Workplace Harassment

As a community that encourages life-long learning and discovery, the University of Saskatchewan views the full spectrum of harassment (bullying, discrimination & sexualized violence) as health-harming behavior that can undercut the human capacity to thrive and disrupt our working and learning environment. The recent viral #MeToo movement underscores the need for respectful work environments and presents us with a unique opportunity to discuss human right’s issues openly. Dialoging openly is the only way toward prevention. As a result, the University openly acknowledges harassment is a pressing safety issue that requires a robust response.

What Is 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. Harassment based on prohibited grounds (Discrimination) 

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).

Harassment based on prohibited grounds (discrimination) extends to sexual harassment and is prohibited in the Saskatchewan Employment Act and Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. It includes gender expression, gender identity and two-spirit identity.

Sexual Harassment means any conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature that is offensive, unsolicited or unwelcome. 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,
  • Refusing to work with or have contact with an individual because of their sex, gender or sexual orientation.

Targets of sexual harassment may be male, female, transgender or transsexual. Sexual harassment may occur between members of the same-sex.

2. Personal Harassment (Bullying) 

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.

Harassment is 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. 

Harassment Prevention Office

Supports Are Available

If you feel you are experiencing harassment, know that you can change the situation.

If you, or someone you know, is dealing with a situation of harassment involving faculty and/or staff contact the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services (DHPS) office immediately at (306) 966-4936, or by email.

The DHPS office provides confidential consultations, support and advice and will handle your concerns with impartiality. Formal investigation and informal solutions (no-fault remedy and repair) are available to you as options. The DHPS office is committed in its support of a positive and inclusive space; as such, all services will be provided to you in an environment of understanding and respect. 

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.

Reporting

Harassment is preventable. The University strongly believes that raising awareness along with a strong Bystander 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 and faculty who witness an alleged act of harassment or destructive behavior have an ethical duty to report the situation to their supervisor or the harassment prevention office. Doing nothing to support a target of harassment is not a neutral act as it puts targets at a disadvantage. In sum, for harassment to occur it often requires team approval, secrecy, shame and silent witnesses.

Protecting human rights 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. 

Anonymous Reporting Line

In addition to the confidential harassment reporting line (306) 966-4936 and email, the University has an anonymous safe disclosure reporting system. Reports of alleged 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, education, etc.), however, for a formal harassment investigation to occur, the DHPS Written Complaint Form is required wherein you must provide your full name.    

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 harassment from recurring.

Confidential Harassment Reporting Telephone Line (306) 966-4936; 1-844-966-3250
Confidential Harassment Reporting Email
Confidential Anonymous Reporting Online 
Student Affairs and Outreach (mental health intake) (306) 966-5555
Employee and Family Assistance Program 
Protective Services  (306) 966-5555
Wellness Resources  (306) 966-4580
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

Prevention

  • Treat others with respect, even if you don't agree with their values or opinions.
  • Take action to resolve problems as early as possible.
  • If you find someone's behavior problematic, let the person know how you feel and ask him or her to stop the behavior.
  • Be sensitive to the impact that you have on others and be willing to alter or eliminate problematic behaviors.
  • Consider apologizing if your actions have had a negative impact on someone.

Principles and Values

A respectful environment is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, however, it involves more than compliance with laws and policy. It also involves embracing our University's Values. Our University's Values encourage trusting relationships, fairness and kindness and set a high standard for moral behavior. We feel the only way to pass values onward is to lead by example, be accountable to how we conduct ourselves and use good judgement and sensitivity to the way others see and interpret our actions. All members of the University community have a priority responsibility to live University's Values and reflect them back in our daily interactions and decisions.

Getting help

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

Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services
306-966-4936
dhps@usask.ca