Arbitech will make every reasonable effort to ensure that its policies, practices, and procedures are consistent with the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity by:
The Provision of Goods and Services to Persons with Disabilities:
- Ensuring that all clients and employees receive the same value and quality; allowing persons with disabilities to do things in their own ways, at their own pace when accessing goods and services as long as this does not present a safety risk;
- Using alternative methods, when possible, to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to the same services, in the same place and in a similar manner;
- Taking into account individual needs when providing goods and services; and
- Communicating in a manner that takes into account the customer’s disability.
- The Use of Assistive Devices:
- Persons with disabilities may use their own assistive devices as required when accessing goods or services provided by Arbitech.
- In cases where the assistive device presents a safety concern or where accessibility might be an issue, other reasonable measures will be used to ensure the access of goods and services.
- Guide Dogs, Service Animals and Service Dogs:
- A customer with a disability that is accompanied by guide dog, service animal or service dog will be allowed access to premises that are open to the public unless otherwise excluded by law. “No pet” policies do not apply to guide dogs, service animals and/or service dogs.
Discrimination, Harassment, and Violence Policy
Arbitech is committed to fostering a workplace that is free of discrimination, harassment, and/or violence and one in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Everyone, Arbitech staff come into contact with has a right to equal treatment without discrimination or harassment on the basis of the following grounds:
- place of origin
- ethnic origin
- sexual orientation
- marital status
- family status
Throughout this Policy the above listed grounds will be referred to as the “prohibited grounds”. A right to freedom from discrimination and harassment is also infringed where someone is treated unequally because she/he is in a relationship, association or dealing with a person or persons identified by a prohibited ground of discrimination. Discriminatory and harassing behaviours are offensive, degrading, and illegal. Every staff person at Arbitech is responsible for creating an environment which is free of discrimination and harassment. Individuals acting on their own and/or on behalf of Arbitech can be held responsible under this Policy and in law for discriminatory and harassing acts. Those found to have engaged in such conduct based on a prohibited ground will be subject to discipline. Those found to have been harassed or discriminated against based on a prohibited ground will be entitled to a remedy.
- Arbitech’s Policy is informed and guided by the Ontario “Human Rights Code”. Discrimination and harassment as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code and Occupational Health and Safety Act are illegal and are behaviours which are considered incompatible with the standard of conduct required of Arbitech staff.
- Discrimination and harassment are in most cases an abuse of power. Arbitech recognizes that the purpose of human rights laws and policies is to assist members of groups that have been historically disadvantaged and disempowered in our society.
- All parties involved in a complaint must be treated fairly. Arbitech’s Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and Procedures are based on principles of fairness and due process for complainants and respondents. ARBITECH is committed to providing a complaints process that is fair, unbiased, and facilitative for all parties.
- Freedom of expression is not an absolute right. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.” The rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Charter are “… subject only to reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” Human rights, for example, may place limits on these freedoms.
- Freedom from workplace violence.
Arbitech’s policy has zero-tolerance policy against violence in the workplace.
Responsibility of Arbitech
It is the responsibility of Arbitech Management to exercise its authority to prevent discrimination, harassment, and violence, to penalize the repetition of occurrences, and to respond promptly to known or apparent incidents, whether or not a complaint has been filed. By law, Arbitech and its senior administrators such as directors, officers, and others with supervisory responsibility have a legal responsibility to respond promptly to known or apparent incidents, whether or not a complaint has been filed and to exercise authority to prevent and/or penalize the repetition of such behaviour. Where it is found that a senior administrator or others with supervisory responsibility knew of an incident and did not take any action to stop the behaviour, that senior administrator may be subject to penalties and remedies under this Policy and under the law.
Arbitech recognizes the importance of confidentiality to anyone making a complaint and will make every reasonable effort to balance confidentiality with the legal responsibility of the Arbitech. Arbitech staff who, by virtue of their position, are privy to information or in possession of documentation pertaining to a complaint shall hold such information in strict confidence. This shall include refraining from discussions or releasing information in any form, beyond that outlined in this Policy, in the accompanying procedures, or as required by law.
Arbitech encourages individuals to place business-related awards, certificates of achievement and photographs that are not otherwise in contravention to this policy, in their personal workspace.
Discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code and under this Policy can take one of two forms – direct or systemic (constructive).
