Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedure
NOTE: Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts shall heretofore be written as VADA for the purposes of this policy.
WHAT CONSTITUTES HARASSMENT
Harassment is any behaviour that demeans, humiliates, or embarrasses a person, and that a reasonable person should have known would be unwelcome. It includes actions, comments, or displays. It may be a single incident or continue over time.
Some example of harassment include:
- unwelcome remarks, slurs, jokes, taunts or suggestions about a person’s body, clothing, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, pardoned conviction, or other personal characteristics;
- unwelcome sexual remarks, invitations, or requests (including persistent, unwanted contact after the end of a sexual relationship);
- displays of sexually explicit, sexist, racist, or other offensive or derogatory material;
- written or verbal abuse or threats;
- practical jokes that embarrass or insult someone;
- leering (suggestive staring) or other offensive gestures;
- unwelcome physical contact, such as patting, touching, pinching, hitting;
- patronizing or condescending behaviour;
- humiliating an employee in front of co-workers;
- abuse of authority that undermines someone’s performance or threatens her or his career;
- vandalism of personal property; and/or
- physical or sexual assault
The Canadian Human Rights Act protects employees and clients from harassment that is related to their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status, family status, disability, pardoned conviction, or sexual orientation.
Disrespectful behaviour, known as “personal” harassment, is also covered in this policy. While it also involves unwelcome behaviour that demeans or embarrasses an employee, the behaviour is not based on one of the protected grounds named above.
Harassment can take place between co-workers, between a manager and employee, between people of the opposite sex or of the same sex, between an employee and a client, or between an employee and a job applicant.
WHAT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE HARASSMENT
Consensual banter or romantic relationships, where the people involved agree with what’s happening, are not harassment. Appropriate performance reviews, counseling, or discipline by a supervisor or manager are not harassment.
WHERE HARASSMENT CAN OCCUR
Work or school-related harassment can take place in the studio itself, or outside of the studio in a situation that is in some way connected to work/school. For example, employees (and students) must be protected from harassment during off-site performances, business trips, and any other event or place related to VADA or when the employee or student is present in relation to VADA.
- Speak up
If you believe you are being harassed, speak up right away. If possible, tell the person that you are not comfortable with their behaviour, and want it to stop. Usually, that will be all you need to do. You can speak to them directly, or write them a letter (date it and keep a copy). In addition, tell someone you trust what is going on.
- Keep notes
Record all unwelcome or harassing behaviour. Write down what has happened, when, where, how often, who else was present, and how you felt about it. Write down every instance of harassment.
- Report it
If the harassing behaviour occurs again, or if you are unable to deal directly with the person harassing you, report it to the person designated to receive complaints.
- Informal procedures
You may want to proceed informally at first. This means you can ask the designated person to help you communicate with the other person, or to speak to them on your behalf, without going through actual mediation or a formal complaint. The informal approach may not always be possible resolve the situation quickly.
It may be appropriate to attempt to resolve the complaint through mediation before going to a formal investigation. If a qualified person from outside the organization is available to act as a mediator, and the complainant and alleged harasser agree, that person will attempt to help the parties settle the complaint. If no one is available, the designated person may help settle the complaint, if the parties agree. The mediator should not be involved in investigating the complaint, and should not be asked to represent the company at any stage of any proceedings related to the complaint.However, either party has the right to refuse mediation. You are the only one who can decide if mediation is appropriate for you. Do not agree to it if you feel pressured into it, or feel that you are at a disadvantage or vulnerable because of your age, sex, race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, economic position, or for any other reason. If someone suggests mediation but you are uncomfortable with it, you can say so, and it will not be part of the complaint process. If mediation does become part of the process, each person has the right to be accompanied and assisted during mediation sessions by someone they choose.
- The Investigation
If you want to go ahead with a formal complaint, it will be investigated, either by a specially trained person from within the organization or a consultant. This person will investigate the complaint thoroughly. He or she will interview the complainant, the alleged harasser, and any witnesses. All employees have a responsibility to co-operate in the investigation.Both you and the alleged harasser have the right to be accompanied by someone with whom you feel comfortable during any interviews or meetings.An investigation will involve:
- getting all pertinent information from the complainant
- informing the alleged harasser of the details of the complaint, and getting her or his response
- interviewing any witnesses;
- deciding whether, on a balance of probabilities, the harassment did take place; and,
- recommending appropriate remedies, penalties, or other action
- Substantiated complaints
If the investigator decides the complaint is valid, he or she will report in writing to the Director, ideally within a week of completing the investigation. The investigator will recommend appropriate remedies and disciplinary action, and any other necessary action. The Director will decide what action to take, and will inform both parties of the decision, in writing, ideally within a week of the report being submitted.
- Remedies for the Victim
Remedies for a person who has been harassed will include any of the following, depending on the nature and severity of the harassment:
- an oral or written apology from the harasser and VADA;
- compensation for any lost wages;
- a job or promotion that was denied;
- compensation for any lost employment benefits, such as sick leave; and/or
- compensation for hurt feelings
- Corrective action for harassers
Corrective action for harassers will include any of the following, depending on the nature and severity of the harassment:
- a written reprimand;
- a fine;
- a suspension, with or without pay; or
- a dismissal
Harassers may also be obliged to attend an anti-harassment training session.