The Respectful Workplace Intervention provides an effective way to resolve conflicts when they first arise, without resorting to punitive measures. Responsibility for resolving the conflict is placed primarily with the individuals involved. Without a Respectful Workplace process, conflicts too often escalate over time and become more difficult to resolve. Although all employees have a right to address workplace conflicts in a manner which promotes resolution, employees must access this program willingly. Under some circumstances, disciplinary action within the collective agreement framework, will be the appropriate response to an incident of misconduct.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Centre’s Respectful Workplace Program is based on the following values:
- The Golden Rule (Fairness and Balance)
- Positive, Collaborative Employee Relations
- Confidentiality for People and Transparency of Process
- Tolerance and Respect for Differences
- Commitment to Best Practices
- Accountability for all
- Ethical Behavior that Supports Personal Integrity
- Honest, Open and Non-Threatening Communication
- Positive Optimism and Trust
- Safety, Enjoyment and Equality in the Workplace
- A Kinder/Gentler Public Service
Overview of the Guidelines:
Each employee is responsible for conducting themselves within the spirit and intent of this program and for contributing towards a respectful workplace.
Each supervisor, union steward, or manager will foster respectful
behavior in the workplace. If they are aware of disrespectful behavior, they will take appropriate and timely action. Disrespectful
behavior includes abuse or improper use of power and authority, but does not include actions taken in good faith while exercising managerial or supervisory responsibilities.
All complaints of disrespectful behavior will be taken seriously and dealt with in a confidential, impartial, and timely manner. Retaliation against an individual because they have made a complaint is considered unacceptable
behavior and will be dealt with through this program. Malicious complaints or complaints with a specific intention to harm will also be dealt with as unacceptable
behavior and may result in disciplinary action.
Disrespectful behavior occurs along a continuum including interpersonal conflict, misuse of managerial or supervisory authority, discrimination and sexual harassment. This behaviour is generally conduct or comments which:
- might reasonably be considered objectionable or unwelcome
- serves no related work purpose, and,
- has the effect of creating an intimidating, humiliating, hostile or offensive work environment
Personal Harassment policy (revised June, 2001) defines inappropriate
behavior/objectionable conduct as: behavior or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, objectionable or offensive and which includes unwelcome verbal and written remarks, jokes, activities or other inappropriate
behaviors related to personal issues such as:
- race, religion or religious creed
- sex, sexual orientation or marital status
- physical or mental disability
- political opinion and/or
- colour, ethnic, national or social origin
Disrespectful behavior may occur during one incident or over a series of incidents. Some action may not be considered disrespectful unless repeated.
Protection against disrespectful behavior extends to incidents occurring at or away from the workplace during or outside workplace during our outside working hours provided the acts are committed within the course of the employment relationship.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Every employee has a responsibility to create a respectful workplace. The best way to ensure that this happens is to engage in respectful
behavior toward others. The following guidelines describe the responsibilities of the employer, union, supervisors and managers, and employees which are necessary to achieve a respectful workplace.
Employer’s Responsibility -
The Department of Justice and the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Centre (NLYC) are committed to creating, supporting and maintaining a Respectful Workplace Program that focuses on the prevention and resolution of workplace conflicts as they arise.
The Union’s Responsibility -
The three unions at NLYC (NAPE, NLTA, ARNN) are committed to using the Respectful Workplace Program to resolve conflicts, whether between union members or with management. This process will be conducted in a manner that is respectful and supportive of all parties and offer non-punitive resolutions whenever possible. Where it is appropriate, they will refer their members to the Program and follow up to ensure a fair and lasting resolution.
Supervisors’ and Managers’ Responsibilities -
Supervisors and Managers will be relied on to model respectful
behavior. They will take a proactive role to stop disrespectful behavior, challenge inappropriate comments and jokes, and remove offensive visual materials. They will provide support to employees who are experiencing personal intervention or referral to other resources and follow up to ensure a satisfactory resolution. If a supervisor or manager intervenes personally, they will try to understand what has happened, what the impact is on the employee, and what can be done to restore the Centre to a respectful workplace.
Employees’ Responsibilities -
All employees are encouraged to address disrespectful
behavior when it happens, refuse to participate in that behavior, support their colleagues in the face of that
behavior, and be aware of their own role in perpetuating disrespectful
behavior. Laws, regulations, and procedures are important, but do not by
themselves ensure a respectful workplace. Each employee can have a powerful
impact on the environment in which they work.
Internal Contact Responsibilities -
Internal Contacts will be well known to the staff, management, and union stewards. They will receive basic training to enable them to listen to concerns and to help assess options.
Their role will be as follows:
- to respond to an employee in a neutral fashion;
- to identify conflict;
- to discuss options;
- to refer an individual to the Respectful Workplace Co-ordinator when appropriate;
- to refer to other avenues, when appropriate for conflict resolution;
As an internal contact, any infraction will result in the immediate loss of the member’s position.
Internal Committee -
This Committee is a three member Committee consisting of three members, for a period of two(2) years. The members will include a representative from NAPE as appointed by the executive, non-management representative, through an election process and a management representative. This Committee will oversee the representation of internal contact members to ensure the integrity of the administrative functions, the evaluation of the program through statistical analysis of cases, and the performance of internal contacts.
Respectful Workplace Coordinator Responsibilities -
*receiving coaching and consultation to help you resolve the problem
- discuss concerns directly with the other person, with or without the assistance of the Coordinator or an Internal Advisor
- have the Coordinator meet with the other party to determine their perspective
- initiate a mediated resolution
- file a grievance with the union
- file a complaint under the harassment policy
- file a human rights complaint
- seek legal counsel, or
- take no action at this time.
All discussion with a Respectful Workplace coordinator will be kept strictly confidential with exceptions as noted under “Confidentiality”.
Code of Ethics - (Duties & Obligations) :
- A Respectful Workplace Internal Contact, Advisor or Committee Member, further referred to as a Respectful Workplace Member, shall maintain the best interest of the participating staff as the primary obligation.
- A Respectful Workplace Member shall carry out his or her duties and obligations with integrity and objectivity.
- A Respectful Workplace Member shall not exploit the relationship with a participating staff person for personal gain, benefit, or gratification.
- A Respectful Workplace Member shall protect the confidentiality of participating members, unless the information must be released as per the provisions of the Respectful Workplace Program.
- A Respectful Workplace Member shall recognize boundaries and act within the role of contact, respect/protect integrity of the program, focus efforts on assisted problem solving, informed decision making and referrals, and seek consultations when in conflict.
All employees and members of the Respectful Workplace have a responsibility to maintain the confidential nature of the Respectful Workplace process. If the Respectful Workplace Coordinator determines that resolution requires the inclusion of other parties, permission will first be obtained from the primary parties involved. Intervention from the Respectful Workplace Program will be kept confidential unless permission is given for the Respectful Workplace Coordinator to consult with other specific individuals in an attempt to resolve the issues.
Individual participants are encouraged to maintain the confidential nature of the process. Statistical results of an intervention will be reported to the internal committee; however, this information will not include or be traceable to any person.
Confidentiality is superseded by threats of a physical nature or
behaviors that might compromise the safety of an individual, the security of provincial property or reflect potentially harassing situation that demands management action. Where knowledge of a situation may result in personal liability on the part of a member of the Respectful Workplace, they are obligated to contact the Manager of Employee Relations, Human Resources for guidance on managing situation.