Effective Date: * October 31st, 2017
References: Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19; Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.; Section 6.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct (“Sexual Harassment”); Section 6.3.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct (“Discrimination”); Section 33, Law Society Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.8; Guide to developing human rights policies and procedures (OHRC, revised 2013)
Tamir Litigation Law Firm (“the Firm”) is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination and harassment, where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, can contribute fully, and have equal opportunities. The purpose of this policy is: to identify types of behaviour prohibited by this Policy, to provide procedures to follow when complaints of discrimination or harassment made by partners or employees of the Firm arise, to ensure that all partners and employees of the Firm are aware that harassment and discrimination are unacceptable practices incompatible with our company standards, and a violation of the law; to ensure that all partners and employees of the Firm recognize that under the Rules of Professional Conduct (section 6.3.1-1), a licensee has a special responsibility to respect the requirements of human rights laws in Ontario and:
“To honour the obligation not to discriminate on the grounds in the Ontario Human Rights Code), with respect to professional employment of other lawyers, articled students, or any other person or in professional dealings with other licensees or any other person.”
This Policy applies at every level of the Firm, and extends to all partners, employees (including full-time, part-time, temporary, probationary, casual and contract staff) and students; applies to every aspect of the employment relationship, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfers, training, salaries, benefits, discipline and performance appraisals; applies to the physical offices of the Firm, extends outside of the offices of the Firm (such as off-site client meetings, business travel, firm-sanctioned social events and to electronic communications).
The Firm upholds and supports the right to equal treatment without discrimination or harassment. Discrimination and harassment are prohibited by sections 5(1) and 5(2) of the Human Rights Code. This Policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of the following grounds, and any combination of these grounds:
Age, Creed (includes religion), Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)*, Gender Identity* and Gender Expression*, Sexual Orientation*, Family status (such as a parent-child relationship), Marital status (including the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced, separated, or living in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage, whether in a same sex or opposite sex relationship)Disability (including mental, physical, developmental or learning disabilities), Race, Ancestry, Place of origin, Ethnic origin, Citizenship, Colour, Record of offences (criminal conviction for a provincial offence, or for an offence for which a pardon has been received) (applies to employment only), Association or relationship with a person identified by one of the above grounds, Perception that one of the above grounds applies.
Anyone at the Firm found to have engaged in conduct constituting Code-based discrimination and/or harassment may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Discrimination and harassment are defined as follows.
Discrimination: Refers to any form of unequal treatment based on a Code ground, whether imposing extra burdens or denying benefits. It may be intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are discriminatory on their face, or it may involve rules, practices or procedures that appear neutral, but have the effect of disadvantaging certain groups of people. Discrimination may take obvious forms, or it may occur in very subtle ways. In any case, even if there are many factors affecting a decision or action, if discrimination is one factor, that is a violation of this policy.
Harassment: Section 10(1) of the Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19 defines this as:
“engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It is directed at a person who identifies with the Code grounds listed above. It can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning, or unwelcome. According to this definition of harassment, more than one event, or a of vexatious comment or conduct must take place for there to be a violation of the Code. However, one incident could be significant or substantial enough to be interpreted as harassment.”
In fact, Rule 6.3-0 of the Rules of Professional Conduct explicitly state that sexual harassment is one incident or a series of incidents involving unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
REPORTING WORKPLACE HARASSMENT
This section outlines reporting workplace harassment for Human Rights Code-Based Discrimination and/or Harassment (For Other Workplace Harassment, including Sexual Harassment, see “Workplace Harassment Policy” Below). The Firm encourages the reporting of all incidents of harassment and discrimination, regardless of who the alleged offender(s) might be. All employees have a right to freedom from reprisals or threat of reprisals for refusing to accept harassment in any form, for making a formal complaint or cooperating in an investigation.
How to Report Workplace Harassment
Partners or employees can report incidents or complaints of Code-based discrimination and/or harassment verbally or in writing. The report of the allegation(s) should include the following information:
a) Name(s) of the person who has allegedly experienced Code-based discrimination and/or harassment and contact information;
b) Name of (any) alleged harasser(s), position and contact information (if known);
c) Names of the witness(es) (if any) or other person(s) with relevant information to provide and contact information (if known);
d) Details of what happened including date(s), frequency and location(s) of the alleged incident(s) a. Any supporting documents the person who complains of Code-based discrimination and/or harassment may have in his/her possession that are relevant to the complaint;
e) List any documents a witness or another person may have in their possession that are relevant to the complaint.
The Firm is committed to investigate all reports of workplace harassment in a timely manner.
Results of the Investigation:
Within 10 days of the investigation being completed, the employee or person who allegedly experienced the workplace harassment and the alleged harasser, if he or she is an employee of the Firm, will be informed in writing of the results of the investigation and any corrective action taken or that will be taken by the Firm to address workplace harassment.
Information about complaints and incidents shall be kept confidential to the extent possible. Information obtained about an incident or complaint of workplace harassment, including identifying information about any individuals involved, will not be disclosed unless disclosure is necessary to protect employees, to investigate the complaint or incident, to take corrective action or otherwise as required by law.While the investigation is on-going, the person who has allegedly experienced harassment, the alleged harasser(s) and any witnesses should not to discuss the incident or complaint or the investigation with each other or other employees or witnesses unless necessary to obtain advice about their rights. The investigator may discuss the investigation and disclose the incident or complaint-related information only as necessary to conduct the investigation.
It may be necessary to take interim measures during the investigation, including having persons involved in the investigation to move workstations, or in the case of serious allegations, remain off work. If the investigator(s) conclude that the harassment occurred, the harasser may be disciplined, up to and including termination of employment.
The Firm will keep records of the investigation including:a) a copy of the complaint or details about the incident;b) a record of the investigation including notes; c) a copy of the investigation report (if any); d) a summary of the results of the investigation that was provided to the employee or partner who allegedly experienced the workplace harassment and the alleged harasser, if a partner or employee of the Firm; e) a copy of any corrective action taken to address the complaint or incident of workplace harassment.
All records of the investigation will be kept confidential. The investigation documents, including this report should not be disclosed unless necessary to investigate an incident or complaint of workplace harassment, take corrective action or otherwise as required by law. Records will be kept for a minimum of one year after the conclusion of the investigation. No one is to be penalized or disciplined for reporting an incident or for participating in an investigation involving workplace harassment.