British Columbia Provincial Council of Carpenters
Sexual Harassment Policy
The British Columbia Provincial Council of Carpenters and its affiliates recognize sexual harassment as an occupational health and safety matter, and believe that one of the basic rights of women workers is the right to a safe and healthy work environment free from sexual harassment or any other abuse. If working conditions are not appropriate for women, they are not appropriate for work.
Sexual harassment is any unwanted attention of a sexual nature, such as remarks about appearance or personal life, offensive written or visual actions like graffiti or degrading pictures, physical contact of any kind, or sexual demands. It can be either on a one-time basis or in a continuous series of incidents, however minor.
Harassment is not a joke. It creates feelings of uneasiness, humiliation, and discomfort. Therefore, the union finds any such behaviour unacceptable and intolerable, regardless of the perpetrator. It is coercive, cruel, and destructive behaviour against others that can have devastating effects. Harassment, by co-workers in particular, is contrary to our basic union principles of solidarity and equality.
Harassment can be defined as any unwelcome action by any person; in particular, by management, customer or client, and/or co-worker, whether verbal or physical, on a single or repeated basis, which humiliates, insults, or degrades.
Unwelcome or unwanted in this context means any actions that the harasser knows or ought reasonably to know are not desired by the victim of the harassment.
Our goal as a union must be to help create a workplace environment free of harassment. That means not only dealing with complaints when they arise, but also watching for instances of harassment and confronting the source. The role of the local union is crucial in combating harassment. If a worker believes that he or she is being harassed at work and wants help, the incident must be brought to the immediate attention of the job steward and the local union president.
The experience of harassment can be overwhelming for the victim. People often react with shock, humiliation, and intense anger. Therefore, the victim of harassment may not always feel comfortable going through the normal channels for resolving such a problem.
It is the responsibility of management to ensure that the workplace is free of harassment. Because of the sensitive, personal nature of sexual harassment complaints, the victim may prefer initially to seek other assistance. This could be any local union elected person or official, including members of the womens committee, human rights committee, or affirmative action committee. This person could assist the harassment victim in bringing the incident(s) to the attention of the local union, which will immediately contact all parties who have the responsibilities for ensuring the workplace remains harassment-free.
A prompt resolution of a harassment complaint will reflect the serious nature of such acts, and send a clear signal that they will not be tolerated.
Sexual harassment is any unwanted verbal, physical, or gestural sexual advances, explicit derogatory statements, or sexually discriminatory remarks made by someone which are offensive to the worker involved, which cause the worker to feel threatened, humiliated, patronized, or harassed, or which interfere with the workers job performance, undermine job security, or create a threatening or intimidating work environment.
Sexual harassment encompasses a wide range of unwanted sexual advances, including:
· unnecessary physical contact, touching, or patting;
· suggestive and unwelcome remarks, jokes, comments about appearance, and deliberate verbal abuse;
· leering appearance or compromising invitations;
· use of pornographic pictures in the workplace;
· demands or offers for sexual favours;
· physical assault.
Guidelines for Dealing with Harassment
As a Victim:
1. Dont ignore it, and dont feel guilty.
2. Communicate to your harasser that the behaviour is objectionable and unwelcome. Ask the harasser to stop. You may want to have a union representative with you.
3. Warn the harasser that any continuation will not be ignored.
4. Seek support from a union steward or representative. All cases of harassment should be reported.
5. Keep a record of each incident (date, time, location, possible witness, what was said, what occurred).
6. Determine from co-workers whether they have been victims of similar behaviour.
7. If applicable, seek advice from the union representative about filing a grievance.
8. In the case of physical assault, victims should immediately report the incident to the appropriate authorities.
As the Union Steward, Representative, or Designated Member:
1. Follow the same ground rules you would use to investigate any grievance.
2. Be supportive and patient while documenting the case.
3. Maintain confidentiality and act as rapidly as possible.
4. When applicable, use the grievance procedure.
5. If the harasser is a Carpenters Union member, confront that person with the evidence, seek redress for the victim, and make the sexual harassment policy available.
