June 27, 2017
This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.
Approving Authority: Board of Governors
Original Approval Date: N/A
Date of Most Recent Review/Revision: June 22, 2017
Administrative Responsibility: Office of Dispute Resolution
Parent Policy: 6.1, Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination
1.01 Any member of the university community may consult with Office of Dispute Resolution and Support (“ODRS”) in order to discuss situations which may or may not constitute harassment and/or discrimination. Members who believe that they are experiencing harassment and/or discrimination are encouraged to seek supports available through the ODRS or other sources of support including human resources, and union or association representatives. During consultation with the ODRS informal resolution possibilities as well as emotional, academic and departmental supports will be explored.
1.02 If the concern falls outside of this policy’s jurisdiction, or could be more appropriately dealt with elsewhere, the individual will be referred to the appropriate office.
2.01 At any interview or proceeding related to a complaint under this policy, individuals may bring union/ association representation or a support person.
3.01 Following consultation, if the concern has not been resolved, the individual bringing forward the concern may choose to file a complaint. In filing a complaint, the Resolution Request Form must be completed and submitted to the ODRS. That form can only be found in the office of the ODRS.
3.02 Upon receipt of the Resolution Request Form, the ODRS will determine whether the complaint may go forward, considering the timeliness of the complaint and whether the issues noted in the complaint are within the jurisdiction of the university to resolve and within the scope of this policy.
3.03 The ODRS will provide complaint details to the individual(s) named in the complaint (the “respondent(s)”). The respondent(s) may provide a written response to the complaint, which should be filed with the ODRS as soon as reasonably possible, and in accordance with timelines established by the ODRS.
3.04 The Office of Dispute Resolution and Support is available to provide guidance on the preparation of a complaint or response to a complaint.
3.05 The ODRS will determine if interim measures are required to facilitate resolution of a complaint.
3.06 Allegations of discrimination and harassment are very serious and must be handled accordingly. Great care should be taken when filing a complaint. The University has an obligation to address all complaints once filed.
4.01 The Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, or designate, will meet or speak with all parties in the complaint to discuss the issues in an effort to seek understanding and develop mutually satisfying solutions. Solutions may include voluntary mediation, facilitated conversation or other resolution mechanisms. Early intervention and resolution are encouraged. Participants must remain free from reprisal during these confidential resolution meetings, if meaningful resolution is to occur. These conversations, or mediation sessions cannot be relied upon for future discipline.
4.02 All members of the university are expected to cooperate with and participate in resolution efforts.
4.03 If a resolution is achieved, the details will be documented and set out in a written agreement that must be reviewed and signed by all parties. The agreement may be created by the ODRS, or an appointed mediator. A copy of the signed resolution agreement will be provided to all parties and may be provided to university administrators as reasonably necessary to implement the terms of the resolution. The Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, or designate, will monitor the implementation of the terms of the resolution agreement.
4.04 A copy of the terms of the resolution shall be confidentially retained in the files of the ODRS and shall not be placed in official student or employee files. Files will be confidentially destroyed after 5 years.
5.01 An investigation may be required when other efforts to resolve the complaint have not been successful or are not appropriate.
5.02 Investigator(s) shall be appointed by the university and investigation shall occur as promptly as possible. Investigator(s) may include individuals internal or external to the university, but in no event will an individual in a reporting relationship to the complaint(s) or respondent(s), or who may have a conflict of interest, be appointed as an investigator.
5.03 The investigator(s) shall receive a copy of the complaint, response and any relevant documents. Where mediation or other early resolution strategies were conducted, no information shall be provided to the investigator other than a notation that the parties participated in mediation or other informal or early resolution strategies. The investigator will interview the complainant(s), respondent(s) and any applicable witnesses or individuals with knowledge of the events being investigated.
5.04 All members of the university community are expected to cooperate with and assist in the investigation. All relevant and applicable information should be provided.
5.05 Members of the university community will not be penalized for filing a complaint in good faith or participating in an investigation.
6.01 Following completion of the investigation, the investigator(s) shall provide a written report that will be securely maintained in the Office of Dispute Resolution and Support. The report will include:
a) a finding on each allegation in the complaint;
b) sufficient detail to outline the rationale for the finding(s);
c) as appropriate, recommendations on actions or sanctions relating to the issues in the complaint or more general workplace or conflict resolution issues.
6.02 The complainant and respondent shall receive a written summary of the investigator’s report including the outcome of the investigation of the complaint and steps to be taken by the university arising from the complaint. Witnesses will not be identified to either the complainant or respondent.
7.01 In the event the investigation finds the complaint (in whole or in part) is upheld, the university will undertake reasonable steps to address the complaint, which may include sanctions or other appropriate actions.
7.02 The objective of any action or sanction is two-fold: (i) to prevent the continuation or repetition of the conduct; and (ii) to restore the complainant to the position he/she would have been in had the discrimination or harassment not occurred. The interests of the university community will also be considered when contemplating appropriate sanctions.
7. 03 All written records of the complaint, investigation and recommendations shall be confidentially retained in the Office of Dispute Resolution and Support. Information will be included in an employment or official file only if there is a sanction or other disciplinary action. All sanctions or discipline are subject to applicable grievance processes.
8.01 Responsibility to respond: The University and its administrators or others with supervisory responsibility must respond promptly to alleged, known or apparent incidents of discrimination and harassment, whether or not a complaint has been filed.
8.02 Confidentiality: University managers, supervisors and staff as well as the complainant(s) and respondent(s) who, by virtue of their position, are privy to information or in possession of documentation pertaining to a complaint shall hold such information in confidence. Confidentiality shall not prevent the university from fulfilling its responsibilities under the Human Rights Code, Occupational Health and Safety Act, or other applicable legislation, or where there is a concern relating to the safety or security of individuals.
8.03 Academic Freedom: Wilfrid Laurier’s University’s Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment Policy is not intended to inhibit academic freedom. It reminds all members of the university that in exercising our freedoms, we all have a responsibility to respect the rights and freedoms of others, including the right to study and work in an environment which is free of discrimination and harassment.
8.04 Time lines for filing Complaints: In the absence of exceptional circumstances, a complaints should be filed as quickly as possible. Failure to promptly report may negatively impact resolution or investigation efforts.
8.05 Frivolous or Vexatious Complaints: The University may take disciplinary action against those who make allegations of harassment or discrimination which are reckless, malicious, or not in good faith.
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