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Wilfrid Laurier University University Secretariat
April 28, 2015
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Definitions



To speak to someone regarding harassment and/or discrimination, please contact Dawn Ricker, Senior Advisor, Dispute Resolution and Support, dricker@wlu.ca or (519) 884-0710 x4541. 

General Definitions

Prohibited Grounds
The prohibited grounds are the protected categories listed under the Ontario Human Rights Code, which are: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offenses*, marital status, family status, and disability.

*The prohibited ground identified as record of offenses is limited only to discrimination of employment.

Poisoned Environment
Where harassing or discriminatory behaviour are severe and/or pervasive and cause unreasonable interference to a person's study or work environment, they may be deemed to create a poisoned environment. A poisoned work or learning environment is one that is intimidating, hostile, and/or offensive.

Although a person may not be the target of the behaviours, a person may feel the effects of certain harassing or discriminatory behaviours at their place of work or study. Depending on the nature of the comments of conduct, one instance may be sufficient to create a poisoned environment for a specific employee or student, or group of employees or students. 


What is Discrimination?

Discrimination means treating people differently, negatively or adversely because of their race, sex, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, marital status, same sex partner status, sexual orientation, age, disability, citizenship, family status or religion. 

Direct Discrimination
Direct discrimination describes an act, behaviour, or practice of treating a person unequally on the basis of a prohibited ground.

Systemic Discrimination

Systemic  discrimination, referred to as "constructive discrimination" in the Human Rights Code, is most commonly known as systemic discrimination because it is inherent in, or the result of, the organization's informal or formal policies, practices, or procedures. IT occurs when a requirement, qualification, or factor results in the exclusion, restriction, or preference of a group identified by a prohibited ground.

What is Harassment?

Harassment is defined in Ontario’s laws as "engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome”.  Generally, these comments or conduct must be related to one of the prohibited grounds. The person responsible knows or ought reasonably to know that the remarks or behaviours are unwanted, unwelcome, offensive, intimidating, hostile, or inappropriate. Harassment does not include interpersonal conflict or disagreement or the proper exercise of performance evaluation, managerial direction, or performance or attendance management.

One remark or gesture would not normally be considered a "course of conduct". However, persistent and frequent comments are not necessary for there to be a violation of policy 6.1 Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination.

Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment is engaging in course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably known to be unwelcome. The conduct need not be based on the prohibited grounds.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours, or communications of a sexually oriented nature and/or a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours, or communications based on gender. The person responsible for the remarks, behaviours, or communications knows or ought reasonably to know that these are unwelcome. Sexual harassment may also include unwanted attention or remarks of a sexually oriented nature or unwelcome remarks based on gender which are not of a sexual nature, but which are demeaning or degrading.

Sexual Solicitation and Reprisal
Every member of Laurier has a right to freedom from sexual solicitation or advance by a person in a position to confer, grant, or deny a benefit or advancement, where that person knows, or ought reasonably to know, that such a solicitation or advance is unwelcome. Sexual solicitation or sexual advance includes an implied or expressed promise or reward for complying with a sexually oriented request made by a person in position to confer, grant, or deny a benefit or advancement.

Every member of the Laurier community has the right to be free from reprisal or threat of reprisal for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance, where the reprisal is made, or threatened by, a person in a position to confer, grant, or deny a benefit or advancement.

When an individual has power over another, decision making can be impacted and mutual consent may be called into question should a complaint of harassment and/or discrimination arise either during or after a relationship has ended.



Ontario’s Human Rights Commission.

You may wish to visit the OHRC website for further information on your rights and details regarding prohibited grounds for discrimination or harassment: http://www.ohrc.on.ca