Sylvite Workplace Violence and Harassment Training

About this Training Program

Sylvite is committed to providing a work environment that is free of harassment of any nature and one in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.  Harassment in any form undermines the atmosphere of trust and respect that is essential to a healthy work environment.

Sylvite has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy towards harassment in the workplace or during work-related functions and/or activities. Workplace harassment and workplace sexual harassment will not be tolerated by any person in the workplace including all other persons entering the Sylvite workplace.

 

The purpose of this training program is to ensure all Sylvite employees are well-informed of the company's harassment and violence policies. Thank you for your cooperation in maintaining a positive workplace environment at Sylvite!

Introduction/Laws and Regulations to Combat Workplace Harassment

Policies

Canada's Criminal Code 

Canada’s Criminal Code deals with matters such as violent acts, sexual assault, threats and behaviours such as stalking. The police should be contacted in these situations. Harassment may also be a matter that falls under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Ontario Human Rights Code

The Ontario Human Rights Code protects all employees from harassment, including sexual harassment and guarantees freedom from discrimination on the prohibited grounds of a person’s race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, family status, disability, or pardoned conviction.  

Definitions

Harassment

The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act defines workplace harassment as - engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in the workplace is known or ought to reasonably be known to be unwelcome, or workplace sexual harassment.

Discrimination

Defined as - favourable or unfavourable treatment based on a person’s race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, family status, disability, or pardoned conviction.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as:

  • Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expressed, 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 to the work and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome

Vexatious: causing or tending to cause annoyance, frustration, or worry

Quiz: Sexual Harassment is __________ sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and/or other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

  • Unwarranted
  • Obvious
  • Vexatious
Fill in the blank with the appropriate answer. 

Quiz: Harassment

  • Harassment is limited to exchanges between men and women.
Is the following statement true or false?

Recent Changes to Legislation

Bill 132 Quiz: What changes occurred and how does it affect Sylvite?

  • Bill 132 will add onto the definition of workplace harassment under the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act, to specifically include workplace sexual harassment as a workplace safety issue.
  • All employers are NOT required to put a program in place in writing and provide information and instruction to all their workers about harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Bill 132 gives the Ministry of Labour the ability to order employers to use a third party to investigate workplace harassment at the employers expense.
  • No changes occurred.

Quiz: Right to Refuse

  • Under Occupational Health and Safety workers now have the right to refuse work if they have a reason to believe they are in danger from workplace violence.

Workplace Harassment

Examples of Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

Discrimination & Harassment

A few examples are:

  • Offensive or intimidating comments or jokes
  • Bullying or aggressive behaviour
  • Displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials
  • Isolating or making fun of a worker because of gender identity

Sexual Harassment

A few examples are:

  • Questions and discussions about a person's sexual life
  • Touching a person in a sexual way
  • Commenting on someone's sexual attractiveness or unattractiveness
  • Persisting in asking for a date after having been refused
  • Telling a woman she belongs at home or is not suited for a particular job
  • Eyeing someone in a suggestive way
  • Writing sexually suggestive letters or notes

Quiz: Your work area is pretty hectic, and chatter can get distasteful at times. People swear at each other, call each other names, and make comments at each other. Most of the workers participate, but a few seem uncomfortable.

  • This is an example of a fun environment where employees are able to express themselves freely.
  • This is an appropriate workplace environment and employers should encourage this kind of behaviour.
  • This is a safe environment.
  • This is a hostile environment in the making and employees have to tone things down.
With reference to the above scenario, are the following statements true or false?

Quiz: Can the following be considered as discrimination?

  • A pregnant employee is not provided with a written evaluation of her performance, is given less time than other employees to meet performance objectives and is demoted before leaving for maternity leave. This is considered discrimination.

Quiz: Mr Smith, a Caucasian male, is constantly late for work, but has never received a warning from his supervisor. A co-worker, Mr Li, an Asian male, was late twice and received a warning letter promptly from the same supervisor.

  • There may be a perception that the supervisor is treating Mr Li unfairly because Mr Smith never received a similar letter. Further investigation is needed.
  • Mr Li is being discriminated by his supervisor.
  • There is nothing wrong with the situation.
Select the appropriate answer.

Quiz: Jane is a temp employee at a travel agency. John, a permanent employee, criticizes Jane on the rare occasion they speak for wearing religious jewellery. Jane doesn't say anything to John or their employer but is bothered by it.

  • Yes, because Jane is only a temporary employee.
  • Yes, because John's comments are not work-related.
  • Yes, because John sees Jane only infrequently.
  • No, because John's conduct is offensive to Jane and possibly others.
Is John's behaviour acceptable? Select the appropriate answer.

Quiz: Workplace Harassment

  • Staring at another employee in a sexually-suggestive manner is not sufficient grounds for a sexual harassment complaint.
Is the statement true or false?

