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression;

  • using sexual or gender-related comment or conduct to bully someone;

  • spreading sexual rumours (including on-line);

  • making suggestive or offensive comments or hints about members of a specific gender;

  • unwelcome advances, invitations or propositions of a sexual nature or repeated invitations after previous requests have been refused;

  • verbally abusing, threatening or taunting someone based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression;

  • demanding hugs, dates or sexual favours;

  • unwarranted inquiries or comments about a person's personal life;

  • bragging about sexual prowess, asking questions or talking about sexual activities;

  • asking someone to dress in a sexualized or gender-specific way;

  • threats to penalize or otherwise punish a person who refuses to comply with sexual advances (reprisal or "payback"); and

  • sexual assault.

Discrimination and harassment based on the prohibited grounds may include, but is not limited to:

  • comment or conduct which disparages, ridicules or insults a person's race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, creed / religion or citizenship, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity or expression, record of offences, sex, sexual orientation or related characteristics;

  • insulting gestures, slurs or jokes which relate to race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, creed / religion or citizenship, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity or expression, record of offences, sex, sexual orientation or related characteristics;

  • mimicking, disparaging, ridiculing or insulting a person's accent, speech or mannerisms;

  • displaying or distributing derogatory materials, cartoons or pictures which relate to race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, creed / religion or citizenship, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity or expression, record of offences, sex, sexual orientation or related characteristics;

  • using language that puts someone down based on their race (including using racial-specific derogatory names), colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, creed / religion or citizenship, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity or expression, record of offences, sex, sexual orientation or related characteristics;

  • unfairly singling someone out for humiliating treatment because of their race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, creed / religion or citizenship, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity or expression, record of offences, sex, sexual orientation or related characteristics; and;

  • refusing to work with people because of their race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, creed / religion or citizenship, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity or expression, record of offences, sex, sexual orientation or related characteristics; and

  • Workplace or Psychological Harassment is bullying or humiliating behavior (that is not necessarily code-related) and has the following components: it is generally repetitive, although a single serious incidence of such behavior may constitute workplace harassment if it undermines the recipient’s psychological or physical integrity and has a lasting harmful effect

  • it is hostile, abusive, or inappropriate

  • it affects the person’s dignity or psychological integrity; and

  • it results in a poisoned work environment.

Some examples of workplace harassment are:

  • verbally abusive behavior such as yelling, insults and name calling

  • persistent, excessive and unjustified criticism and constant scrutiny

  • spreading malicious rumours

  • excluding or ignoring someone

  • undermining someone else’s efforts by setting impossible goals and deadlines in an effort to harass them

  • sabotaging someone else’s work

  • impeding an individual’s efforts at promotions or transfers

  • making false allegations about someone in memos or other work related documents

 Workplace Violence include acts of aggression, physical assaults or threats. Some examples of workplace violence are:

  • physically abusive or aggressive behaviour such as pushing, hitting, biting,

  • finger pointing or standing close to someone in an aggressive manner

  • using or threatening to use a weapon

No Retaliation for Using this Policy

All Covered Persons have a right to make a complaint or enforce their rights under this Policy without retaliation or threat of retaliation.

The ICD prohibits reprisals or threats of reprisal against anyone who makes use of this Policy or takes part in an investigation under this Policy.

An act of retaliation or threat of retaliation against such a person will be treated in the same manner as harassment.

  1. Application of Policy

This Policy applies to all Covered Persons and covers all forms of harassment, including those prohibited by the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Ontario Health & Safety Act or any other applicable law. Any Covered Person who believes that he or she or another person has been harassed in the workplace may use the procedures in this Policy.

For the purpose of this Policy, the ICD’s workplace includes any place where the business of the ICD is conducted or where social or other functions of the ICD occur, including but not limited to Chapter offices, seminar and conference venues, client offices, restaurants, entertainment venues or locations of business travel or emails and other forms of communication.

Comments or images made on social media platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), may constitute workplace harassment where the posts are contrary to this Policy and have a nexus to the workplace or could reasonably be anticipated to have an impact on the work environment.

This Policy has been developed in consultation with a health and safety representative and will be reviewed annually.

  1. Procedure - What to Do if Harassment Occurs

This Policy outlines both informal and formal options available to any Covered Person who believes that he or she or another person has been discriminated against or harassed in the workplace.

While the ICD is committed to resolving discrimination and harassment concerns internally, nothing in the Policy precludes a Covered Person from filing a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Ministry of Labour or any other applicable tribunal or regulator, or having criminal charges laid or instituting civil proceedings.

Covered Persons who engage in harassment may expose themselves personally to damages in the event of a successful lawsuit or human rights case.

Informal Resolution Options

In many situations, simply informing the person that his or her comment or conduct is unwelcome will resolve the issue. Telling the person to "stop" may be difficult to do, but frequently it is the most effective means of eliminating the problem.
If you find it too difficult to speak to the person directly (or if you speak to the person but the unwelcome comment or conduct persists, or if you feel that as a result you have been subjected to retaliatory behaviour), you are encouraged to discuss your concerns with one of the ICD’s designated internal harassment advisors (the "Advisor").

