Prima Facie Case

Does the complaint, on the face of it, meet the definition of harassment? In other words, if proven, would the allegation or situation amount to harassment according to the definition? If the answer is yes, law uses the Latin term “prima facie” to describe the case. Of course, the case is not proven at this […]

What is evidence?

Evidence Is information that is admissible proof of the facts in issue. It is usually something that can be perceived by the senses. It can be seen, heard, felt, tested or smelled. The stronger the evidence, the stronger the belief in the existence of the fact. In most workplace harassment cases, statements, including statements from […]

Types of Evidence

Direct Leading directly to the fact in issue. Direct evidence includes: Statements by the parties and witnesses who were present. “Eye witnesses” or persons who were present at the time of the facts in dispute Physical evidence (pictures, paper and electronic documents), for example, a video of the respondent putting offensive graffiti on the complainant’s […]

Understanding Evidence

An effective investigation gathers sufficient evidence to prove or disprove the material facts leading to a conclusion as to whether or not workplace harassment occurred. The evidence must be weighed according to its type and a determination made on a balance of probabilities.  

Preparing for Interviews

The person or person(s) selected to do the investigation should be objective. They should not be the alleged source of harassment and should not be under the direct control of that person. The investigator should be familiar with circumstances surrounding the situation including: Details of the allegations (sometimes some or all of these are not […]

The Interview

Put your subject at ease. It’s an interview not an interrogation. Before formally beginning, greet your subject pleasantly. Engage in small talk; the weather or the subject’s commute to the interview location are good ice breaker topics. As an introduction, indicate your authority to conduct the interview (reference your policy, procedures, practices etc.), and note […]

Interview Record

Records of all interviews should be retained and maintained. Digital audio recorders are relatively inexpensive and have the advantage of playback, track marking (noting the location of particularly relevant statements) and the creation of digital files, which can be stored electronically. Recording statements by hand or with a laptop or computer are acceptable alternatives. Each […]

A Short Guide to Creating a Workplace Harassment Policy and Program

Workplace harassment can undermine a person’s dignity. It can prevent workers from doing their jobs effectively. Workplace harassment, left unchecked, has the potential to escalate into violent behaviour. All workers are entitled to a safe and healthy workplace. Occupational health and safety laws require workplaces to have workplace harassment policies and programs. A policy is […]