Direct Discrimination: Direct discrimination describes an act, behaviour, or practice of treating a person unequally on the basis of any of the prohibited grounds. Direct discrimination may be overt and admitted or covert and denied.
The second form of discrimination, referred to as “constructive discrimination” in the Ontario Human Rights Code, is commonly known as systemic discrimination because it is discrimination inherent in, or the result of, the organization’s informal or formal policies, practices, or procedures. Systemic discrimination occurs where a requirement, qualification, or factor which, on its face, is not discriminatory based on a prohibited ground but which results in the exclusion, restriction or preference of a group identified by a prohibited ground of discrimination. Systemic discrimination is not found where the person responsible for the policy, practice or system is able to show that the requirement, qualification, or factor is reasonable and bona fide in the circumstances. A requirement, qualification or factor will not be found to be reasonable and bona fide unless the person or entity responsible for the policy, practice or system can demonstrate that the needs of the group of which the complainant is a member cannot be accommodated without undue hardship on the person or entity responsible for accommodating the needs. “Reasonable and bona fide” and “undue” hardship are defined in the “Definitions and Notes” at the end of this Policy.
Accommodation of Persons with Disabilities
The right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of a disability requires that Arbitech provide the necessary accommodation to enable an employee with a disability to fulfil the essential job duties as long as the employee is capable of performing and fulfilling the essential job duties, with or without accommodation, and as long as the accommodation does not pose undue hardship on ARBITECH, considering the cost and health and safety requirements, if any. The needs of a person with a disability must be accommodated in a manner which most respects the person’s dignity and which recognizes the privacy, confidentiality, comfort, autonomy, and self-esteem of persons with disabilities. The accommodation should maximize their integration and promote their full participation at Arbitech.
Harassment is normally considered to be a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours, or communications in any form based on a prohibited ground of discrimination where the person responsible for the remarks, behaviours or communications knows or ought reasonably to know that these are unwelcome.
Where harassing or discriminatory behaviours are sufficiently severe and/or pervasive and cause significant and unreasonable interference to a person’s work environment, they may be deemed as creating an intimidating, hostile and offensive work environment. A poisoned environment can interfere with and/or undermine work or academic performance and can cause emotional and psychological stress not experienced by other employees or clients. As such, it results in unequal terms and conditions of employment and prevents or impairs full and equal enjoyment of employment or services, benefits, or opportunities. Although a person may not be the target of the behaviours, a person may feel the effects of certain harassing or discriminatory behaviours at their place of work or study. Behaviours which allegedly create a hostile environment for work and/or study but which are not based on a prohibited ground of discrimination do not fall within this Policy.
Sexual Harassment, Solicitation and Reprisal
Sexual harassment is a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours, or communications of a sexually oriented nature and/or a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours or communications based on gender – where the person responsible for the remarks, behaviours or communications knows or ought reasonably to know that these are unwelcome. Sexual harassment may consist of unwanted attention of a sexually oriented nature such as personal questions about one’s sex life, persistent requests for a “date”, or unwelcome remarks about someone’s hair, body shape, etc. Sexual harassment may also consist of unwelcome remarks based on gender which are not of a sexual nature, but which are demeaning or degrading such as derogatory jokes or comments about women.
Sexual Solicitation and Reprisal
Every staff member or person entering a Arbitech office or place of business including places where Arbitech provides services, has a right to freedom from a sexual solicitation or advance made by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement, where that person knows or ought reasonably to know that such a solicitation or advance is unwelcome. Sexual solicitation or sexual advance includes an implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually oriented request made by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement. Every staff member has a right to be free from reprisal or threat of reprisal for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance, where the reprisal is made or threatened by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement.
Forms of violence:
- Attempts, to physically injury another person or to take steps that could result in physical injury whether or not the action involves a material, product, device, instrument, tool, or part of the body of the person making an attempt to injury the other person(s).
- Make oral, graphic, or written statements or gestures that a worker could interpret as a treat to physical force resulting in injury.
Freedom from Reprisal:
Every staff member Arbitech has a right to claim and enforce his or her rights under this Policy, to provide evidence and to participate in proceedings under this Policy, and the right to refuse to act in violation of this Policy without reprisal or threat of reprisal. Complaints are to be submitted to the Chief Operating Officer. Complaints are to be made in writing only. Complaints are to identify the date(s), circumstances, specific details of the accusation, and remedy sought. If there are witnesses to the event(s), written statements from the witnesses should be provided with the complaint. The respondent has the right to respond to the complaint in writing and with supporting witness statements, if available. The Chief Operating Officer will either hear or determine who will hear and assess the complaint. The objective of a remedy in cases of discrimination and harassment is two-fold.
