Authorization and Approval
Responsibility: Associate Vice-President, People and Resources; Vice-Provost, Faculty Relations; Vice-Provost, Teaching, Learning and Student Experience
Authorization: Board of Governors
Approval Date: Dec 1, 1998
Amended: Mar 30, 2001; Jan 31, 2003; May 2, 2008; Mar 5, 2013; Mar 18, 2014; June 21, 2022
Purpose and Principles
The University of Saskatchewan is committing to creating and providing students and employees with a positive, healthy and safe environment for working and learning that is free of discrimination and harassment, and to comply with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code and with the Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.
Scope of this Policy
This policy applies to members of the university community, including students and employees, employees who work on university administered grant or research-funded projects, student trainees, independent and dependent contractors, volunteers and visitors (“Member of the University Community”). This policy applies to risks, threats and incidents of discrimination or harassment that affect the university working and learning environment and occur: on and off university premises, on other work and study sites under the university's control and/or with a substantial connection to the university. A formal complaint under any other university policy or collective agreement provision may trigger this policy.
Situations involving violence or the threat of violence is covered under the University of Saskatchewan Violence Prevention Policy and addressed through the appropriate procedures as determined by Protective Services.
Situations involving sexual violence or the threat of sexual violence is covered under the University of Saskatchewan Sexual Assault Policy and addressed through the appropriate procedures as outlined under this policy’s “Procedures Document.”
Discrimination and Harassment are prohibited under:
Harassment includes sexual or personal harassment, as defined in this Policy. The definition of harassment under this Policy includes:
- any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture by a person towards a Member of the University Community:
(i) that either
(a) is based on the following prohibited grounds: religion, creed, marital status, family status, sex, gender identity (including gender expression and two spirit identity), sexual orientation, disability, age, colour, ancestry, nationality, place of origin, race or perceived race, or receipt of public assistance; or on physical size or weight;
(b) adversely affects the Member of the University Community’s psychological or physical well-being and that the person knows or ought reasonably to know would cause the Member of the University Community to be humiliated or intimidated;
(ii) that constitutes a threat to the health or safety of the Member of the University Community; or
- any conduct, comment, display, action or gesture by a person towards a Member of the University Community that:
(i) is of a sexual nature;
(ii) the person knows or ought reasonably to know is unwelcome.
To constitute harassment for the purposes of 1(i)(b), above, either of the following must be established:
- repeated conduct, comments, displays, actions or gestures;
- a single, serious occurrence of conduct, or a single, serious comment, display, action or gesture, that has a lasting, harmful effect on the Member of the University Community.
Duty to Accommodate
The university is committed to providing reasonable accommodations based upon prohibited grounds, to individuals requiring such accommodation, up to the point of undue hardship. Individuals seeking accommodations have an obligation to cooperate with the university in identifying and facilitating reasonable accommodations, in accordance with university policies and procedures.
Systemic discrimination occurs when policies, procedures, programs and/or practices create structural barriers or widespread stereotypes and assumptions, which then preclude certain individuals or groups of people from full participation in activities protected by The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. Some of these activities can include: employment, education, public services, housing, contracts, trade unions, the purchase of property, publications, and professional trades and associations.
Conflicts of Interest
The university’s Conflict of Interest policy states:
For example, the university prohibits individuals in positions of authority, such as faculty or managers, from grading, evaluating or supervising the work of any student or employee with whom they are having a consensual sexual relationship. Should such a relationship exist or develop, the individual in authority must immediately report it to his or her administrative superior, who will ensure that alternate arrangements are made for the evaluation and/or supervision of the employee’s or student’s work.
In addition, all individuals involved in administering and/or participating in the application of the university’s Discrimination & Harassment Prevention policy and/or policy procedures must identify real or potential conflicts of interests, which may result in alternate arrangements being made.
What is Not Harassment
Harassment does not include:
- the right to direct the workforce, including any reasonable day-to-day management or supervisory decisions involving (but not limited to) work assignments and job performance, job assessment and evaluation, just-cause disciplinary action and progressive discipline, attendance support programs, reference checks and criminal record checks, implementation of dress codes, organizational changes, workplace inspections and/or investigations;
- demands for academic excellence or a reasonable quality of work; or
- the reasonable expression of opinions, debate and/or critique of an individual's ideas or work that may be viewed as interpersonal conflict but does not meet the threshold of harassment based on prohibited grounds, sexual harassment and/or personal harassment.
