Introduction

All workers of National Screen Institute – Canada (“NSI”) are entitled to a workplace that is free of harassment, discrimination and workplace violence.

NSI is committed to providing a positive working environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Harassment and violence will not be tolerated by NSI. All employees, regardless of their position or seniority, found to have engaged in conduct constituting harassment or violence will face appropriate disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. NSI has developed an organization-wide policy intended to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that no worker is subjected to harassment or violence in the workplace, and to deal quickly and effectively with any incident that might occur.

All employees of NSI will be apprised of the policy and procedure. This policy will be posted on the staff bulletin board and on the NSI-Canada website at: https://www.nsi-canada.ca/respectful-workplace-policy.

Employees who experience harassment or violence should not assume NSI is aware of the situation. If an employee feels that (s)he is being harassed or the subject of workplace violence, or has witnessed any such behaviour, NSI wants the employee to let it know as soon as possible. The procedures for reporting workplace harassment and violence are set out below in this policy.

Harassing or violent behaviour can occur on NSI’s premises or in the pursuit of a business activity off NSI’s premises. This policy applies to all persons who are employed at NSI, as well as to third parties (such as students, board members, faculty, clients, customers, visitors or contractors) while they are on NSI’s property or are participating in NSI-sponsored or work-related activity, regardless of which province or territory the activity occurs in.

For the purposes of this policy, a “Competent Person” is defined as a person who:

  • has knowledge, training and experience in issues relating to workplace violence and/or harassment; and
  • has knowledge of the relevant legislation.

Part I – Harrassment

(a) Definition of Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment is a form of discrimination. Harassment creates a hostile or intimidating environment, in which verbal or physical conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to interfere significantly with an individual’s work performance, or creates a risk to a worker’s health, or psychological or physical well-being.

It may be broadly defined as a single severe event (in some circumstances) or a series of incidents that involve unwelcome or objectionable comments, conduct or display undertaken or made on the basis of the following grounds:

  • a person’s ancestry, including colour and perceived race;
  • nationality or national origin;
  • ethnic background or origin;
  • religion or creed, or religious belief, religious association or religious activity;
  • age;
  • sex, including pregnancy, the possibility of pregnancy, or circumstances related to pregnancy, or other gender-determined characteristics or circumstances;
  • sexual orientation;
  • marital or family status;
  • source of income;
  • political belief, political association or political activity;
  • physical or mental disability or related characteristics or circumstances including reliance on a service animal, a wheelchair, or any other remedial appliance or device;
  • social disadvantage;
  • conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted; or
  • other prohibited grounds (including physical size and weight) that creates a risk to the health of a worker, detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victims.

The behavior need not be intentional in order to be considered harassment. Conduct constituting Workplace Harassment includes a written or verbal comment, a physical act or gesture or a display, or any combination of them.

“Discrimination” means differential treatment based on the grounds set out above.

(b) Definition of Sexual Harassment

“Sexual harassment” is defined in the The Human Rights Code of Manitoba as:

  • a series of objectionable and unwelcome sexual solicitations or advances of a sexual solicitation;
  • an advance made by a person who is in a position to confer any benefit on, or deny any benefit to, the recipient of the solicitation or advance, if the person making the solicitation or advance knows or ought reasonably to know that it is unwelcome; and/or
  • a reprisal or threat of reprisal for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance.

Like other forms of harassment, it may involve a single event if sufficiently serious.

(c) Definition of Personal Harassment

Personal Harassment is also prohibited by this policy. It is defined as severe conduct that adversely affects a worker’s psychological or physical well-being. Conduct is severe if it could reasonably cause a worker to be humiliated or intimidated and is repeated, or in the case of a single occurrence, has a lasting, harmful effect on a worker. It can include:

  • unjustified, unfair criticism or ridicule;
  • insults, mocking, belittling or abusive comments and behaviour especially in front of others;
  • repeated incidents of yelling, screaming or name calling; or
  • behaviour that is rude, intimidating or vindictive.