6. Educate the membership on the subject, and outline constitutional provisions that may apply.
As the Local Union:
1. Ensure that members are aware of the anti-harassment policy.
2. Educate members, stewards, and officers on the issue at every opportunity.
3. Negotiate protective language in the contract to define harassment, including a complaint/ grievance procedure in cases of harassment and guarantees that the harasser not the victim should suffer the consequences of such inappropriate actions.
Provincial Council\Provincial Council Policy\SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY 2002-03
Sexual Harassment Policy
Diversity training appropriate for our union by Len Embree
Having the opportunity to converse with some of the participants of a diversity training course initiated some thought on my part as to where our union stands on this important issue.
The particular course in question was sponsored by the Trail Multicultural Society, and had participants from a cross section of the community. Participants were varied in background and gender.
What became obvious to me after some considerable discussion was how appropriate it is for our union to be dealing with these issues. Even the most cursory examination shows how the face of our union has changed over the years.
Especially in - but not restricted to - the Lower Mainland, our union represents workers from all cultural backgrounds. The issue of gender also is very mainstream in our union. Not only do we have an increase in female construction carpenters, but an increase in industrial organizing means a much more representative membership as far as gender is concerned.
My own Local, Castlegar 2300, spent a very interesting and informative morning learning about diversity training at a stewards course put on by the Provincial Council Education Committee at the end of March. Julie Morrison and her friend Beryl Clayton took the stewards through an hour and a half of discussion and exercises to demonstrate how to identify and combat sexism and racism on the job site.
The following legislative quiz, part of diversity training, is very informative and should prove educational for all our union members.
Considering that the government initiatives around the province all include some form of employment equity as well as minimal skill levels to be eligible for employment, it seems fairly obvious that our union has to do a better job of educating our members on these issues. Couple this with the fact that some of the government agencies have been somewhat reticent to date in enforcing their own policies, and it makes our responsibility even greater.
It seems to me that our union not only has to advocate these issues on behalf of our present members but also, if we hope to have real success in organizing that huge cross section of unemployed workers, has to carry our responsibility into that sector as well. To that end, the Education Committee is looking at expanding the harassment and human rights section of steward training as well as including a diversity component in other training courses offered by the Union.
Knowledge of Human Rights Legislation
Is each of the following statements true or false?
1. To protect themselves from sexual harassment complaints, organizations should have policies to discourage sexual relationships between people working for the same organization.
False. There is no legislation that puts restrictions on relationships in the organization; however, there have been some organizations that have prohibited relationships in certain job positions.
2. In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a black man who complained that a Montreal tavern had harassed him because of his colour and race.
False. There were no laws prohibiting harassment in 1939. In 1989 the Supreme court of Canada handed down its first decision about sexual harassment in a case called Janzen and Govereau v. Platy Enterprises.
3. The employer is in the best position to eliminate harassment.
True. The employer can set policy, role model, educate, and intervene to stop harassment.
4. Jokes that identify people by their ethnicity, race religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation are okay as long as no one complains.
False. Yesterday, discriminatory jokes may have been an acceptable part of the workplace, or only a few had the courage to speak out against them. Today, many people find them offensive and believe they create a poisoned work environment.
5. Someone is telling a joke about a particular group. You are offended by the joke; however, it isnt aimed at you personally. You can still claim a poisoned work environment according to BC Human Rights legislation.
False. Unless the joke is aimed at you, you dont have a Human Rights case; however, the question is, does the joke adversely affect the work environment for you?
6. Employees who are disciplined because they respond to harassment from clients or customers do not have a legitimate complaint.
False. Mohammed v. Mariposa Stores: Ms. Mohammed was racially harassed by a customer and responded accordingly. When she told her supervisor, she was laid off. The BC Council ruled that by disciplining the employee, the employer was condoning discriminatory conduct. Her termination was ruled a violation of the BC Human Rights Act re employee harassment.
7. Employers are liable for acts of harassment at the workplace although they may not have know about them.
True. Robichaud v. Canada (Treasury Board). Ms. Robichaud was coerced into sexual contact with her supervisor. The Review Tribunal found the situation quid pro quo made a poisoned work environment. The DND argued that they should not be held responsible for the harassment; however, the supervisor and the DND were found liable for the harassment.