- It aims to remedy the situation to prevent the continuation or repetition of the conduct and it aims to restore the complainant to the position she or he would have been in had the discrimination or harassment not occurred. Any remedies and/or settlements of discrimination and harassment complaints will take into consideration and address the interests of Arbitech as well as the individuals involved. There are a range of remedies and/or penalties which may be imposed. These include, but are not restricted to one or more of the following:
- A directive from the Chief Operating Officer to the respondent to cease the behaviour, with failure to do so leading to further penalty.
- Direction to the respondent and/or the complainant to attend a program of education.
- Counselling for the respondent and/or the complainant.
- A verbal or written apology to the complainant.
- Suspension for a set time with or without pay.
Time Period for Filing Complaints
A complainant must normally file a complaint of discrimination or harassment within one (1) month of the date of the alleged incident(s). ARBITECH recognizes that there may be extenuating circumstances that may prevent a formal complaint from being made within this time. Please contact the Chief Operating Officer if you believe you may need to file a complaint outside of the one-month time frame.
Right to Representation
At any interview or proceeding related to an informal complaint under this Policy, a complainant and a respondent may have present a support person(s), such as a co-worker, friend, relative or partner. Lawyers are not permitted to participate at the informal complaint stage. At any interview or proceeding related to a formal complaint or an appeal under this Policy, complainants and respondents may have present his or her agent (e.g., legal counsel), and/or a support person, such as a friend, relative or partner. The language of all complaints, responding acts and submissions, and decisions shall be English.
Separation of Complainant and Respondent
When a formal complaint is filed under this Policy, the complainant and/or the respondent may request that contact with the other party be discontinued while the complaint is being investigated and decided upon. The Chief Operating Officer decides the request for separation, taking into consideration the nature of the complaint, the feasibility of the request, and the operations of Arbitech.
This Policy applies to all staff members of Arbitech, to visitors, and to contractors. It shall be deemed to be a condition of every contract entered into by, or on behalf of Arbitech, that those contracted with will comply with this Policy and with the Ontario Human Rights Code. Breach of this condition may result in cancellation of the contract. All subcontractors to ARBITECH must comply with this Policy. Failure to comply with this Policy will result in an appropriate remedy/penalty.
Behaviours which constitute discrimination and harassment and which impact on the work environment at Arbitech are covered by this Policy whether or not they occur during normal working hours. As well, if conduct which constitutes discrimination or harassment occurs during activities out of the office such as work on site, at meetings, conferences, or social events attended on behalf of Arbitech, such conduct may be covered by this policy. Where it appears to the Chief Operating Officer that the complaint is outside of this Policy’s jurisdiction, or is one that could or should be more appropriately dealt with under another policy, act, or procedure, the Chief Operating Officer may decide not to deal with the complaint and to refer the complainant to the appropriate jurisdiction.
Trivial and Frivolous Complaints, Vexatious Complaints or Complaints Made in Bad Faith
If it appears to the Chief Operating Officer that the subject-matter of concerns or a complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith, the C.O.O. may, in his/her sole discretion, decide not to deal with the complaint. The terms “trivial”, “frivolous”, “vexatious” and “made in bad faith” are defined in Note 9 in the “Definitions and Notes” section at the end of this Policy. The decision to refuse to deal with such matters may be made at any stage of the complaint or investigative process. Any person who is found to have made a vexatious complaint or a complaint in bad faith may be subject to a range of remedies/penalties, similar to those taken when a respondent is found to have discriminated or harassed.
Alternative Avenues of Redress
Notwithstanding the existence of this Policy, every person has the right to seek assistance from other bodies such as the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the police, or the courts.
Definitions and Notes
1) Throughout this Policy:
- ‘Age’ means 18 years or more, except in the area of equal treatment in employment without discrimination where age means 18 years or more and less than 65 years.
- Because of handicap’ means for the reason that the person has or has had, or is believed to have or have had any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, including diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device.
- A condition of mental retardation or impairment.
A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language.
- A mental disorder.
- An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the Workers? Compensation Act.
- ‘Family status’ means the status of being in a parent and child relationship.
