Office of the Ombudsperson

OFFICE OF THE

University Ombudsman

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Harassment/Discrimination

Any student, faculty, or staff member concerned about a harassment or discrimination issue should contact the Queen’s Human Rights Office. The Human Rights Office's Advisory Service is a confidential service that assists individuals or groups at Queen's who wish to pursue informal or formal routes of complaint resolution following an incident of harassment or discrimination. A student, faculty, or staff member looking for assistance for the purpose of responding to a complaint made against him or her may contact the University Ombudsman.

Queen’s University has a Senate Harassment/Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure which was designed to reflect the University’s obligations under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. Queen's recognizes that all members of the University community have the right to be free from harassment and discrimination. This includes sexual harassment, harassment based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, creed and sexual orientation or analogous grounds. Such harassment and discrimination has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's or a group's work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working, living or academic environment.

Implicit in the duty not to harass or discriminate is a positive duty to accommodate. That duty includes a responsibility on the part of all supervisors, both academic and staff, to strive to create an environment free of harassment and discrimination in their area of responsibility. Supervisors will not condone or ignore activities within their areas of responsibility which violate the rights of students, faculty or staff. Individuals or groups who are not the direct target of the conduct in question may also suffer harassment and discrimination as a result of being present when such conduct takes place.

Among the various services offered by the Human Rights Office, it provides support for individuals and groups who are the targets of harassment and discrimination. A centralized procedure exists, in part, to prevent harassment and discrimination by educating members of the University community as to what constitutes such behaviour. Thus, the emphasis is on informal resolution, using facilitation/negotiation, except where the nature of the matter necessitates a more formal process.

"‘Harassment’ means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome” (Human Rights Code R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 10.1).

Ontario's Human Rights Code prohibits workplace and sexual harassment in employment. The employer not only has a duty to provide a working environment that is free from harassment and discrimination; it must also deal effectively and efficiently with any allegation of harassment of which it is, or should be, aware.”[(1) Kathryn J. Filsinger, Employment Law for Business and Human Resources Professionals, 2d ed. (Toronto: Emund Montgomery 2010) at 142.]

Freedom from Discrimination

“Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability. (Human Rights Code R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 1). 

 

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