Discrimination and Harassment

As members of the USask community, everyone shares the responsibility for creating and maintaining a supportive and inclusive environment. Health-harming behaviour, such as discrimination and harassment, are not tolerated. We are living and working in a time when open discourse about human rights is paramount. This open dialogue is critical as we work to prevent discrimination and harassment. As a result, USask openly acknowledges that discrimination and harassment are pressing safety issues that require a robust response.

The University aims to ensure a respectful, healthy and safe environment which is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. This requires more than compliance with laws and policy – it involves commitment and enacting necessary values such as: encouraging trusting relationships, demonstrating fairness and kindness, and setting a high standard for moral behavior. All members of the USask community have a responsibility to live USask's values and reflect them back in our daily interactions and decisions.

USask offers a safe and confidential environment to raise and discuss matters of discrimination and harassment through the office of Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services (DHPS).

What is Discrimination and Harassment

Pursuant to the Saskatchewan Employment Act, all staff have a right to a healthy and safe work environment, free from harassment. The Act includes two categories of harassment: 

1. Discrimination/Harassment based on Prohibited Grounds

This includes any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture by a person that:

  • Is made on the basis of race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, physical size or weight, age, nationality, ancestry or place of origin; and,
  • Constitutes a threat to the health or safety of the worker (staff).

Discrimination/Harassment based on prohibited grounds extends to sexual harassment and is prohibited in The Saskatchewan Employment Act and Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. It includes gender expression and gender identity.

Sexual Harassment means any conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature that is offensive, unsolicited or unwelcome. Some situations of sexual harassment may include:

  • Any implied or express threat of reprisal for refusing to comply with a sexually-oriented request;
  • Unwelcome remarks, lewd jokes, innuendos, propositions or taunting about a person’s body, attire, sex or sexual orientation;
  • Displaying or sending pornographic or sexually explicit or offensive pictures or materials via text, hardcopy, video or other multimedia platforms;
  • Unwelcome physical contact/touching;
  • Unwelcome invitations or requests, direct or indirect, to engage in behavior of a sexual nature; and/or,
  • Refusing to work with or have contact with an individual because of their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.

2. Personal Harassment 

This includes any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture by a person that:

  • Adversely affects an individual’s psychological or physical well-being;
  • The perpetrator knows or ought to reasonably know would cause the individual to be humiliated or intimidated; and,
  • Constitutes a threat to the health or safety of the worker (staff).

To constitute Personal Harassment, either of the following must be established:

  • Repeated conduct, comments, displays, actions or gestures; or,
  • A single, serious comment, display, action or gesture that has a lasting, harmful effect of the worker.

Discrimination and Harassment Are Not

  • Day-to-day management or supervisory decisions involving work assignments. However, managerial action(s) must be carried out in a manner that is reasonable and not abusive;
  • Job assessment and evaluation (feedback and dialogue regarding performance);
  • Workplace inspection;
  • Implementation of appropriate dress codes;
  • Disciplinary action;
  • Physical contact necessary for the performance of the work using accepted industry standards;
  • Conduct which all parties agree is inoffensive or welcome; and,
  • Conflict or disagreements in the workplace that are not based on one of the prohibited grounds. 

Prevention

Reducing and Eliminating Discrimination and Harassment

The foundation of prevention is respect for others, even if we don’t understand or agree with their opinions or values. Behaviours that help eliminate and reduce discrimination and harassment include:

  • Taking respectful action to resolve interpersonal problems at the onset of problems arising;
  • When experiencing someone's behavior as problematic, letting the person know how you feel and asking them to stop the behaviour;
  • Being sensitive to the impact you have on others and being willing to alter or eliminate problematic behaviors;
  • Consider offering an apology if your actions have had a negative impact on someone; and,
  • Employees can speak with your People Leader if you are experiencing or witnessing acts of discrimination and harassment;
  • Students can reach out to Student Affairs and Outreach for assistance.

If you are not able to respectfully and safely confront the individual directly, speak with your People Leader about accessing support. If that is not feasible, Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services offer other avenues for resolution such as:

  • Providing an overview of your rights, responsibilities and potential avenues under relevant USask policies and applicable legislation (in the employment context);
  • Identifying a variety of options for possible informal resolutions;
  • Pursuing or addressing the issue or concern through relevant USask policies or procedures;
  • Filing a formal complaint based on USask’s Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy;
  • Pursuing the complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission and/or employment legislation, seeking the assistance of an Occupational Health Officer (in the employment context), and/or exercising any other legal rights pursuant to the law.

