Respectful Workplace Policy

Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie

Anti-discrimination and harassment Policy and Procedures


Policy Statement - Purpose and Principles

Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie (PIVLVP) is committed to fostering a safe, healthy and positive environment that is free of discrimination and harassment – a workplace and an organization where all employees, shareholders, contractors, volunteers, program contributors, program participants and visitors are treated with respect and dignity.

The Canadian Human Rights Act provides protection from discrimination and harassment based on the following prohibited grounds: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, disability, genetic characteristics, or a pardoned conviction.

Scope of this Policy

Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie does not tolerate discrimination or harassment. This policy applies to employees, including all current employees of Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie – full and part-time, casual, contract, permanent, and temporary employees as well as job applicants.  This policy also applies to other Poetry in Voice (PIV) shareholders, including board members, contractors, partnership organizations, program contributors, and program participants.

This policy applies to incidents, risks, or threats of discrimination or harassment that affect the Poetry in Voice working environment and occur either on- or off-site, or on other work and program delivery sites with connection to Poetry in Voice.

Employees and shareholders who are found to have discriminated against or harassed another individual within the context of their employee role and responsibilities may be subject to disciplinary action and/or a legal complaint. This includes anyone who: interferes with the resolution of a discrimination or harassment complaint; retaliates against an individual for filing a discrimination or harassment complaint; or files an unfounded discrimination or harassment complaint intended to cause harm.

This policy applies to all behaviour that is in some way connected to work, including on- and off-site meetings, program delivery, training and business trips.


Harassment includes sexual or personal harassment.

The definition of harassment under this policy includes:

  1. Any inappropriate comment, conduct, gesture, action or display by a person towards a member of the Poetry in Voice community that either:


  1. is based on the following prohibited grounds: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, disability, genetic characteristics, or a pardoned conviction.


  1. adversely affects the member of the Poetry in Voice Community’s psychological or physical well-being and that the person knows or ought reasonably to know would be unwelcome and cause the member to be humiliated or intimidated or offended.*

*To constitute harassment for the purposes of 1(b), either of the following must be established:

i) repeated comments, conducts, gestures, actions or displays:

ii) a single, serious occurrence of comment, conduct, gesture, action or display that has a harmful, lasting effect on the Member of the Poetry in Voice Community.

2) any gesture, action, display, comment or conduct by a person towards a Member of the Poetry in Voice Community that:

  1. Is of sexual nature;


  1. The person knows or ought reasonably to know is unwelcome.

Harassment is not limited to the prohibited grounds, and may include any repeated gesture, action, display, comment or conduct that has a lasting, harmful effect. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • offending or humiliating someone physically or verbally
  • threatening or intimidating someone; 
  • making unwelcome jokes or comments about someone’s race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or pardoned conviction.

Sexual harassment is:

  • offensive or humiliating behaviour that is related to a person’s sex;
  • behaviour of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, unwelcome, hostile or offensive work environment; 
  • behaviour of a sexual nature that could reasonably be thought to put sexual conditions on a person’s job or employment opportunities;
  • Bullying or hazing;
  • Displaying or distributing sexually suggestive or derogatory images or material;
  • Disorderly or abusive conduct or language;
  • Spreading rumours;
  • Mean-spirited or dangerous pranks and jokes;
  • Rude, demeaning or threatening behaviour;
  • Or any other examples identified by Poetry in Voice.

Responsibilities and Expectations

Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie is responsible for:

  • providing all employees and members of the Poetry in Voice Community with a harassment-free workplace and community experience.

The Advisory Committee consists of 3 volunteer Board members, elected by the Board of Directors. Committee members are expected to recuse themselves when there is a conflict of interest. Three board members will be selected to review any one complaint.

Advisory Committee is responsible for:

  • ensuring that this policy is applied in a timely, consistent and confidential manner;
  • determining whether or not allegations of harassment are substantiated; and
  • determining what corrective action is appropriate where a harassment complaint has been substantiated.

Advisory Committee is responsible for:

  • the administration of this policy;
  • reviewing this policy annually, or as required; and
  • making necessary adjustments to ensure that this policy meets the needs of the organization.

[Supervisors] are responsible for:

  • fostering a harassment-free work environment and setting an example about appropriate workplace behaviour;
  • communicating the process for investigating and resolving harassment complaints made by employees;
  • dealing with harassment situations immediately upon becoming aware of them, whether or not a harassment complaint has been made;
  • taking appropriate action during a harassment investigation, including separating the parties to the harassment complaint, when appropriate; and
  • ensuring harassment situations are dealt with in a sensitive and confidential manner.