Like other forms of harassment, Personal Harassment may involve a single event if sufficiently severe, so as to have a lasting, harmful effect on the worker. For conduct to constitute Personal Harassment, it need not be based on any particular characteristic held by the subject of such harassment. Conduct constituting Personal Harassment includes a written or verbal comment, a physical act or gesture or a display, or any combination of them.

(d) Prohibited and Non-Prohibited Conduct

Examples of conduct which may violate this policy include, but are not limited to: behavior or conduct addressed directly to an individual(s) that threatens violence or property damage, or incites imminent lawless action that is made with specific intent to harm; racial and ethnic epithets, slurs and insults; slander, libel or, obscene speech that advocates racial, ethnic or religious discrimination, hatred or persecution; unwelcome sexual flirtations, sexual advances, physical or visual conduct that is abusive or propositions including sexually degrading words and unwelcome physical touching; sexual, racial or other jokes; e-mails; drawings; cartoons or written materials which are offensive.

Harassment does not include reasonable conduct of NSI or its supervisors in respect of the management and direction of workers or the workplace, such as assigning and organizing work, evaluating performance, setting reasonable standards of work, taking corrective action (i.e. coaching, counseling or discipline) with respect to conduct or performance.

Part II – Violence

(a) Definition of Workplace Violence

Workplace violence constitutes any action, conduct, threat or gesture of a person towards an employee in their workplace that can reasonably be expected to cause harm, injury or illness to that employee. It includes, but is not limited to, the attempted or actual exercise of physical force against a person, or any threatening statement or behavior that gives a person reasonable cause to believe that physical force will be used against the person.

NSI is committed to ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that no employee is subjected to violence in the workplace and will ensure all employees are aware of the risks of violence in the workplace and are properly trained and equipped to protect themselves. As such, it is committed to:

  • providing a safe, healthy and violence-free workplace, to the extent reasonably practicable;
  • communicating to its employees information in its possession about factors contributing to workplace violence;
  • training employees on this policy;
  • ensuring employees comply with this policy; and
  • assisting employees who have been exposed to workplace violence.

Part III – How to Report Incidents of Workplace Harassment and Violence

(a) Making a Complaint and Other Considerations

An employee complaint of harassment or violence can be made orally or in writing to or directly to his/her supervisor. Should the supervisor be the object of the complaint, the complaint should be made to the CEO, Director of Finance or Safety Representative.

All complaints will be taken seriously, and will be dealt with fairly and promptly. Employees must cooperate in any such investigation.

In the case of an incident of violence, employees and their supervisor will assess the risk associated with the situation and complete the incident report form available from her/his supervisor. The form must be completed for all incidents of violence, whether there is actual violence or a threatening situation where there is a reasonable expectation that it may become violent, and regardless of whether there is actual injury.

In the event immediate assistance is required when an incident of violence occurs or is likely to occur, the employee or supervisor shall call 911.

If an employee has been the harmed as a result of an incident of violence at the workplace, the employee will be:

  • encouraged to get immediate medical help;
  • advised to consult the employee’s health care provider for treatment or referral for post-incident counselling, if appropriate; and
  • given the opportunity to be examined by a physician.

NSI recommends that a worker who has been harmed as a result of an incident of violence at the workplace is advised to consult the worker’s health care provider for treatment or referral for post-incident counselling, if appropriate.

(b) Investigating Complaints of Harassment and/or Violence

Where a complaint is received, or a violent incident occurs, an investigation will be performed by a Competent Person, designated by the Director of Finance or CEO and approached in an unbiased manner.

The complainant and the respondent are both entitled to a fair process and will both be informed of the process, progress and results of the investigation in writing by the Competent Person. The complainant and the respondent will both be interviewed, as well as any other witnesses deemed relevant to the investigation.

Given the sensitivity of such matters, NSI will do its best to preserve confidentiality throughout the process during the investigation, and will not disclose the name of the complainant or respondent unless necessary to investigate the complaint or take corrective action with respect to the complaint, or where required by law. If personal information must be disclosed, it will be the minimum amount necessary for the purpose.

