ACA-R-2: Multiculturalism and Anti-racism

A: Foundations and Basic Commitments

Procedures for Dealing with Racial, Ethno-Cultural and/or Religious Harassment

The Board of School Trustees (the "Board") recognizes that every individual should be treated with respect and dignity and, accordingly, has the right to be free from harassment in our schools and workplaces. A positive, welcoming work and learning environment protects and promotes the self-esteem worth and human rights of every person; it further supports mutual respect and co-operation among individuals. Racial, ethno-cultural or religious harassment in any form is unacceptable. The Board is committed to supporting an environment free from racial, ethno-cultural or religious harassment for all employees.

Racial, ethno-cultural and religious harassment is defined as any behaviour, conduct or material that a reasonable person ought to know is demeaning, offensive or disrespectful towards a person's racial, ethno-cultural or religious background. Such behaviour has a negative effect on the learning environment and workplace. The Board is committed to creating and maintaining workplaces and schools free from harassment.

Some examples of racial, ethno-cultural and religious harassment may include but are not limited to:

Ÿ         behaviour, remarks, comments or physical contact that are unwelcome and offensive;

Ÿ         jokes and humour that are demeaning or disrespectful;

Ÿ         racist, ethnic or religious name calling;

Ÿ         discriminatory or differential treatment due to one's race, ethno-cultural background or religion that may have adverse impact on that individual;

Ÿ         display of materials, posters, photographs, electronic media and other paraphernalia that is derogatory or is offensive towards a group because of their race, religion or ethno-cultural background. 

Procedures for Eliminating Harassment

These procedures take into consideration the following principles:

Ÿ         harassment is a sensitive issue; therefore, the complainant may find it difficult to tell someone about their concerns;

Ÿ         everyone involved in a harassment investigation should feel they are being treated in a fair and impartial manner;

Ÿ         a complaint made in a malicious and/or vexatious manner is considered to be unacceptable under the policy on harassment;

Ÿ         harassment may constitute criminal activity;

Ÿ         the ultimate goal of these procedures is resolution.

Those who feel that they may have been or are being, subject to harassment are encouraged to make their concerns known to someone they trust or with whom they feel most comfortable. The following procedures are open to employees who feel they have been harassed. The Board's process does not preclude employees from taking their complaint to their union or association. One can also make a complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Commission.

Those who feel that they may have been or are being, subject to harassment may contact one of the following individuals:

Ÿ         harassment officer(s) designated by the Board;

Ÿ         an administrator, supervisor/manager; and/or

Ÿ         a union/association representative.

The complainant is urged to make a complaint with one of the above individuals with whom he or she feels most comfortable. It is understood that, in some cases, it may not be appropriate to make the complaint to your immediate administrator/supervisor/manager.

Confidentiality will be maintained, on a need-to-know basis, throughout the informal and formal procedures of resolution, as well as the appeal procedure.

Complaints Procedure: Informal Resolution

Ÿ         The Complainant may choose to speak directly with the Respondent.

Ÿ         The Complainant may approach the Personnel Officer - Harassment and their administrative officer/supervisor for assistance with resolution. The Complainant may also wish to contact their union/association representative.

Ÿ         The Personnel Officer - Harassment may determine that a mediator be assigned for resolution rather than the administrative officer/supervisor or if the administrative officer/supervisor was not able to achieve resolution agreeable to both parties.

Ÿ         The administrative officer or supervisor will initiate the informal resolution process. The purpose of this process is to resolve the complaint between the Complainant and Respondent. It is not the purpose of the informal resolution process to determine whether harassment did occur.

Ÿ         Upon agreement of resolution, a letter of completion of the process will be agreed to by both parties. The letter will be retained by the Personnel Officer - Harassment.

Failing resolution through the informal process or if the agreement for resolution has been breached, the Complainant may file a written complaint with the Personnel Officer - Harassment.

Formal Resolution

1.        The Complainant must make a written complaint to the Personnel Officer - Harassment. The written document should identify the basis of the complaint and outline the specific incident(s).

2.        The Complainant and the Personnel Officer - Harassment or designate, will meet to discuss the allegation of harassment and will outline the investigative procedure. The Complainant may choose to resolve or drop the complaint at any time during this procedure.

3.        The Personnel Officer - Harassment will notify the Respondent in writing regarding the specifics of the complaint. 

4.        The investigation will be conducted by the Personnel Officer – Harassment or designate or by an external investigator.

5.        The Complainant and Respondent will be interviewed without unreasonable delay. Other individuals who may assist in the investigation will also be interviewed. All information will be kept confidential.

            [The applicable provisions of collective agreements pertaining to the right to union or association representation, the right to notice of investigation and any other provisions relating to investigations will be followed by the individual conducting the investigation].

6.        Once the investigation is complete, the individual conducting the investigation will submit an investigative report to the Personnel Administrator. The report will indicate whether harassment has occurred and is substantiated.

7.        The Personnel Administrator will meet separately with the Complainant and Respondent to disclose the findings of the report.

8.        If the investigation concludes that harassment did not occur and cannot be substantiated, no documentation concerning the complaint will be placed in the personnel file of the Respondent. No documentation will be placed in the personnel file of the Complainant where the complaint is made in good faith. If it is found that a complaint has been made maliciously or vexatiously, appropriate disciplinary action may be pursued.

9.        If the investigation concludes that harassment did occur, the Personnel Administrator will determine the appropriate remedy or disciplinary action. Documentation concerning discipline will be placed in the Respondent's personnel file.

10.      Retaliation because of a harassment complaint will be treated seriously and may lead to disciplinary action (Appeal Procedure).

11.      If the Complainant or the Respondent is not satisfied with the remedy of the complaint, they may complete a harassment appeal form that is to be submitted to the Associate Superintendent (Human Resources). This form must be received within ten (10) working days from the meeting with the Personnel Administrator.

12.      The Associate Superintendent - Human Resources will review the investigative process, assess the investigative report and determine the remedy. After completing the review, the Associate Superintendent - Human Resources will then determine what, if any, action is required to resolve the appeal.

The Board believes that the best environment for working and learning is an environment that welcomes people of diverse backgrounds. These procedures are designed to ensure that our schools and workplaces are free from harassment and are places where people are treated with respect and dignity. Accordingly, the Board will make every reasonable effort to ensure that its Procedures for Dealing with Racial, Ethno-cultural and Religious Harassment is communicated to all employees of the Board.

SMT Responsibility: AS-LS

Cross References: 
GBCBA-R: Sexual Harassment
Adopted Date: 
Monday October 07, 1996
Revision Date: 
May 1999
Apr 2011