Employees are responsible for:

  • treating others with respect in the workplace;
  • reporting harassment to the designated Advisory Committee member;
  • cooperating with a harassment investigation and respecting the confidentiality related to the investigation process;

Employees can expect:

  • to be treated with respect in the workplace;
  • that reported harassment will be dealt with in a timely, confidential and effective manner;
  • to have their rights to a fair process and to confidentiality respected during a harassment investigation; and
  • to be protected against retaliation for reporting harassment or cooperating with a harassment investigation.


Poetry in Voice may take action against anyone whose activities are in violation of this policy. Actions taken may include:

  • Disciplinary actions for direct PIV employees;
  • Legal action that could result in criminal or civil proceedings.

Retaliation and Intentional False Complaints

The Policy prohibits acts of retaliation including threats, intimidation, reprisals or adverse employment action against a person who has filed or responded to a complaint.

Intentionally false complaints are prohibited. False complaints are when a person purposefully falsifies facts or makes malicious accusations with no regard for the truth.

Individuals who are found to be non-compliant, or who alleged a complaint in bad faith will be subject to appropriate corrective, disciplinary and/or legal action.

Procedures for Addressing a Harassment Complaint

Filing a Complaint

An employee may file a harassment complaint by contacting a designated Advisory Committee member via email, available on the Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie website. 

The employee should be prepared to provide details such as what happened; when it happened; where it happened; how often and who else was present (if applicable).

Complaints should be made as soon as possible but no later than within one year of the last incident of perceived harassment, unless there are circumstances that prevented the employee from doing so.

Designated Advisory Committee members will tell the person that the harassment complaint has been made against, in writing, that a harassment complaint has been filed. The letter will also provide details of the allegations that have been made against them.

The Advisory Committee will confirm receipt of the complaint with the complainant via email. Resources that might be useful to the complainant will also be provided. 

Every effort will be made to resolve harassment complaints as soon as possible. 

If either party to a harassment complaint believes that the complaint is not being

handled in accordance with this policy, he or she should contact Tessa Griffin (


Wherever appropriate and possible, the parties to the harassment complaint will be offered mediation prior to proceeding with a harassment investigation. Mediation is voluntary and confidential. It is intended to assist the parties to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution to the harassment complaint. The mediator will be a neutral person, agreed upon by both parties. The mediator will not be involved in investigating the complaint.

Each party to the complaint has the right to be accompanied and assisted during mediation sessions by a person of their choosing.

Trauma-Informed Process

Poetry in Voice recognizes that a person who has legitimately experienced discrimination or harassment and is in the process of filing a claim may also be experiencing trauma as a result of these circumstances. 

Poetry in Voice is committed to a trauma-informed process, in which the complainant is not unduly exposed or brought into close proximity with their alleged harasser until the situation is resolved.


If mediation is inappropriate or does not resolve the issue, a harassment investigation will be conducted. All investigations will be handled by individuals who have the necessary training and experience. In some cases, an external consultant may be engaged for this purpose. The Advisory Committee will have the power to engage an external consultant, should they decide this to be the most appropriate course of action, at any time; this decision may be taken before or after the review of the complaint has begun. 

The committee will interview the person who made the complaint, the person the complaint was made against and any witnesses that have been identified. All people who are interviewed will have the right to review their statement, as recorded by the investigator, to ensure its accuracy. 

The committee will also review any documents or data that might provide additional context. If the committee decides that there is not enough information to come to a determination, the committee will gather further information, which could include written correspondence, security camera footage, etc.

The committee/investigator will prepare a report that will include:

  • a description of the allegations;
  • the response of the person the complaint was made against;
  • a summary of information learned from witnesses (if applicable); and
  • a decision about whether, on a balance of probabilities, harassment did occur.

This report will be submitted to the Board of Directors.


Substantiated Complaint

If a harassment complaint is substantiated, the Advisory Committee will decide what action is appropriate and recommend that course of action to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will vote as to whether or not to adopt the recommendations either at a Board meeting or via e-mail vote. 

Remedies for the employee who was harassed may include: an oral or written apology; compensation for lost wages; compensation for any lost employment benefits such as sick leave; and compensation for hurt feelings.

Corrective action for the employee found to have engaged in harassment may include: mandatory education; a formal letter of apology; a reprimand from the Board of Directors; a suspension; a transfer; a demotion; and/or dismissal.

Both parties to the complaint will be advised, in writing, of the decision and provided with a copy of the report. 

Privacy and Confidentiality

All parties to a harassment complaint are expected to respect the privacy and confidentiality of all other parties involved and to limit the discussion of a harassment complaint to those that need to know.


Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie will review this policy and procedures on an annual basis, or as required, and will make necessary adjustments to ensure that it meets the needs of all employees.

Poetry in Voice will ensure that its immediate employees receive adequate anti harassment and anti-discrimination training and that its greater Community members (program contributors, program participants, contractors and volunteers) have access to and are aware of the PIV policy.


Enquiries about this policy and related procedures can be made to Tessa Griffin (


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