The Advisor will assist you in understanding your rights and obligations under this policy. Specifically, the role of the Advisor is as follows:

  • act as a resource and answer inquiries with respect to this policy

  • discuss complaints on a confidential basis (to the extent possible)

  • canvass options available to you for dealing with the issue

  • outline counselling or support services provided by ICD; and

  • facilitate and assist in the informal resolution process.

Advisors are advocates for a respectful workplace – they are not advocates for a particular individual. They are not investigators under the policy nor are they decision-makers. They cannot provide legal or therapeutic advice but are there as an information and supportive resource. Advisors maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable and appropriate under the circumstances. However, please appreciate, that if necessary, an Advisor may have to disclose your concerns to senior management with the matter being dealt with in a more formal manner.
 
Contact particulars for the Advisor are provided in Schedule “A” attached to this Policy.

Formal Complaint Options

If the complaint cannot be resolved informally or if it is too serious to handle on an informal basis, you may bring a formal complaint to your manager or another manager (if you are more comfortable with that individual) at ICD. If the issue involves the CAO or CEO, then you may bring your concern to the Chair of the Board of Directors.
 
If you initiate a formal complaint we will need as much written information as possible, including the name of the person you believe is harassing you, the place, date and time of the harassment, and the names of any possible witnesses.
 
It is important that we receive your complaint as soon as possible so that the problem doesn’t escalate or happen again. Once we receive your complaint, we will initiate a formal investigation if it is necessary and appropriate to do so.
 
Discrimination and harassment are serious matters. Therefore, if you decide not to make a formal complaint, we may still need to investigate the matter and take steps to prevent further harassment. For example, we may need to continue with an investigation if the allegations are serious or if there have been previous complaints or incidents involving the respondent.
 
Note, you also have the option of reporting your concern to the Whistleblower hotline; however, maintaining anonymity may limit ICD’s ability to investigate. Therefore, if possible, we would strongly encourage you to follow the reporting procedure outlined above.

Investigation Procedure

We will commence an investigation as quickly as possible. We may choose to use either an internal or external investigator, depending on the nature of the complaint. The investigation may include:

  • interviewing the complainant and respondent to ascertain all of the facts and circumstances relevant to the complaint, including dates and locations

  • interviewing witnesses, if any

  • reviewing any related documentation; and

  • making detailed notes of the investigation and maintaining them in a confidential file

 
Once the investigation is complete, the investigator(s) will prepare a detailed report of the findings to provide to the CEO (or Chair of the Board, if the Complaint is against the CAO or CEO). A summary of the findings will also be provided to the complainant and respondent.
 
It is our goal to complete any investigation and communicate the results to the complainant and respondent within thirty days after we receive a complaint, where possible.

  1. Corrective Action

If the Evidence Supports the Complaint

If a finding of harassment is made, ICD will take appropriate corrective measures, regardless of the respondent’s seniority or position in the organization.
Corrective measures may include one or more of the following:

  • discipline, such as a verbal warning, written warning or suspension without pay

  • termination with or without cause

  • referral for counseling (“sensitivity training”) or attendance at educational programs on workplace respect

  • a demotion or denial of a promotion

  • reassignment or transfer

  • financial penalties such as the denial of a bonus or performance related salary increase, and

  • any other disciplinary action deemed appropriate under the circumstances

If there is Insufficient Evidence to Support the Complaint

If there is not enough evidence to support the complaint, corrective measures will not be taken.
If you make a complaint in good faith and without malice, regardless of the outcome of the investigation, you will not be subject to any form of discipline. ICD will, however, discipline or terminate anyone who brings a false and malicious complaint.

  1. Confidentiality

It is essential that the Complainant, Respondent and all of those involved in the informal or formal investigation of a complaint maintain confidentiality throughout the formal or informal complaint procedure, the investigation and subsequent to the investigation. Information will only be provided to those who have a “need to know”, or as required in the course of the investigation. It is the responsibility of all Covered Persons to cooperate with the investigation and to maintain strict confidentiality of all information related to the allegations and investigations.

It is a serious breach of this Policy to break confidentiality unless disclosure of information relating to the complaint is required by law or is necessary in order for the proper investigation and resolution of the matter. Any such breach will be treated in the same manner as a breach of the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.

In the course of an investigation, nothing precludes the ICD from accessing the file of a Covered Person, as required, or from consulting with the Advisor regarding the existence of prior complaints against a Covered Person.

  1. Harassment by Individuals Outside of the ICD

If you believe that you have been harassed by a person outside the ICD in the course of your business-related interaction with that person, you may bring your concerns to the attention of the Advisor or the CEO. The CEO will initiate a formal investigation if it is necessary and appropriate to do so.

 SCHEDULE “A”

Contact information for the Advisor:
CAO - Chief Administrative Officer Ken Gibson, kgibson@icd.ca
416-593-3352 or toll-free 1-877-593-7741
 

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