You are here:»»Policy 4.5 – Respect in the Workplace
Policy 4.5 – Respect in the Workplace2017-07-05T21:30:48+00:00

Board Policy

Policy 4.5, Respect in the Workplace

Policy Statement and Details


The Library is committed to supporting a positive and respectful workplace for all employees. This policy builds on the recognition expressed by both the Employer and the Union in the Collective Agreement that employees have the right to work in an environment free from personal and sexual harassment and on the definitions and terms in the relevant Collective Agreement articles. The purpose of this policy is to prevent, correct and remedy situations that related to bullying and personal harassment and discriminatory harassment. It is intended to promote the well-being of every employee and to foster the values of integrity and trust that are essential for a sound organization. This policy is not intended to conflict with or override the terms of the Collective Agreement or employment contracts.


This policy applies to all Library employees.  The terms of the policy apply to all situations where activities are connected to employment at the Library and could impact on employment both at the workplace and away from the workplace.  This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Activities on Library premises;
  • Work assignments outside of Library premises;
  • Work-related functions; conferences, training sessions, and seminars;
  • Work-related travel;
  • Telephone conversations;
  • Electronic communication, including email and social networking sites.

This policy is not intended to constrain social interaction between employees.

The Employer recognizes that Library employees may be subjected to workplace harassment by outside parties.  In those circumstances the Employer acknowledges its responsibility to support and assist employees subjected to such harassment.


1) Bullying and personal harassment includes:

Inappropriate conduct or comments by a person towards a worker that the person knew or reasonably ought to have known would cause that worker to be humiliated or intimidated. Bullying and harassment is not acceptable or tolerated. Examples include:

  • Verbal aggression or insults, calling someone derogatory names, harmful hazing or initiation practices, vandalizing personal belongings and spreading malicious rumours

Bullying and harassment excludes:

  • Any reasonable action taken by and employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the place of employment. Reasonable day-to-day managerial functions and activities such as work assignment, performance evaluation and progressive discipline are not considered bullying and personal harassment under the Collective Agreement or this policy.

2) Discriminatory harassment includes:

  • One or a series of incidents involving unwelcome comments or actions concerning a person’s race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, age, sex (includes gender, sexuality, and pregnancy), sexual orientation, or a criminal conviction unrelated to employment that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victim(s) of the harassment.

Examples of sexual harassment include the following:

  • Verbal conduct, such as epithets, derogatory comments, slurs, offensive remarks, jokes, innuendo, abusive language, unwelcome attention of a sexual nature such as questions or remarks about sex life, invitations, and remarks about physical appearance.
  • Visual conduct such as leering, derogatory posters, cartoons, drawings, gestures, displays of sexually explicit, racist, or other offensive or derogatory material. GVPL Board Policy & Procedure Manual 4.5 Respect in the Workplace Page 3 of 5 Policy 4.5 – Respect in the Workplace continued
  • Physical conduct, such as unwelcome physical contact including touching, patting, assault, or blocking normal movement.
  • Threats and demands to submit to sexual requests in order to keep one’s job or to avoid some other loss, and offers of job benefits in return for sexual favours.


A Respectful Workplace is characterized by:

Polite Behaviour – Courteous and considerate behaviour toward others;

Inclusion – Of people with different backgrounds, cultures, strengths and opinions;

Inclusion for the purpose of this Policy means welcoming people with diverse backgrounds into the workplace. Behaviours include but are not limited to: working to understand cultural differences; working constructively with employees who have been accommodated as a result of the employer’s duty to accommodate; and valuing others’ differing styles and contributions.

Constructive management of differences – Differences are understood to be a fact of life, every employee has a responsibility to acknowledge that views and opinions held by others and decisions that are made by managers and supervisors may not always coincide with their own; such differences are unlikely to constitute harassment or bullying. The harassment process should not be used to vent feelings or minor discontent or a feeling of dissatisfaction with life in the workplace.

Support – Individuals are supported to learn and practice respectful workplace skills.

Support includes coaching, in-service training and/or internal or external intervention designed to bring dispute resolution skill and respectful workplace knowledge to a work unit.

Reasonable day to day managerial functions and activities such as work assignment and progressive discipline are not considered harassment under the Collective Agreement or this policy.


This policy is intended to respect the rights of anyone who may be involved in a complaint and to ensure that the interests of all those involved in the complaint process are protected.

Every reasonable effort will be made to keep matters relating to alleged workplace harassment confidential. Anyone involved in an investigation of an alleged incident must keep confidential the names of any other party or any circumstances related to the complaint except as necessary to report or investigate an incident, take action flowing from an investigation, or as required by law. Information will be disclosed only to the extent required to:

  • Protect the safety and security of any individual involved in a complaint, or any other Library employee or person where a reasonable concern for their safety is identified;
  • Conduct a proper and fair investigation;
  • Comply with the law or litigation.


The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for:

  • Overseeing this policy. The CEO may appoint a designate to be responsible for the day-to-day administration and stewardship of the policy. The CEO will execute the roles and responsibilities of the designate should an allegation involve the designate.

In the event an allegation involves the CEO the matter will be dealt with incamera by the Library Board who will determine and assign responsibility for the investigation and disposition of the matter.

Directors, coordinators and supervisors are responsible for promoting a work environment free from unacceptable behavior and manage any allegations of harassment as quickly as possible in accordance with associated procedures.

Employees and contractors hired by the GVPL have a responsibility to behave in a way that is not offensive to others and supports the values of the library. This includes not engaging in the bullying and harassment of others and applying and complying with the Library’s policy and procedures.


This policy statement will be reviewed every year. All Library employees will be provided with a copy

Approved by the Greater Victoria Public Library Board: September 26, 1995
Reviewed by the Policy & Program Development Committee: November 5, 2013
Amended by the Greater Victoria Public Library Board:  November 26, 2013

Peek-a-boo! Here’s a quote to brighten your day:

“When in doubt, go to the library.” – Hermione Granger