This policy does not limit or amend related provisions of any collective agreement and is not intended to discourage or prevent someone from pursuing a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, Occupational Health and Safety, or via any other legal avenues available.
All Members of the University Community are entitled to a working and learning environment that is free of harassment. The University of Saskatchewan is committed to creating and maintaining a positive, harassment-free environment and will make every reasonable, practicable effort to ensure that no Member of the University Community is subjected to harassment.
Harassment is not limited to these prohibited grounds, and may refer to any repeated conduct, comments, displays, actions or gestures or a single serious occurrence of inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture that has a lasting, harmful effect. These other forms of harassment may include sexual harassment and personal harassment. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Displaying or distributing sexually suggestive or derogatory images or material;
- Offensive, sexist, or sexually suggestive remarks, innuendos, jokes, gestures, or leering;
- Unwanted and unsolicited sexual advances or physical contact;
- Solicitation of sexual activity by expressed/implied promise of reward or threat of reprisal;
- Bullying or hazing;
- Disorderly or abusive conduct or language;
- Spreading malicious rumours;
- Mean-spirited or dangerous pranks or practical jokes;
- Rude, demeaning, intimidating or threatening behaviour;
- Or any other examples identified by the University.
Furthermore, both discrimination and harassment are prohibited by law and will not be tolerated. The university will respond to reports of discrimination and harassment as promptly and effectively as possible and will take appropriate action to prevent and correct behaviour that violates this policy.
The university will protect the confidentiality of individuals and events relating to a complaint or potential complaint to the extent possible, except where disclosure is required by law. The details and particulars of any complaint or potential complaint is not to be disclosed or discussed with any individuals or parties other than those deemed necessary for investigation, disciplinary proceedings or adjudication purposes, and/or as required by law.
All Members of the University Community are responsible for ensuring a work and learning environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. To learn how to prevent, identify and respond to harassment, please visit:
Where the university becomes aware of a health and safety concern, which may jeopardize the safety of campus constituents, the university may take the necessary steps to ensure a safe campus environment.
Following the principles of procedural fairness, the university may take action against anyone whose activities are in violation of the law or of this policy, as being in contravention would constitute discrimination or harassment.
The actions taken may include, but are not limited to:
- disciplinary actions for students under either the Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct or the Standard of Student Conduct in Non-Academic Matters;
- disciplinary action for employees in accordance with the respective collective agreement, employee handbook and/or common law principles;
- legal action that could result in criminal or civil proceedings.
The university may also take action against those who were aware of discrimination or harassment but failed to report it, those who act in a retaliatory manner against a complainant and those who file intentionally false complaints.
Nothing in this Policy is intended to limit the university’s ability to address and/or discipline misconduct, or other inappropriate behaviour, in its role as an employer and/or pursuant to other University policies or procedures and/or collective agreements. Nor does the Policy require the university to engage this Policy or its related procedures where the university determines there are other legal remedies or alternatives which will respond to misconduct or inappropriate behaviour.
Retaliation and Intentionally False Complaints or Misrepresentation of Information
The Policy prohibits acts of retaliation including threats, intimidation, reprisals or adverse employment or education action, against a person who has filed or responded to a complaint and/or participated in any manner in the investigation (e.g. witnesses) or resolution of a report of discrimination or harassment.
Intentionally false accusations of discrimination or harassment (complaints that are made in bad faith) and/or misrepresentation of information (e.g. by complainants, respondents and/or witnesses) related to complaints are also prohibited under the Policy. False complaints and/or misrepresentation of information occur when a person purposefully falsifies the facts or makes accusations maliciously, without regard for the truth. Intentionally dishonest accusations and misrepresentation of information do not include reports made in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report cannot be substantiated by an investigation. Individuals who are found to have engaged in retaliation, made deliberately false accusations of discrimination or harassment and/or intentionally misrepresented information will be subject to corrective and/or disciplinary action.
Allegations that a complaint has been made in bad faith, that information has been intentionally misrepresented and/or that retaliation has occurred may be addressed using the same process as outlined in the accompanying procedures that is used to investigate Complaints of discrimination or harassment.