Discrimination and Harassment
A big part of professionalism and public relations is treating others
fairly and with respect. It is important that you do this with all
people that you come into contact with while you are on duty.
This is part of your responsibility as a security professional.
Two ways in which people are sometimes treated unfairly are
discrimination and harassment. To discriminate against someone
is to treat them worse or better than someone else. For example,
not renting an apartment to someone just because they are
young, is discrimination
Are there laws about discrimination?
Section 9 of the Canada Human Rights Code (see Appendix B) says
that it is against the law to discriminate against someone on the
basis of such characteristics as the following:
marital or family status
physical or mental disabilities
Discrimination is often the result of stereotyping. To stereotype is to
have fixed ideas about a particular group of people and not to think
about people within the group as individuals. We all form stereotypes.
Think about a situation where a woman and two men apply for a
mechanic job and the woman is more qualified for the job. There is a
stereotype that men are better at fixing cars than women are. This
stereotype becomes discrimination if the employer will not hire the
female mechanic just because she’s a woman. Sometimes people form
very negative stereotypes such as thinking of all people of a certain
group as drunks or as terrorists. These ideas can lead to some very
hurtful and illegal acts of discrimination.
What is harassment?
Harassment is also a way in which people are not treated
with respect. To harass someone is to behave toward that
person in a way that the person finds offensive. If you do
something that offends someone else, then you are guilty of
harassing that person.
This may include such things as telling racist or sexist
jokes, making comments about someone’s body, or putting
pictures of nude people on your workplace wall.
What should I do if I see someone harassing
If you see harassment happening you should take steps to stop it. You may do this
by saying something to the people involved or by observing and reporting.
Remember to carefully record everything you see and hear. This is
important, especially if there is an investigation. You must use your own judgment
about what action to take. For example, if you are working in a mall and you see a
boy making fun of someone with a disability, you may decide to tell him to stop or
ask him to leave. If you hear your supervisor making sexual comments to another
worker at your site you may decide to take notes and report.
It is important to think about any stereotypes that you have, so that you don’t
treat people unfairly based on those stereotypes. People often assume that they
know what someone is like or why someone is doing something, when they really
don’t know at all.
Consider the following. What might it be
easy to assume in each situation?
A teenager does not make eye contact with you when
you are speaking to them.
An elderly woman who uses an oxygen tube to breathe
is sitting in a café with a younger person.
Someone is staggering down a back lane.
Check below for some things that people might think in each of the
situations. Did you come up with some others as well?
In this situation people often assume that the teenager has done something
wrong and is feeling guilty. However the teenager may just be shy or they may be
from a culture where it is not respectful to make eye contact with a person in a
position of authority. If this is the case then the teenager is actually trying to act in
a respectful manner towards you.
People often assume that the woman is not able to speak and make decisions for
herself. Instead of speaking directly to the woman on oxygen, people will often ask
the person who is with her to speak for her.
Usually people assume that someone must be drunk if they are staggering. There
are many other reasons why someone might stagger. Perhaps they have
Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. Someone with low blood sugar, which
can happen with diabetes, may be shaky, weak and confused. Someone may
stagger if they are sick with the flu or if they have been injured.
Example of Harassment Policy
Canadian Security Management, in co-operation with
our employees, is committed to a healthy, harassmentfree work environment for all our employees. Canadian
Security Management has developed a company-wide
policy intended to prevent harassment of any
type, including sexual harassment, of its employees
and to deal quickly and effectively with any incident
that might occur.
Definition of harassment
Harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome verbal or
physical conduct because of race, religious beliefs, colour, place of origin, gender,
mental or physical disability, ancestry, marital status, family status or source of
income. Ontario and Canadian human rights laws prohibit harassment in the
workplace on these grounds.
Examples of harassment which will not be tolerated in Canadian Security
Management are: verbal or physical abuse, threats, derogatory remarks, jokes,
innuendo or taunts about any employee’s appearance, religious beliefs, colour,
place of origin, mental or physical disabilities, ancestry, marital status, family
status, source of income or gender. Canadian Security Management also will not
tolerate the display of pornographic, racist or offensive signs or images; practical
jokes that result in awkwardness or embarrassment; unwelcome invitations or
requests, whether indirect or explicit.
Definition of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment, being discrimination on the grounds of gender, is a violation of the Ontario
Human Rights Code. Unwanted sexual advances, unwanted requests for sexual favours, and other
unwanted verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term of, or condition of, an
individual’s employment; or
submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual affects that individual’s employment.
Sexual harassment can include such things as pinching, patting, rubbing or leering, "dirty"
jokes, pictures or pornographic materials, comments, suggestions, innuendoes, requests or demands
of a sexual nature. The behaviour need not be intentional in order to be considered sexual
All harassment is offensive and in many cases it intimidates others. It will not be tolerated within our
If you are being harassed:
Tell the harasser his/her behaviour is unwelcome and ask him/her to stop.
Keep a record of incidents (date, times, locations, possible witnesses, what
happened, your response). You do not have to have a record of events in order to file
a complaint, but a record can strengthen your case and help you remember details
File a complaint. If, after asking the harasser to stop his/her behaviour, the
harassment continues, report the problem to one of the following individuals:
CSM Project Manager
CSM Vice President Mark King
You also have the right to contact the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to file a
complaint of sexual harassment and, if circumstances warrant it, a charge of assault
may be filed with the police.
B) Dealing with a complaint
Once a complaint is received, it will be kept strictly confidential. An investigation will be undertaken
immediately and all necessary steps taken to resolve the problem. If appropriate, action taken may
Both the complainant and the alleged harasser will be interviewed, as will any individuals who may
be able to provide relevant information. All information will be kept in confidence.
If the investigation reveals evidence to support the complaint of harassment, the harasser will be
disciplined appropriately. Discipline may include suspension or dismissal, and the incident will be
documented in the harasser’s file. No documentation will be placed on the complainant’s file where
the complaint is filed in good faith, whether the complaint is upheld or not.
If the investigation fails to find evidence to support the complaint, there will be no documentation
concerning the complaint placed in the file of the alleged harasser.
Regardless of the outcome of a harassment complaint made in good faith, the employee lodging the
complaint, as well as anyone providing information, will be protected from any form of retaliation by
either co-workers or superiors. This includes dismissal, demotion, unwanted transfer, denial of
opportunities within the company or harassment of an individual as a result of her/his having made a
complaint or having provided evidence regarding the complaint.
C) Responsibility of management
It is the responsibility of a director, manager, or any person within this
company supervising one or more employees to take immediate and
appropriate action to report or deal with incidents of harassment of
any type whether brought to their attention or personally observed.
Under no circumstances should a legitimate complaint be dismissed or
downplayed nor should the complainant be told to deal with it
Canadian Security Management seeks to provide a safe, healthy and
rewarding work environment for its employees. Harassment will not be
tolerated within this company! If you feel you are being
harassed, contact us. We want to hear from you.
Please note: A complaint must be made to the Human Rights Tribunal
of Ontario within one year after the alleged incident.
Don’t let your stereotypes lead you to acts of discrimination
or harassment. If you discriminate against someone or harass
them you may find yourself, your employer, or your client
being investigated by the Canada Human Rights Commission.
Also, charges against someone may be dropped if they can
prove that they were discriminated against. If you start off by
trying to like a person you will do a better job in public