Exclusions

What may be confused as workplace harassment?

Workplace Harassment does not include reasonable action or conduct by an employer, manager or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the workplace is not workplace harassment.  This is the case even if there are sometimes unpleasant consequences for a worker. 

(i.e. changes in work assignments, scheduling, job assessment and evaluation, workplace inspections, implementation of dress codes and disciplinary actions) 

Differences of opinion or minor disagreements between co-workers would also not generally be considered workplace harassment. 

Quiz: Exclusions

  • Jane missed an important deadline due to excessive use of social media. Her manager decided to discipline her and gave her a warning. This is fair and a reasonable course of action from her manager.
  • If the workers who play on the company softball team often come in late the day after a night game and are not disciplined according to the rule on tardiness, then the company can't expect to enforce that rule on other workers.
  • The night shift shouldn't be allowed to break rules that the day shift is required to follow.
  • A rule banning listening to music while working may be justified as improving efficiency.
Are the following statements true or false? 

Workplace Violence

Definition

Workplace violence

  • The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker.
  • An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.
  • A statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.

Unacceptable Behaviour

means physically or psychologically aggressive behaviours which cause the recipient to have a fear of physical violence. 

Domestic Violence

is a pattern of behaviour used by one person to gain power and control over another with whom he or she has had an intimate relationship.  It may include physical violence, sexual, emotional and psychological intimidation, verbal abuse, stalking and use of electronic devices to harass and control.

Quiz: What is Workplace Violence?

  • Threatening behaviour - such as destroying property or throwing objects.
  • Unpleasant consequences for a worker - changes in work assignments, scheduling, job assessment and evaluation, workplace inspections, implementation of dress codes and disciplinary actions.
  • Harassment - any behaviour that demeans, embarrasses, humiliates, annoys, alarms or verbally abuses a person and that is known or would be expected to be unwelcome. This includes words, gestures, intimidation, bullying, or other inappropriate activities.
  • Verbal abuse - swearing, insults or condescending language.
  • Physical attacks - hitting, shoving, pushing or kicking.
  • Verbal or written threats - any expression of an intent to inflict harm.

Quiz: Workplace Violence

  • Violence must include physical assault such as beating.
  • It is safe to say an individual who has never shown signs of violence is most likely not violent.
  • Workplace violence can victimizes both men and women
  • An employee who has a history of violence should not be trusted.
Looking at each statement, are they true or false?

Quiz: Being a Bystander

  • If you see two employees "slap fighting" but neither seems angry, you should let them alone and not interfere. They’re not doing any harm.
Is the following statement true or false?

Respect in the Workplace

Quiz: What are the characteristics of a respectful workplace?

  • All employees are treated fairly
  • Difference is acknowledged and valued
  • Communication is open and civil
  • Conflict is addressed early
  • There is a culture of empowerment and cooperation
Select all that apply.

Importance of Respect in the Workplace

Why is respect important?

  • It supports a good mental health in the workplace 
  • Holds people responsible for their actions 
  • Fosters a workforce that embraces diversity 
  • Improves working relationships 
  • Improves problem-solving and conflict resolution 
  • Increases productivity and engagement §Reduces workplace stress 
  • Supports a workplace culture of fairness and equity

Responsibility of Sylvite Employers and Employees

The Employee's Responsibility

Employee's Responsibility

All employees of Sylvite have a responsibility to play a part in ensuring an environment free from acts of violence. This means not engaging in, allowing, condoning or ignoring behaviour contrary to this policy.

No employee is required to tolerate acts of violence for any reason at any time. 

All employees are expected to uphold this policy and will be held accountable by the employer.

All employees are expected to and responsible for: 

  • Reporting any violence, potential risk of violence or unacceptable behaviour they may experience or witness to their immediate manager, supervisor or Human Resources. 
  • Attending any training or information sessions provided by Sylvite to reduce violence or risks of violence. 
  • Cooperating with the police, company investigators or other authorities as required during any investigation related to workplace violence.

Employees are encouraged to report any incidents of harassment or discrimination without fear of threat, retaliation or reprisal. Appropriate action will be taken against any person who takes any reprisal against a person who reports harassment or discrimination.

Quiz: Why do employee’s hesitate to report discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment?

  • Fear of losing their job
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Fear of getting someone into trouble
  • Fear of disrupting the workplace
  • Fear of being accused of having no sense of humor
  • Fear of not being believed. Discrimination and harassment are generally subtle and inconspicuous.
Select all that apply.

Quiz: Responsibility

  • All employees, supervisors and executives share responsibility for ensuring that the workplace is free from violence and harassment.
Is the following statement true or false?

