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Misconduct Prevention Policy

Workplace Abuse and Misconduct Prevention Policy


The purpose of this Policy is to confirm that PAL Ottawa is committed to providing and maintaining a work environment that is free of workplace abuse and misconduct.

This Policy also confirms PAL Ottawa’s commitment to compliance with applicable human rights, labour and employment legislation as it relates to workplace abuse and misconduct in Ontario. This Policy is designed to create an environment in which individuals can feel free to come forward withcomplaints of workplace abuse and misconduct without fear of reprisal.

PAL Ottawa prohibits and does not tolerate abuse or misconduct in the workplace or during any organization-related activity. Those reasonably suspected or believed to have committed workplace abuse or misconduct will be appropriately disciplined, up to and including termination of employment or membership, as well as criminally prosecuted. No employee, volunteer, third party consultant, board member or other person, regardless of his or her title or position has the authority to commit or allow workplace abuse or misconduct.


This Policy applies to all volunteers, employees (regular, occasional, temporary, contractual, full- or part-time, etc.), consultants, loaned personnel, board members of PAL Ottawa (hereinafter together referred to as “PAL Ottawa Personnel”).

Definitions and Examples

The following definitions or examples of sexual abuse, misconduct or harassment, may apply to any and/or all of the PAL Ottawa Personnel:

“Employee” refers to all regular, occasional, temporary, contractual, full- or part-time employee of PAL Ottawa

“Sexual abuse or misconduct” may include, but is not limited to:

  • Child sexual abuse – any sexual activity, involvement, or attempt of sexual contact with a person who is a minor (under 18 years old) where consent is not or cannot be given;
  • Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a volunteer or employee in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome;
  • Sexual activity with another who is legally incompetent or otherwise unable to give consent.
  • Physical assaults or violence, such as rape, sexual battery, abuse, molestation or any attempt to commit such acts.
  • Unwanted and intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature, such as touching, pinching, patting, brushing, massaging someone’s neck or shoulders, and/or pulling against another’s body or clothes.
  • Displaying of material such as pornographic or sexually explicit images, posters, calendars, or objects.
  • Unwelcome and inappropriate sexual activities, advances, comments, innuendoes, bullying, jokes, gestures, electronic communications or messages (e.g. email, text, social media, voicemail), exploitation, exposure, leering, stalking or invasion of sexual privacy.
  • A sexually hostile environment characterized as comments or conduct that unreasonably interferes with one’s work performance or ability to do the job or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
  • Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment or affiliation with the organization.

“Workplace Harassment” means a vexatious behaviour in the form of repeated conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures that are hostile or unwanted, that affect the person’s dignity or psychological or physical integrity and that make the work environment harmful. A single serious incidence of such behaviour may constitute harassment if it has the same consequences. Harassment, does not include normal and reasonable exercise of supervisory and management rights and responsibilities, including, but not limited to, appropriate Employee performance reviews, counselling or discipline by a supervisor or manager. Workplace harassment includes workplace sexual harassment.

“Workplace” means any place over which PAL Ottawa exerts administrative responsibility and any land, premises, location or thing at, upon, in or near which any PAL Ottawa Personnel works or attends by reason of or in the course of their employment or for their volunteering.

“Workplace Violence” means:

  • The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker or volunteer, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker; or,
  • An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker or volunteer, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker or volunteer; or,
  • A statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker or volunteer to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker or volunteer, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker volunteer.

Anti-retaliation and False Allegations

PAL Ottawa prohibits retaliation made against any employee, volunteer, board member, or other person who lodges a good faith complaint of workplace harassment, abuse, misconduct or violence or who participates in any related investigation. Making knowingly false or malicious accusations of workplace harassment, abuse, misconduct or violence can have serious consequences for those who are wrongly accused. PAL Ottawa prohibits making false or malicious sexual misconduct allegations, As well as deliberately providing false information during an investigation. Anyone who violates this rule is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or membership and criminal prosecution.

Communication and Enforcement of this Policy

PAL Ottawa must communicate and promote compliance with this Policy by taking all reasonable steps to:

  • make all PAL Ottawa Personnel aware of its existence and contents;
  • train those individuals responsible for receiving or investigating incidents or complaints and for deciding upon corrective measures;
  • conduct an objective and timely investigation following an incident or complaint; and,
  • take timely corrective measures as and if required.

PAL Ottawa will ensure this Policy and its related processes are implemented and maintained and that all PAL Ottawa Personnel have access to the appropriate information and instruction to protect them from violence/harassment in the workplace.