8. Individuals who harass at work aren't liable and can't be required to pay damages to the person they have harassed.
False. The BC Council of Human Rights can order an employer and/or the person who discriminated to compensate the person discriminated against for lost wages or expenses incurred because of the harassment.
9. In BC there is a limit to the amount of damages that can be paid to a complainant for hurt and humiliation.
False. There used to be a limit of $2,000, but since 1991 there is no longer a limit.
10. Employers are liable for harassment and for failing to ensure the workplace is harassment free with respect to all forms of discrimination prohibited under human rights legislation.
True. A woman in a non-traditional occupation was subjected to differential treatment and harassment. She faced remarks such as "This is a man's job," and "Women should be home doing the dishes;" and comments were made about her washroom habits. Her settlement was over $100,000 and the organization was instructed to set up a harassment policy and define procedures for investigation. In our own industry, Chalifour Brothers Construction was ordered to pay $18,000 to Vancouver carpenter-lather Karen Burton for allowing sexual discrimination to continue in the workplace after it was brought to their attention several times.
11. Employers are liable for harassment of customers and clients by employees.
True. A long-distance bus driver asked two Metis passengers whether they had been drinking, and searched their luggage. The driver was in violation of the customer's human rights. The bus company voluntarily offered a settlement, letters of apology, and assurances of counseling for the driver on the company's policy.
12. Harassment has to be repeated incidents of offensive behavior.
False. Wilgan v. Wendy's Restaurants (BC Council of Human Rights). Even though the harassment in each case was a single incident, the Council found that sexual harassment had occurred and the conduct need not be repeated.
13. Employers who act to prevent sexual harassment and deal with harassment complaints effectively may avoid facing damages.
True. CNR v. Phil R. Phil R., a black employee, had his locker and contents destroyed with black paint. His immediate supervisor investigated, found nothing, but spoke about company policy to two employees who were known for making "racial slurs." He also asked CNR security to investigate. Because of his actions, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal held that the employer had met the requirements of the Act and could not be held liable.
14. Employer action should include: clear policies that define and prohibit harassment, swift and effective procedures for complaints, and the encouragement of employees to report sexual harassment. Those measures are sufficient.
False. Actions should also include remedial action against harassers and education of all employees, managers, and supervisors.
15. Employees who have been harassed have the choice of using the appropriate internal channels or going to their provincial Human Rights Branch.
True and false. Provincial Human Rights will wait for the organization to investigate internally and take action first.
16. Human rights legislation is intended to be punitive.
False. It is intended to be remedial. It should attempt to fix the situation.
17. The burden of proof to establish they did not engage in harassment lies with the respondents.
False. The burden of proof lies with the complaintant to establish that the respondent has engaged in sexual harassment.
18. Settlements of sexual harassment cases are "small potatoes."
False. Ontario 1992 case Shaw v Levac Supply cost the company $48,000. See question ten for an even larger settlement.
19. A respondent accused of harassment can file a malicious prosecution suit against a complaintant and has a good chance of winning the case.
False. The BC Council of Human Rights found that bringing a malicious prosecution suit (in the case of Haight v Tantrum) was a violation of the Human Rights Act because its purpose was to intimidate.
20. About 50 per cent of women experience sexual harassment during their working career, and 10 per cent of men.
False. According to the 1989 study conducted by the BC Federation of Labour, 90 per cent of women and 30 per cent of men experience workplace harassment at some time or other.
British Columbia Provincial Council of Carpenters Standard Agreement
12.01 Sexual Harassment
The Union and the Employer recognize the right of the member to work in an environment free from sexual harassment.
ALLIED HYDRO AGREEMENT
20.600 Sexual Harassment
20.601 The Employer, Council, Affiliated Unions and contractors agree that the workplace should be free from sexual harassment.
20.602 The Employer and Council agree to develop a complaint procedure to handle allegations of sexual harassment.
Columbia Hydro Constructors Ltd. and Allied Hydro Council of B.C.
POLICY AGAINST HARASSMENT
CHC/AHC Collective Agreement contains language which prohibits any type of harassment or discrimination amongst employees, contractors, management personnel, consultants and owners. The purpose of this policy is to promote a work environment on which all employees are treated with respect and dignity and are free from harassment. Any violation of this policy will be treated as a disciplinary matter, including possible dismissal.