- ‘Marital status’ means the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced or separated and includes the status of living with a person in a conjugal relationship outside marriage. For the purpose of this Policy, the status of living with a person in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage includes same sex relationships.
The right to equal treatment without discrimination because of sex includes the right to equal treatment without discrimination because a woman is or may become pregnant.
With regards to sexual harassment:
Although sexual harassment and sexual solicitations and advances typically involve a female victim, both males and females can be harassed and/or solicited by members of either sex. Moreover, while sexual harassment, solicitations and advances typically involve a power differential, they may occur between equals/peers.
- Sexual assault is a crime as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada. Sexual assault is also a form of sexual harassment and will be considered such under this Policy.
- When a ARBITECH employee enters into a consensual sexual relationship with another employee where a professional power differential exists and if a complaint of sexual harassment is subsequently filed, the imbalance of power in that relationship could make it difficult to prove mutual consent.
4) The right to equal treatment without discrimination because of ethnic origin may include the right to equal treatment without discrimination on the basis of language, accent or dialect.
5) ‘Reasonable and bona fide”: The onus for showing that a requirement, qualification or factor is reasonable and bona fide in the circumstances is on the person(s) or entity (e.g. ARBITECH) responsible for the applicable policy, procedure, or system. A requirement, qualification or factor that is ‘reasonable and bona fide’ is one that is imposed honestly and in good faith, and one which is rational based on non-impressionistic and objective criteria.
6) ‘Undue hardship’: The onus of proving undue hardship is on the person or entity (e.g. Arbitech) responsible for providing the accommodation. Three factors are considered when assessing whether a requested accommodation may cause undue hardship: cost, outside sources of funding, if any, and health and safety requirements, if any. Undue hardship will be shown to exist if the financial costs that are demonstrably attributable to the accommodation of the needs of the individual, and/or the group of which the person is a member, would alter the essential nature or would substantially affect the viability of Arbitech. In most cases it is unlikely that the test for undue hardship will be met solely by demonstrating that the person or entity responsible for providing the accommodation does not have adequate funds to provide it. The availability of any grants, loans, or subsidies from any level of government or from non-government sources could offset the costs of accommodation. Undue hardship will be shown to exist where a person or entity responsible for the accommodation is subject to or has established a bona fide health or safety requirement and the person or entity has attempted to maximize the health and safety protection through alternative means which are consistent with the accommodation required, but the degree of risk which remains after the accommodation has been made outweighs the benefits of enhancing equality for the group of which the person is a member.
7) Where this Policy allows for exceptions, they are to be construed narrowly so that non-discrimination is the general rule of application and, where permitted, discrimination is the exception.
8) In implementing this Policy, Arbitech will make every reasonable effort to balance the rights of all parties with the legal responsibly of Arbitech. Individual needs and special circumstances will be taken into consideration, but in so doing, Arbitech will balance these against its obligations under this Policy and under law.
9) Trivial, Frivolous, Made in Bad Faith and Vexatious Complaints
Trivial and Frivolous Complaints
In considering whether allegations are trivial or frivolous, it is the subject matter and not the amount or nature of the remedy sought that acts as a guide for assessing the allegations. A distinction must be made between a complaint in which the subject is not trifling or not frivolous, but where the possible remedy may be a limited one, and a complaint in which the subject matter itself is trifling. Only the latter type of complaint should be dealt with as trivial or frivolous. A trivial complaint is one in which there is a technical breach of the Policy but the impact of the breach is of such a trivial nature that continued involvement of the Chief Operating Officer is not warranted. A frivolous complaint is one which is clearly insufficient on its face, and one in which the complainant alleges the Policy has been breached but the evidence does not in any way bear this out. It is one which may be perfectly true in its allegations, but yet is liable to be dismissed because it is totally insufficient in substance.
Made in Bad Faith and Vexatious Complaints
A complaint made in bad faith is one that is known by the complainant to be false and/or one in which a complaint is made for a purpose other than gaining a satisfactory remedy. A vexatious complaint is one instituted maliciously and without probable cause and/or one which is not based on reasonable factual ground but is merely vindictive. In determining whether a complaint is vexatious or made in bad faith, one considers the knowledge and intention of the complainant. If the complainant is merely bringing the complaint to annoy or embarrass the respondent and knows that there is no discrimination or harassment, then it can be said that the complaint is vexatious or made in bad faith.
Definitions 1) a-d and 2) are adapted from the Ontario Human Rights Code.
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