Quiz: Reporting

  • Employees can make a good faith report to their supervisor, the Director of Human Resources, or a senior company leader without fear of discipline or retaliation.
Is the following statement true or false?

The Employer's and Manager's Responsibility

Managers and Supervisors

Managers and supervisors are responsible for fostering a safe working environment free from violence. 

Managers and supervisors must set an example for appropriate workplace behaviour and must deal with situations immediately upon becoming aware of them, regardless of whether there has been a complaint. 

Managers and supervisors will also identify and alert staff to violent persons and hazardous situations. They are responsible for contacting the police and for ensuring that individuals receive proper medical treatment, as a first priority.

Quiz: Protecting Employees

  • Employers who are aware that violence may occur in the workplace must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect a worker at risk of physical injury.
Is the following statement true or false?

Quiz: Obligation

  • Employers do not have an obligation to prepare policies with respect to workplace violence and workplace harassment.
Is the following statement true or false?

Scenario: An employee reports harassment to his/her supervisor and says, “I don’t want you to do anything about this. I just want you to listen and be aware of what is going on.” How should the supervisor respond?

  • Once a supervisor receives a report of harassment or discrimination, a supervisor has an obligation to take action.
  • The supervisor can promise to "just listen and be aware."
  • The supervisor should approach human resources with the issue and gain valuable input on the situation
Referring to the scenario above, answer the following questions. 

Quiz: If a victim tells a supervisor they are being harassed, what should the supervisor do first?

  • Tell the employee to call a lawyer.
  • Tell the employee that they are overreacting.
  • Tell the employee sorry but only HR can help.
  • Help the employee by making them feel safe and listening to the problem.
Select the appropriate answer. 

Procedure in the Event of an Incident

Filing a Compliant: Two Options

Formal Procedure

  • Requires investigation
  • Harasser will be disciplined, if applicable, in a timely and fair manner
  • Dispute resolution process
  • Formal Documentation

Informal Procedure

  • No thorough investigation is needed
  • Can provide more confidentiality 
  • Lack of paper trail 
  • Lack of accountability
  • Result may not be desirable
  • More 'friendly' solution

Formal: If you believe you have been sexually harassed or harassed or discriminated against, you may make a written complaint.  The written complaint must be delivered to:

3221 North Service Road, Suite 200, Burlington, Ontario L7N 3G2 

Address to: Human Resources or another member of the senior management team

Informal: If you believe you have been sexually harassed or harassed or discriminated against, you may:

  • Confront the harasser personally or in writing pointing out the unwelcome behaviour and requesting that it stop
  • Discuss the situation with the harasser’s supervisor, your supervisor or any supervisor other than your own.

Your complaint should include:

  • The approximate date and time of each incident you wish to report
  • The name of the person or persons involved in each incident
  • The name of any person or persons who witnessed each incident
  • A full description of what occurred in each incident

Quiz: Filing a Compliant

  • If there is no formal documentation, no incident occurred.
Is the following statement true or false?

Investigation

Investigation after a complaint is received

Once a written complaint has been received, a timely, impartial, appropriately thorough and fair investigation will be completed. The investigation will include:

  • informing the harasser(s) of the complaint
  • interviewing you, any person(s) involved in the incident and any witnesses
  • interviewing any other person who may have knowledge of the particular incident or any other similar occurrences

Who can perform the investigation?

According to most policies, an investigation must be made before disciplinary action is taken. During an investigation, the investigator looks into any possible justification for the employee’s alleged violation and will seek out and question all relevant witnesses. 

There are various individuals who can perform an investigation such as, 

  • Immediate supervisor
  • Health and safety committee member(s)
  • Third-party investigator 

Third-party investigators can be costly but offer companies with the most impartial decision. 

Quiz: How should an employer treat an employee accused of discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment?

  • An employer must conduct a neutral investigation. Conclusions should not be reached until the investigation is complete.
  • The accused employee has a chance to defend him/herself and present information and witnesses.
  • To ensure the safety of other employees, assume the employee is guilty and act accordingly.
Referring to the question above, are the following statements true or false? 

Resolution

Resolution

Possible resolutions and/or corrective actions may include: 

  • An apology
  • Further training
  • Referral to an assistance program
  • Suspension
  • Discharge 
  • Legal action

An individual affected by workplace violence has the right to pursue their concern through alternative forums or other forms of dispute resolution. Nothing stated in Company Policy prevents an individual from pursuing other remedies to an incident of workplace violence such as a criminal or civil action

Disciplinary Measures Following an Investigation

Actions

After determining harassment has occurred

If it is determined by the Company that any employee has been involved in harassing another employee, immediate disciplinary action will be taken.  Such disciplinary action will involve, at a minimum, a formal warning and may result in immediate dismissal without further notice.

