Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace?

As a QUFA member, you have the right to be free from harassment, discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. Both the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code recognize the adverse impact inappropriate behavior can have on your health, sense of self-worth and dignity.

The University has the legal responsibility to prevent and address complaints of harassment.  QUFA has the obligation to represent both members who experience harassment and those who are respondents to a harassment complaint.

If you are a Complainant

The best way you can seek and obtain a meaningful remedy, including monetary compensation for any general or personal damages, is through the grievance process.   In the alternative, if you are alleging a breach of the Ontario Human Rights Code, you can elect to file a complaint directly with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. However, it is important to note you must elect one forum. If you elect to pursue the matter at the Tribunal, you are deemed to have waived your right to grieve.

Should you experience harassment or discrimination in the workplace, it is important to contact QUFA immediately. QUFA staff can explain the pros and cons of the two forums, and ensure you understand the timelines and possible outcomes of each option. Should you elect to pursue a grievance against the University, the QUFA Grievance Officer will represent your interests throughout the process

If you are a Respondent

The law requires the University to take all allegations of harassment seriously, and to investigate each allegation.  Article 20.3 of the Collective Agreement sets out the procedural obligations of the University in the investigative process.  If you are a respondent to an allegation of harassment, you should contact the QUFA office.  QUFA staff will advise you of your rights under the Collective Agreement, accompany you at meetings with the University at your request, and direct you to the benefits in place for you to access during this stressful time.

Future Changes to the C.A.

QUFA and the University are currently reviewing the rights and obligations of the parties under Article 20 and 21.  Substantive changes, if any, will be reported in this column.

Peggy Smith
QUFA Grievance Officer