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Serious insight for serious situations.

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Fact or Fiction: The Truth about Workplace Mediation

Workplace mediation is quickly becoming a sought-after method by which to restore the workplace following an investigation or in some cases to avoid a formal investigation altogether. More frequently, it is being included in the dispute resolution mechanisms and policies in many organizations and institutions. Unfortunately, however, there is still some confusion about what mediation is and what it is not which has led to some resistance in the utilization of the process. Here are some commonly held views which are thought to be fact but are actually fiction.

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Think you’re off the hook to investigate? Not so fast

As investigators we know that an employer’s duty to investigate – while necessary to ensure a healthy and safe working environment – can also be cumbersome, expensive, and a significant strain on an organization’s resources. When an employee leaves the workplace and then files a complaint of harassment or discrimination, employers can be quick to try and avoid the investigation on the basis that an employment relationship no longer exists. Two recent cases – one from the Ontario Grievance Settlement Board and one from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal – suggest that employers need to slow down and consider some factors before dismissing a former employee’s complaints.

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Investigating The Invisible: Examining Subtle Racial Discrimination (Part 2)

The concept of a “microaggression” has received significant attention in recent years, and was explored more fully in a previous post. At its core, a microaggression is a subtle, often unintentional, behaviour that is rooted in stereotypes about marginalized groups. Despite the absence of ill will, microaggressions in the workplace can nonetheless amount to discrimination or harassment.

However, the challenge for investigators arises in determining whether a seemingly innocuous comment or action was motivated by a discriminatory stereotype or bias. When examining such allegations, investigators may wish to rely on the broader context and circumstantial evidence in arriving at their conclusions.

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Building Safety in Sport – Lessons in Shifting Culture

I am the Harassment and Discrimination Officer for my community sport club. Unlike my club peers who volunteered for the board of directors or fundraising committee and who are busy organizing weekly bake sales, seeking sponsors and promoting online fundraising campaigns, my volunteer role has required little of my time. But that is likely changing and for a good reason. Amateur sport in Canada is undergoing a cultural transformation, specifically around safety in sport and the creation of a safe environment for all participants, particularly children.

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