It is important to realize that unfounded allegations of harassment may cause both the accused person and the company significant damage. 

If it is determined by the company that any employee has knowingly made false statements regarding a harassment allegation, immediate disciplinary action will be taken.  As with any case of dishonesty, disciplinary action may include immediate dismissal without further notice.

Quiz: Disciplinary Action

  • Disciplinary actions will be taken on accused and guilty employees.
  • Disciplinary action will be enforced on employees who knowingly made false accusations towards an employee.
Are the following statements true or false?

Appeals

Appeal Process

A person directly involved in a complaint may appeal to the Chief Executive Officer of Sylvite or any member of the management team (i.e. Vice-President /General Manager) within a week after learning of the decision. 

If the Chief Executive Officer of Sylvite or the member of the Management team believes there is sufficient reason to re-investigate or to change the disciplinary action, he or she may make that decision within one week from receiving the appeal.

Support for Employees

Support at Sylvite

Support

Management will respond promptly, assess the situation and attend employees affected by workplace violence by:

  • facilitating medical attention
  •  debriefing staff
  • providing referrals to appropriate community agencies
  • completing all required reports 
  • reporting to police as required

Risk assessments will be reviewed annually as well as when new jobs are created or job descriptions are changed substantially.

New employees will receive the appropriate orientation to the Workplace Violence Policy.  All employees will receive an annual review of the policy’s general and site-specific components.

The effectiveness of this policy will be reviewed at least annually or when such circumstances require immediate review.

Quiz: Company Policies

  • Company policies should and will be reviewed every year.
  • Company policies are in place to guide and protect employees.
Are the following statements true or false?

Confidentiality at Sylvite

Documentation

Privacy and Documentation

Sylvite will do everything it can to protect the privacy of individuals involved and to ensure that complainants and/or respondents are treated fairly and respectfully. Sylvite will protect this privacy so long as doing so remains consistent with the enforcement of this policy and adherence to the law.

All reported incidents are documented and retained on file and will be kept in strict confidence, except as is necessary to investigate the complaint and to respond to any legal or administrative proceedings arising out of or relating to the sexual harassment report.

Quiz: Confidentiality

  • A manager receiving a report of harassment has an obligation to tell all employees every detail of the incident.
  • Human Resources and specific members of management may need to have some or all of the information from your report.
  • In order for the accused to answer questions and defend him/herself, the accused should receive all necessary details during the investigation.
  • Witnesses should only be given limited information.
Are the following statements true or false?

Review of Course Material

Quiz: Which of the following is NOT an example of harassment?

  • Standing too close
  • A friendly gesture, such as a pat on the back to get someone's attention
  • Making offensive comments about someone's appearance
  • Enforcing policies and rules equally among all employees
  • Fair work performance criticism
  • Discrediting a person by spreading malicious gossip or rumours
Referring to what you've learned in the course, select all that apply. 

Quiz: Review

  • Prevention is the most effective way to eliminate discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Taking a proactive stance to create and maintain a respectful work environment is the most effective way to prevent discrimination and any kind of harassment.
  • If no one complains, then it’s not sexual harassment.
  • If someone is offended by my behaviour in the break room, they should take their break somewhere else, or at another time, since I am not “working” while I’m on my break and I have a right to freedom of speech.
  • If most people find a comment amusing and inoffensive, then the one person who is offended does not have a right to complain about harassment.
  • Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances or romantic interest, or other unwelcome conduct that may be verbal, visual, or physical.
  • Sexual harassment involves offering job benefits in exchange for sexual favours or alternatively threatening a person’s job if they don’t agree to the offer
  • It is unlawful, and a violation of the company’s policy, to retaliate against someone who resists unwelcome behaviour, files a complaint about harassment or perceived harassment, or participates in an investigation.
  • Employees are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination for engaging in unlawful harassment or discrimination.
  • You have the responsibility of reporting any type of harassment immediately, even if you were just a witness.
  • If your conduct is not intended to offend anyone, it cannot be considered harassment.
  • Since visitors, contractors and vendors aren’t company employees, their behaviour cannot constitute workplace harassment.
Referring to what you've learned in the course, are the following statements true or false? 

Feedback

Was the course straightforward, informative and relevant?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Prefer not to say

Did you learn anything new?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Prefer not to say

How would you rate your overall experience with the training program?

  • 5 Stars - Excellent training program (No changes needed)
  • 4 Stars - Great training program (Could be better)
  • 3 Stars - Decent training program (Needs minor improvements)
  • 2 Stars - Noticeable problems in the training program (Needs major improvements)
  • 1 Star - Absolutely horrible training program (Everything needs to be improved)
  • Prefer no to say

What suggestions do you have to improve the training program? ☺

Any feedback would be great! Please put "no suggestions" if you do not have any.