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Harassment & Violence Policy

As accepted at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting – April 14, 2021

Employees, officers, and members of the Canadian Media Guild have the right to expect a working atmosphere free of workplace harassment and violence.

This policy pertains to the CMG working environment and applies to anyone acting in a capacity as CMG representative or officer. It also pertains to employees victimized by a third party. This includes physical locations as well as other situations such as Christmas parties, work related travel, virtual and social media platforms, wherever work is being performed for CMG.  It is not applicable to members who may encounter harassment or violence at workplaces covered by CMG collective agreements.

Workplace harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome or workplace sexual harassment. Workplace sexual harassment means:

a)  A complaint must be filed within one year of the alleged contravention.

b)  If a continuing contravention is alleged in a complaint, the complaint must be filed within one year of the last alleged instance of the contravention.

In practical terms, this could include, but is not limited to:

–  making remarks, jokes or innuendos that demean, ridicule, intimidate or offend.

–  displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials in print or electronic form

–  bullying

–  repeated offensive or intimidating phone calls, text messages or emails

The normal exercise of management rights, in particular, the right to assign tasks and the right to reprimand or impose discipline under the terms of the agreement, are not defined as harassment.

It is a discriminatory practice, in matters related to employment, to harass an individual on any of the following prohibited grounds of discrimination: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, marital status, family status, disability, or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted. It includes any comment or conduct based on the grounds listed above, that offends or humiliates. Discrimination on the basis of childbirth and pregnancy is covered under the category – sex.

Workplace violence is defined as the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker. It also includes an: 

–  attempt to exercise physical force against a worker in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker; and a statement or behaviour that a worker could reasonably interpret as a threat to

–  exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker 

Examples could include but are not limited to:

–  verbally threatening to attack a worker;

–  leaving threatening notes at or sending threatening emails to a workplace;

–  shaking a fist in a worker’s face;

–  wielding a weapon at work;

–  hitting or trying to hit a worker;

–  throwing an object at a worker;

–  sexual violence against a worker;

–  kicking an object, the worker is standing on, such as a ladder; or

–  trying to run down a worker using a vehicle

If a person believes they are being harassed or a victim or workplace violence, the first step is to make the offender aware, where possible, that such behaviour is unwelcome and must stop immediately. If the conduct does not cease, and the parties have taken all reasonable steps to resolve the issue in good faith, the next step is to file a complaint.

The Complaint Form of the Canadian Media Guild should be filed with the President of the CMG as well as the CMG Shop Steward in Toronto. In cases where this is impossible or impractical due to the nature of the complaint, this pertains to complaints where there is a bias or reasonable perception of bias or conflict of interest related to the President or Executive Director (whoever is processing the complaint), a complaint may be filed with a member of the Management Committee and the CMG Shop Steward in Toronto.

When such a complaint is received, the CMG will appoint a competent investigator (HR Consultant) to review the complaint.  Should it be determined that an investigation be required, it will include interviewing the complainant, the alleged offender, and anyone else who may have relevant information. For this process to be effective, it is important to have an accurate record of the offensive conduct including the date, time, and place it occurred.  The following timeline for filing a complaint is congruent to the time limits in the Human Rights legislation. 

A complaint must be filed within one year of the alleged contravention.
If a continuing contravention is alleged in a complaint, the complaint must be filed within one year of the last alleged instance of the contravention.
If a complaint is filed after the expiration of the time limit referred to in subsection (1) or (2), a member or panel may accept all or part of the complaint if the member or panel determines that
it is in the public interest to accept the complaint, and
no substantial prejudice will result to any person because of the delay.

Once the CMG is made aware of a complaint under the policy that they have an obligation to investigate even if the person who raised the complaint does not wish to proceed.  Updates will be provided on a monthly basis to both parties until the investigation has concluded.  Complainants and respondents to a complaint should not discuss the complaint with anyone else other than their legal or union representatives.

The confidentiality of complaints is paramount to all stakeholders at the CMG. Confidential data including witnesses, and information provided to investigators must be upheld throughout the investigation process. The CMG will treat any breach of confidentiality with disciplinary action and/or sanctions as required. The CMG has an obligation to implement corrective measures in response to the investigation report. 

Misusing the policy as a method of retaliation against a co-worker or manager, or as a way to deflect from other workplace behaviour or filing vexatious or frivolous complaints qualify as a violation of the policy.

If harassment or workplace violence is proved to the satisfaction of those conducting the investigation, the results shall be placed before the NEC for disposition. Discipline may include but is not restricted to suspension or discharge in the case of an employee as per Article 8 of the CMGEU/CMG collective agreement, and removal from office in the case of an officer of the Guild, in accordance with both the TNG-CWA constitution and the CWA constitution.

Additional support will be provided for employees who have experienced workplace harassment and violence.

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