Investigation and Follow-up

PAL Ottawa will take all allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct seriously and will promptly, thoroughly, and equitably investigate whether misconduct has taken place. The organization may utilize an outside third party to conduct an investigation of misconduct. PAL Ottawa will cooperate fully with any investigation conducted by law enforcement or other regulatory/protective services agencies. PAL Ottawa will make every reasonable effort to keep the matters involved in the allegation as confidential as possible while still allowing for a prompt and thorough investigation.

Any person who has been subjected to or witnessed an incident of Workplace Violence, Workplace Harassment or Workplace Sexual Harassment should immediately report the incident to a member of the board of directors. The board of directors will then assign one Incident Investigator who will undertake the investigation. The Incident Investigator will take the necessary measures and make the reasonable arrangements to ensure the investigation is conducted in an unbiased manner that is appropriate for the circumstances of the complaint.

The investigation will include:

  • A documented interview with the complainant and/or victim;
  • A documented interview with the alleged perpetrator(s);
  • A documented interview with any witnesses with relevant information to provide;
  • Any other steps the Incident Investigator deems necessary to fully and fairly investigate the complaint or incident.

Information regarding the incident or complaint, including the identity of the individuals involved in the incident or complaint will not be disclosed to the other board members or any other PAL Ottawa Personnel except as necessary to conduct the investigation, impose or implement corrective action, or as otherwise required by law. At the conclusion of the investigation into an incident or complaint, the Incident Investigator will prepare a written report of the findings of fact and recommendations. Where required by law, a written report of the findings and appropriate corrective action (if any) will be provided to the alleged harasser.

PAL Ottawa may itself commence an investigation into any circumstances which it believes may constitute a violation of this Policy, in the absence of a complaint.

Disciplinary Measures

PAL Ottawa Personnel who have been determined to have engaged in Workplace Violence, Workplace Sexual Harassment, Misconduct or Workplace Harassment will be subject to disciplinary measures, including but not necessarily limited to:

  • Suspension from the PAL Ottawa workplace;
  • Revocation of membership from PAL Ottawa
  • Obligation to provide the victim with a formal verbal or written apology;
  • Obligation to undergo counselling and/or education through a duly recognized institution or professional organization;
  • Disciplinary measure up to dismissal;
  • Criminal and/or civil prosecution.

Employee and Worker Screening and Selection

As part of its sexual abuse and misconduct prevention program, PAL Ottawa is committed to maintaining a diligent screening program for prospective and existing employees, volunteers, board members and others that may have interaction with those employed by, associating with or serviced by PAL Ottawa. The organization may utilize a variety of methods of screening and selection, including but not limited to applications, personal interviews, criminal background checks and personal and professional references.

Supervision of Youth

To provide a safe environment for minors, PAL Ottawa strives that a minimum of two adult workers supervise or be in attendance with minors during organization-related activities. The purpose is to avoid one-on-one interactions between adults and minors that are not easily observable by others. If individual meetings with a minor must be held in an office, PAL Ottawa Personnel are to keep the door open. PAL Ottawa Personnel will only conduct closed door meetings when another adult is put on notice of the meeting and the door remains unlocked.

Work refusal

PAL Ottawa Personnel have the right to refuse work if they have a reason to believe they are in danger from Workplace Violence.


Complainants, respondents, witnesses, Incident Investigators and other PAL Ottawa representatives involved in a Workplace Violence, Workplace Sexual Harassment, Misconduct or Workplace Harassment matter are responsible for conducting themselves at all times with appropriate discretion so as to maintain confidentiality regarding any incident or complaint procedure. Confidentiality is the general rule, and PAL Ottawa is also bound to comply with the provisions of any applicable legislation and regulations regarding the protection of personal information. Nevertheless, PAL Ottawa respects the need of an alleged harasser to know the allegations being made against him/her. Furthermore, any arbitration, administrative or court proceedings arising out of a complaint may compel PAL Ottawa to disclose information about such a complaint, even though any such disclosure will be permitted only to the extent required by law or as necessary for the proper investigation and resolution of the complaint.

Acknowledgement Form: Workplace Abuse and Misconduct Prevention Policy

I acknowledge that I received and read the Workplace Abuse and Misconduct Prevention Policy and/or had it explained to me. I understand that it is my responsibility to abide by all rules contained in the policy. I also understand how to report incidents of workplace abuse or misconduct as set forth in the policy, including retaliation against any employee or volunteer exercising his or her rights under the policy.

I acknowledge that I will be alerted when changes and updates are made to the Workplace Abuse and Misconduct Policy and will be responsible for reading and complying with these updates.