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What is Harassment

Harassment is understood as engagement in conduct (including innuendo), based on a human rights ground protected in this Statement, that is abusive, demeaning, threatening, vexatious or intimidating or involves the misuse of authority or power that exceeds the bounds of freedom of expression or academic freedom.

Harassment can be a single, serious incident or a series of related, repeated incidents. It can range from written or spoken comments to physical or sexual assault. It may be accompanied by threats or promises regarding work or study opportunities and conditions as a means of coercing you to accept the harassment.. Harassment involves an abuse of actual or perceived power.

Harassment is measured by the impact of the behaviour, rather than the intent of the harasser.

Examples of Harassment

  • Making repeated suggestive or derogatory comments, jokes, or gestures about someone’s race, gender, place of origin, age, religion etc. This can include comments indirectly related to the person’s group membership, such as commnents about ethnic food, body shape or appearance, derogatory slang.
  • Unwelcome staring, or advances, or persistent, unwanted contact such as repeated requests to meet or talk, or even refusing to accept that a consensual relationship has ended by following, phoning, watching, etc. (This conduct can be so severe as to constitute stalking, which is is a criminal act.)
  • Displaying or distributing racist, sexist or homophobic graffiti, cartoons, posters, email, screen-savers, etc.
  • Ridiculing or mimicking a person’s accent or speech impediment

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Impact and Consequences

The impact of harassment on both harassers and harassed persons can be severe. It can harm them physically, emotionally, economically, and socially. It can adversely affect careers and academic performance.

Engaging in harassing behaviour can result in disciplinary action. This action may include, but is not limited to, reprimand, relocation, suspension, expulsion and dismissal.

Carleton’s Discrimination and Harassment Policies

Carleton’s Discrimination and Harassment Policies protects all Carleton staff, students and faculty from discrimination and harassment that comes under the 17 prohibited grounds.

The Policy offers both formal and informal procedures for handling complaints. Wherever possible, complaints are managed using the informal process. Equity Advisors are advocates for the Policy; they do not act as advocates for the complainants or the respondents.

Harassing, unfair or threatening behaviour that do not involve any of the 17 grounds of prohibited discrimination are not covered by the Carleton Discrimination and Harassment Policies. Such behaviour , including personal harassment, and bullying should be addressed with a manager, dean, union representative, CUSA, GSA representative, or Human Resources. Although these concerns do not fall under the Policy, Equity Services provides information about available services.

Personal Harassment and Bullying

Discriminatory, harassing, unfair or threatening behaviour that do not involve any of the 17 grounds of prohibited discrimination are not covered by the Carleton Discrimination and Harassment Policies. Such behaviour, including personal harassment, and bullying should be addressed with a manager, dean, union representative, CUSA, GSA representative, or Human Resources. Although these concerns do not fall under the Policy, Equity Services provides information about available services.

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If You Are Being Harassed…

Don’t Pretend That It Isn’t Happening
Harassment is unlikely to go away if you ignore it. In fact, harassing behaviour may escalate when harassers feel they can get away with it.

Seek Advice
Talk to people who have expertise or experience and can offer constructive advice and support. Speak with your supervisor, the Administrative Head of your unit, or call Equity Services (520-5622) for information and advice.

If you believe you or others are in physical danger, immediately contact Security at 4444.

Take Action
The most effective way to stop harassment is to confront it immediately and directly. If it is safe to do so, clearly and firmly tell the person who is harassing you to stop. Describe the way you expect to be treated. This communication can take many forms, including a warning delivered in person or in writing.

If saying ‘no’ does not stop the offensive behaviour, or if you cannot say ‘no’ because you fear the consequences (for your grades, references, a promotion), it is time to seek help. Call Equity Services at 520-5622.

Keep Records
Do not rely on your memory. Carefully records the details of the harassment as soon as it occurs (dates, times, locations, witnesses, what was said and your response, etc.). Record any attempts to tell the person that the behaviour is unwelcomed. Keep all letters, gifts, emails, answering machine messages etc. that you receive.

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If You Are Accused of Harassment…

Take the Accusation Seriously
If someone complains to you that your actions or comments are unwelcome, offensive or harassing, listen closely. Remember that people with different values or backgrounds may experience as humiliating, threatening, or insulting what you intended to be funny or harmless. Remember also that your body language and tone of voice contributes to the impact of your words and actions.

If you believe the complaint is fair, you may want to apologize for the discomfort or offence you caused.

Avoid Retaliation
Do not act in ways that could be seen as “getting back” at the complainant. Avoid any behaviour that could embarrass or intimidate the person you have allegedly harassed.

Review Your Rights and Seek Advice

Contact Equity Services for information and advice. You may wish to seek support and assistance from your manager, dean , union representative , or CUSA or GSA representative. Read the Carleton University Human Rights Policies and Procedures (available on the web) to learn about the rights and responsibilities of complainants and respondents, as well as the formal procedures for complaint resolution.

Ways to Help Prevent Harassment

Everyone can help improve the work and study environment at Carleton by showing respect for people.

You can help by

  • Objecting to harassment when you see or experience it. Don’t ignore or condone harassing behaviour in others
  • Accepting that NO means NO. Persistent unwelcomed romantic or sexual advances can constitute harassment
  • Refusing to go along with harassment disguised as humour or academic debateChoosing not to share jokes or to make comments of a discriminatory nature
  • Ensuring that your behaviour is welcome. Ask for clarification if it happens that your actions are not wanted
  • Encouraging diversity and inclusivity in work and study environments
  • Being aware that cultures different from your own may interpret actions differently than you do
  • Not using power positions to initiate romantic or sexual relations
  • Offering support and resources to anyone experiencing harassment

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Role of Equity Services

Carleton’s Equity Services works to prevent discrimination and harassment on campus. We provide informal and formal procedures for handling complaints, offer education on a wide variety of human rights and diversity issues and coordinate Carleton University’s employment and educational equity programs.

If you are a Carleton student, staff or faculty member who is experiencing discrimination and harassment on campus or who is accused of engaging in it, you can turn to our Equity Advisors for assistance. We are here to listen and ask questions help you assess your situation and evaluate possible solutions.

Confidentiality

Equity Services believes that individuals must be able to discuss concerns in a safe and private environment. We endeavour to respect confidentiality and seek your consent before acting on information that you provide to us.

How to Reach Us

Department of Equity Services
503 Robertson Hall
Carleton University
1125 Colonel. By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6

(613) 520-5622
Email: equity@carleton.ca
Web site: www.carleton.ca/equity

Other Resources

Security (Emergency) 520-4444
Health and Counselling Services 520-6674
Paul Menton Centre for Student with Disabilities 520-6608
Employee Assistance Program 725-5676
International Student Advisory 520-6602

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