Harassment Committee (disbanded 2015)

Preamble to the following 2 recommendations

June 2011

The Committee has reviewed all information again from Council members on this topic and as observed in the past, a national position is necessary for the Union of Taxation Employees to provide for consistency amongst all regions on this topic. The Committee also reviewed all the notes taken from the committee of the whole at the September Council sitting and has come up with the recommendations that are noted below.

There were 3 possibilities that the Committee looked and are as follows:

  1. Filing a concurrent grievance and an harassment complaint;

  2. Filing a complaint only, and finally;

  3. Filing a grievance only.

The committee looked at all possible pros and cons with each of the 3 possibilities and determined that the grievance only route would best suit our members’ needs. We felt that by just filing the grievance, we would protect our members’ rights throughout the whole process. To this end, we believe that if the grievance referred to harassment and/or if the employer saw evidence of harassment allegations within the grievance, that the employer would be mandated under its own policy to conduct an harassment investigation and pursue the complaint through their internal process. Accordingly, the grievor and the Union representative could agree to hold the grievance in abeyance pending the outcome of the harassment investigation. Pending an unsuccessful finding or should the employer refuse to investigate, the grievance could then be pursued as necessary. Furthermore, by using the grievance procedure, the member would be afforded the right to true Union representation throughout the process. We found no cons in going this route.

The committee also looked at just filing a complaint through the employer’s internal policy. However, the Committee felt that the member’s right to filing a grievance later on in the process would have an effect on the process in terms of the time frames for filing a grievance. In other words, the employer could argue that the grievance was not filed in a timely manner (within 25 working days of the incident giving rise to the grievance or when the employee first became aware of the incident giving rise to the grievance). Additionally, we did not support this approach as the policy is an employer policy and even though the National Committee had some say in the draft policy, not all Union input was adopted. Furthermore, the draft policy was already prepared by the employer when the Committee participated in the so called consultation meeting. Even more, as this is an employer policy, the policy is subject to further revisions at the discretion of the employer. We found more cons than pros in going this route.

The committee also looked at filing both a grievance and a complaint concurrently. We originally were going to with this as our recommendation as we found more pros than cons. However, after a lengthy discussion with the Senior Labour Relations Officer (who provided assistance while meeting since our Technical Advisor was off sick), we reached consensus that we could not advocate using the employer’s policy that had been written without meaningful input from the Union and that could be subject to unilateral changes by the employer.

Therefore the committee has come up with the following recommendations:

Recommendation #1

The Harassment committee recommends that when a member alleges harassment and seeks union representation, that as a member’s advocate, we advise the member to file a grievance only.   The union will request to the employer that the grievance be transmitted to the 3rd level of the grievance process and held in abeyance pending the outcome of the Employer’s Harassment Complaint process.

Recommendation #2

The Harassment committee recommends that UTE enter into discussions with the employer to inform them of our position as outlined in Recommendation #1. In addition, these discussions should further advocate our position that all harassment complaints remain the responsibility of the ML01 (Assistant Commissioner).