Reporting

Discrimination and harassment are preventable. USask strongly believes that raising awareness – along with a proactive and supportive reporting culture – is the best road to prevention, but no institution can do this alone. It will take all of us — staff, faculty and students — to create positive change.  

All staff, faculty and students who experience or witness an act of discrimination and harassment have an obligation to report the situation. Doing nothing is not a neutral act as it puts targets at a disadvantage.

Protecting human rights – through proactive health, safety and wellness measures – on our campus requires serious commitment and a strong internal responsibility system where all staff, faculty and students understand they have a shared role to play. 

Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Service

Supports Are Available

Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services is aligned with USask values: collegiality, fairness and equitable treatment, inclusiveness, integrity, honesty, ethical behaviour, and respect. Preventing discrimination and harassment is a primary focus.

If you feel you are experiencing or witnessing acts of discrimination and harassment, know that you can change the situation. Please contact:

Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services (DHPS)
(306) 966-4936
DHPS@usask.ca.

USask is committed to providing a safe, confidential and impartial reporting system. Inquiries and consultation, intake of formal complaints, and prevention awareness and education under DHPS are services provided by 360 Workplace Solutions Ltd. – an independent consulting firm. Offering an array of specialized services, this firm is comprised of experienced investigators, lawyers, mediators, trainers, policy developers and psychological specialists. Coralee Pringle-Nelson is the primary contact from 360 Workplace Solutions Ltd.

We understand it can be difficult to report harassment for fear of retaliation. Please note all complaints of harassment in good faith are protected acts, and strict protocols are in place to prevent you from being penalized or retaliated against in any manner.

  1. Read through the DHPS policy and procedures to ensure your complaint fits within the policy parameters
  2. Confirm your complaint is about
    1. An individual with standing at USask (employee)
    2. A situation or set of situations where you have evidence (emails, text or other messages), or you can describe the situation/s with some measure or detail, including dates
    3. Personal harassment (definition, including sexual harassment), and/or
    4. Discrimination (harassment based on prohibited grounds: age, sex, race, etc.)
  3. A date, location and time of each specific allegation/incident
  4. If there is more than once incident, number them by date
  5. If the matter involves multiple incidents, provide a dated event timeline
  6. Names and contact information of all persons involved who may have heard or seen the conduct under question
  7. Supporting evidence, if available (i.e., documents, journals, notes, reports, physical evidence, electronic communications, pictures, etc.)
  8. Specific elements of the policy pertinent and applicable to your allegations
  9. The impact of the alleged events
  10. If applicable, explain what actions have been taken and/or are there others (internal or external to USask) previously involved in addressing your allegations? If so, provide details.
  11. If you would like to speak about alternatives for completing a formal complaint, please contact dhps@usask.ca
  12. Email the completed compliant form to, dhps@usask.ca 
  13. You can expect to hear from the DHP service in a timely fashion

Safe Disclosure Reporting Line

In addition to the confidential DHPS reporting line (306) 966-4936 and email, the University has an anonymous safe disclosure reporting system. Reports of alleged discrimination and harassment can also be made online at Confidenceline or by phone at 1-844-966-3250. 

Reporting anonymously can assist the University in evaluating and informally intervening (preventative workshops, awareness and education, etc.); however, for a formal investigation to occur, the DHPS online complaint form is required wherein you must disclose your full name and submit a fulsome account of the situation.    

You are encouraged to provide your full name if a matter poses a serious threat to your health and safety, is potentially criminal in nature or where circumstances may lead University officials to suspect intervention and educational activities may not prevent the alleged discrimination and harassment from recurring.

Resources

Confidential Harassment Reporting Telephone Line (306) 966-4936; 1-844-966-3250
Confidential Harassment Reporting Email DHPS@usask.ca
Confidential Anonymous Reporting Online  www.usask.confidenceline.net
Student Affairs and Outreach (mental health intake) Student Affairs and Outreach
Employee and Family Assistance Program  EFAP
Protective Services  (306) 966-5555
Wellness Resources  (306) 966-4580
Crisis Intervention Services (Mobile Crisis)  306-933-6200 (24/7 confidential crisis support line)
Sexual Assault and Information Centre   306-224-2224 (24/7 confidential crisis line)
Saskatoon Police Service  306-975-8300 (non-emergency calls)
The Listen Project
(free legal advice for survivors of sexual assault)

 1-855-258-9415
306-974-3333
 306-500-6430 (text)
 listen@plea.org
The Listen Project

Getting help

Contact Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services for a confidential consultation, or seek assistance from another university official.

Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services (DHPS)
(306) 966-4936
 DHPS@usask.ca.

Reports of discrimination and harassment are handled by Coralee Pringle-Nelson and the team at 360 Workplace Solutions Ltd.