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Queen's University
 

Inadequate Response for Complainant

Bottom Line

Employers must ensure that the environment is harassment-free after responding to a complaint. 

Workplace Harassment

In Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Local 206 v Hosptial Lab, the complainant was a social worker who filed a complaint against her supervisor for workplace harassment.

Response

The Employer conducted an investigation and found that the supervisor had not harassed the employer.  However, it took measures to help the complainant; it transferred her  to another unit (away from the alleged harasser) and then assisted her in devising a professional development plan, the completion of which led to a good position in the institution. Unsatisfied with the results of the investigation,  the complainant filed a grievance.

Ruling

The Arbitrator decided not to try the case. It reasoned that even if the investigation had been faulty and there had been harassment, the actions taken by the employer had remedied that situation for the complainant. There was therefore no reason to hear the grievance.  However it did underscore that this was not a precedent. Remedial action taken by the employer, including financial redress, does not automatically mean that the employer will avoid adjudication or that it will render the issue moot.    It is necessary for the employer to follow through- ensuring that the environment is harassment-free for the complainant and her former coworkers.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000