Why is it important to have an anti-harassment policy? It is incumbent upon charities and nonprofits to provide an environment that is free from harassment for all parties concerned. Developing and adopting an anti-harassment policy helps to ensure that staff and volunteers understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to this issue, and clarifies procedures for prevention, response, and enforcement. Anti-harassment policies are important from a human rights perspective. The Canadian Human Rights Act protects employees from harassment based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or pardoned conviction. An anti-harassment policy helps organizations to ensure they are meeting their legal obligations with respect to the issue of discrimination.
According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission,1 your organization’s anti-harassment policy should include:
- Definitions of “harassment” and “sexual harassment”
- Responsibilities and expectations of the organization, supervisors, employees, and volunteers
- Procedures for addressing a harassment complaint, including clear steps for how to file a complaint
- A statement about privacy and confidentiality in relation to harassment complaints
- Steps to take if a complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint process
Note: Your organization’s anti-harassment policy may be found within a broader conflict management policy and it will still be considered compliant as long as it includes the above elements.