NSI shall, on completion of the investigation:

  • keep a record of the report from the Competent Person;
  • provide the workplace safety committee or the safety representative, as the case may be, with the results of the investigation, providing information whose disclosure is not prohibited pursuant to this policy or by law;
  • if the complainant’s complaint is found to have merit, NSI will take corrective action respecting any person under its direction who subjects a worker to harassment and/or violence. This action may likely include discipline up to and including the dismissal of the offending person(s); and
  • adapt or implement, as the case may be, controls or training to prevent a recurrence of workplace harassment or violence.

This policy is not intended to discourage or prevent a complainant from exercising any other legal rights, actions or remedies pursuant to any other law. Pursuant to legislation, employees have the right to file a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.

Part IV – Other considerations regarding workplace violence

(a) Notification of Employees as Risk of Violence

When an actual incident of violence has occurred or when a situation occurs that could reasonably expected to become violent, NSI will take the following steps to ensure the safety of all employees:

  • Advise the employee(s) at risk, to the extent this is known.
  • Coordinate a review of current procedures in an effort to eliminate or minimize risk.
  • Unless otherwise prohibited by law, in informing the employee(s) at risk, the information will include any information in NSI’s possession, including personal information, related to the risk of violence from persons who have a history of violent behaviour and whom workers are likely to encounter in the course of their work. The personal information provided will be the minimum required to accomplish the purpose.
  • Depending on the circumstances, appropriate steps will be taken to protect the employee(s), as far as reasonably practicable.

Where a violent situation occurs or appears likely to occur, help should be summoned by calling 911, and employees should take all reasonable steps to protect their personal safety and remove themselves from a violent situation if possible.

(b) Workplace Violence Training

NSI shall provide information, instruction and training on the factors that contribute to workplace violence and the risks of workplace violence to each employee that may be exposed to a risk of workplace violence.

NSI shall provide information, instruction and training:

  • before assigning to an employee any new activity for which a risk of workplace violence has been identified;
  • when new information on workplace violence becomes available; and
  • at least every three years.

The information, instruction and training shall include the following:

  • the nature and extent of workplace violence and how employees may be exposed to it;
  • the communication system established by NSI to inform employees about workplace violence;
  • information on what constitutes workplace violence and on the means of identifying the factors that contribute to workplace violence;
  • the workplace violence prevention measures that have been developed; and
  • NSI’s procedures for reporting on workplace violence or the risk of workplace violence.

Unless otherwise prohibited by law, in providing information, instruction and training on risks of violence, the information will include any information in NSI’s possession, including personal information, related to the risk of violence from persons who have a history of violent behaviour and whom workers are likely to encounter in the course of their work. The personal information provided will be the minimum required to accomplish the purpose.

At least once every three years, and in either of the following circumstances, NSI shall review and update, if necessary, the information, instruction and training provided:

  • when there is a change in respect of the risk of workplace violence; or
  • when new information on the risk of workplace violence becomes available.

NSI shall maintain signed records, in paper or electronic form, on the information, instruction and training provided to each employee with respect to this policy.

Annually, NSI will prepare a report that compiles the records of incidents of violence to a worker in the workplace (if any), the results of any investigation into an incident of violence, including a copy of investigation reports prepared and details of recommended and implemented control measures. This report will be provided to the workplace safety committee or health and safety representative, as the case may be.

(c) Steps to eliminate or minimize the risk of Violence

Having consulted with the entire staff, it was determined that no risks of violence could reasonably be expected to occur within the present work areas and job functions.

Future risks will be dealt with as they are identified in a risk assessment conducted in conjunction with the safety representative.

Part V – No Retaliation

Retaliation or reprisals of any kind against employees who file complaints under this policy will not be tolerated. Regardless of the outcome of a harassment or violence complaint made in good faith, retaliation or reprisals against the complainant, as well as anyone providing information in the course of investigating a complaint, is not acceptable. Complaints of retaliation and reprisal will be investigated, and those found to be engaging in retaliatory behavior will be the subject of discipline, up to and including dismissal.

Frivolous, malicious and/or deliberately false complaints will also result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Documentation of such complaints may be placed in the complainant’s personnel file.

Should more information be required about this policy, please contact David Pollock, Director of Finance (david.pollock@nsi-canada.ca) or Joy Loewen, Safety Representative (joy.loewen@nsi-canada.ca).