Procedure for Filing a Complaint

An individual who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination or harassment should promptly make a confidential appointment with the Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Officer, who will determine whether there are sufficient grounds for filing a complaint under the policy.

Time limit for filing a complaint

Do not hesitate to seek help or advice in a timely manner. Under the Human Rights Code and UFV’s Harassment Prevention Policy, a complaint of discrimination or harassment must be made within six months of the last occurrence of the offensive behaviour.

Informal complaint resolution process

The Officer will discuss with both the complainant and the respondent the informal processes that are available, and will work with both parties with a view to obtaining resolution of the complaint through informal resolution processes when possible and, in the judgment of the Officer, appropriate.

The strategies employed during an informal complaint resolution are varied and include conflict coaching, facilitated discussion, and voluntary mediation. Strategies used will depend entirely upon the specific circumstances of the case, and the Officer will discuss with the parties to the complaint particular approaches which could be used during an informal resolution process and their likely outcomes.

Formal complaint resolution process

If the informal resolution process is inappropriate or is unsuccessful, the case will be advanced for formal resolution. The Officer will provide a copy of the complaint, including the written statement of particulars and any formal response thus far filed by the respondent, to the Associate Vice-President, Employee Services, for further action.

The Officer may also recommend to the Associate Vice-President, Employee Services, that formal proceedings be initiated, bypassing the informal resolution process, in certain cases.

The burden of proof

Establishing that discrimination or harassment has taken place is complex. The burden of proof is always with the person bringing the complaint and he or she must establish, on a balance of probabilities, that the events described in the complaint took place and in the manner in which they are described. The existence of records establishing a series of events or a pattern of behaviour—and the corroborating testimony of third-party witnesses—are usually instrumental in establishing that harassment has taken place; however, the Harassment Prevention Policy at UFV also allows for a determination of harassment to be made in the case of a single serious infraction:

Harassment may occur as a single incident, or over a series of incidents that, in isolation, would not necessarily constitute harassment.

18 Harassment Prevention

BRP-201.02 Harassment Prevention Policy (PDF)

Harassment & Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF)

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