Equity and Human Rights

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this policy apply to me? 

The Non-Discrimination/Harassment policy applies to all members of the University community in their interaction with other members of the University community.  Members of the University community include: faculty, clinicians, post-doctoral scholars, undergraduate and graduate students, learners/trainees, volunteers and other individuals who work or study at the University.

What are my responsibilities relating to this policy?

As a member of the University community you share responsibility for ensuring and promoting a safe and respectful working and learning environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. 

Additionally, you have the responsibility to bring any concerns of harassment or discrimination that you experience, witness or learn about to the attention of Equity & Human Rights Services. 

What is HARASSMENT? 

Harassment is defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. Harassment may be related to one or more of the grounds protected by the Human Rights Code: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.  It may also be unrelated to a human rights ground but be conduct and/or behaviours which create an intimidating, demeaning or hostile working or academic environment.

What is DISCRIMINATION?

Discrimination is defined as distinction, intentional or not, based on a prohibited ground, which has the effect of imposing burdens, obligations, or disadvantages on an individual or group not imposed on others, or which withholds or limits access to opportunities, benefits, and advantages available to other members of society. The prohibited grounds are race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.  Harassment is considered a form of discrimination (based on human rights grounds). 

What is Workplace Harassment (as provided for under Bill 168)?

Bill 168 amended Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) as of June 2010 and included “workplace harassment” as an occupational health and safety matter.  Workplace harassment shares the same definition as human-rights based harassment (i.e., a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcomed) but limits application to “workers in a workplace”. Western’s policy, however, extends protection from workplace, or personal, harassment to all University members – including students (who are not necessarily “workers”). 

In order to comply with Bill 168’s provisions relating to workplace harassment, Western must:

* for more information about workplace violence and the OHSA requirements, please consult Campus Police - http://www.uwo.ca/police/ or the Ministry of Labour’s resources on "Bill 168": http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/pubs/fs_workplaceviolence.php). Western also developed comprehensive training on Bill 168 which is available through this link to the Safe Campus Community online training.

Both workplace violence and workplace harassment programs must include measures and procedures for workers to report incidents of workplace violence/harassment and set out how the employer will investigate and deal with incidents or complaints.

Equity & Human Rights Services (x83334) provides advice and support to any member seeking information about how to report incidents and how Western will investigate or deal with the concerns. 

How do I know if the issue brought forward to me is harassment?

Where an individual is describing behaviour that appears to be having a negative impact on him or herself, or another University member, you should seek assistance from EHRS.  You need not be certain that the behaviour “fits” within the definition of harassment.  EHRS will help in assessing the issue and ensure that proper referrals and support are provided.  Western’s Equity & Human Rights Services may be reached at 519-661-3334 or equity@uwo.ca

What do I do if the issue presents as "harassment" but, I am concerned that it also may be a threat to physical safety, violence or domestic violence in the workplace or academic environment?

If the issue might reasonably be interpreted as a threat to the safety of any member of the campus community, or if you become aware that any member of the campus community is a victim or perpetrator of violence, including domestic violence, you must report this information to the Campus Community Police Services (ext. 83300) or call 911, in an emergency.  More information is available in the Safe Campus Community policy at:http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/mapp/section1/mapp146.pdf.