Harassment Defined

Human rights-based harassment

Harassment is a form of discrimination that occurs when offensive behaviour is based on a prohibited ground of discrimination enumerated in either federal or provincial human rights legislation. Although British Columbia’s Human Rights Code is silent on the subject of harassment, the Ontario Human Rights Code provides the following definition:

Harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

Like many post-secondary education institutions and other large employers, the University of the Fraser Valley’s Harassment Prevention Policy has an expanded definition of harassment which, in addition to human rights-based harassment and sexual harassment, also includes personal harassment.

Personal harassment

Personal harassment includes bullying, ostracizing, shunning, and other forms of uncivil conduct. While such conduct is not specifically prohibited by law in the same way that human rights-based discrimination and harassment are, the University’s Harassment Prevention Policy makes it clear that this type of behaviour is not tolerated at UFV:
Harassment of any kind violates fundamental rights, personal worth, and human dignity. All members of the University community are entitled to an atmosphere free of harassment while pursuing university-related activities.

What behaviours are considered harassment under UFV's policy?

Harassment is behaviour that is inappropriate or unwanted, and which the individual ought reasonably to know or have known would cause offence or harm. It comprises objectionable acts, comments or displays that demean, belittle, or cause personal humiliation; and acts of intimidation or threats which would be considered by a reasonable person to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for work, study and other university-related activities.

Discrimination under the Human Rights Code

The definition of harassment at UFV specifically includes discrimination based on any of the enumerated grounds as set out in the Human Rights Code, such as UFV Policy #18 on Harassment Prevention.

humiliating, offending or demeaning a person or group of persons on the basis of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, family status, marital status, physical or mental disability, age, sex, sexual orientation or conviction for a criminal offence unrelated to employment. See: UFV Policy #18 on Harassment Prevention.

BRP-201.02 Harassment Prevention Policy

New training initiative for all UFV employees

Help build a positive and inclusive workplace: complete your mandatory “Respect in the Workplace” web-based training now.

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