What is Harassment?
. harassment related to an individual's race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), political belief, national origin, ancestry, age, religion, disability, citizenship status or any other group protected by law.
. offensive visual conduct, including pictures, cartoons. drawings or photographs or other communications, including video tape, e-mail, internet programs or websites.
. offensive physical conduct, including touching, staring and blocking, regardless of the gender of the individuals involved.
. threatening reprisals of an employee's refusal to respond to requests for sexual favours or for reporting a violation to this policy.
How Do I Report Incidents of Harassment?
If you feel you are being harassed by an other employee or by anyone else, you should tell that individual how you feel and tell them to stop. If the harassment continues, you should immediately report the matter to one of the following:
. your Crew Leader;
. the site superintendent for the contractor you are assigned to;
. the CHC representative for your site;
. an AHC representative;
. a Union Business Representative.
Your complaint will be kept as confidential as possible. Retaliation, in any form, will not be tolerated.
What Happens to Employees Who Violate This Policy?
Violation of CHC/AHC's Policy Against Harassment will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.
The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union believes that every individual has the right to dignity, respect, and the right to be treated fairly both within the Union and in the workplace. This policy applies to all persons under the jurisdiction of the CEP and all persons employed by the National Union. As an employer, the CEP will be consistent with this policy.
Harassment is not a joke. It creates feelings of uneasiness, humiliation and discomfort. Therefore, the CEP finds any such behaviour unacceptable and intolerable, regardless of the perpetrator.
IFBWW Campaign: Women and Sexual Harassment
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwanted verbal, physical or gestural sexual advances, explicit derogatory statements, or sexually discriminatory remarks made by someone which are offensive to the worker involved, which cause the worker to feel threatened, humiliated, patronised harassed, or which interfere with the worker's job performance, undermine job security or create a threatening or intimidating work environment.
* Sexual harassment encompasses a wide range of unwanted sexual advances including;
* unnecessary physical contact, touching or patting
* suggestive and unwelcome remarks, jokes, comments about appearance and deliberate verbal abuse
* leering appearance and compromising invitations
* use of pornographic pictures at the workplace
* demands for sexual favours
* physical assault
source: International Labour Office
from THE DENVER ROCKY MOUNTIAN NEWS August 10, 2000
Female electricians master trade secrets of a man's world
By Amber Batson Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer
Instead of putting on lipstick and high heels before heading to work, Melinda Aberle, Pamela Jones, Jennifer Pellitteri and Carol Russell grab their tool belts, ear plugs and hard hats.
Forget sitting at a desk all day. These women would much rather be at job sites pulling wire, laying pipe and doing tenant finish work.
"There is no sitting down," Russell, 48, says. "I get out of the car running. I throw on my tool belt and it's a nonstop thing for the rest of the day."
Of 90 electricians employed at Quality Electric in Denver, these four women are the lone females.
Pellitteri and Aberle are first-year apprentices, Russell is a second-year
apprentice and Jones is a journeyman. The women make $30,000 to $40,000 a year.
They are among a growing but still small number of women working in a field long dominated by men. In 1998, about 1.6 percent of the nation's electricians were women.
Working as electricians for million-dollar projects such as the FlatIron Crossing mall, Lowry Lofts and Legacy High School, Aberle, Jones, Pellitteri and Russell agree that it takes a certain mental and physical toughness to do work typically done by men.
But they welcome the challenge and say the construction industry has a lot to offer women.
"I go to work with a positive attitude because I know every day there will be a new challenge and I will go home feeling better about myself," Aberle, 28, says.
With new homes and office buildings springing up left and right, construction has become one of the economy's largest industries, leading to labor shortages and a growing demand for workers.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, the industry needs to attract 240,000 new workers each year to keep up with demand.
"The Denver marketplace is one of the top in the country for construction," according to Rex Weidersphan, president of Quality Electric. "We've got electricians making between $60,000 and $80,000 a year, and we still can't fill the positions."
Women, who make up 46 percent of America's workforce, account for only 9 percent of building industry workers. Weidersphan says working conditions for women have improved significantly.
For the most part, the women at Quality say the days of working twice as hard to be considered half as good are gone.
"My first day on the job I got a lot of attention, but I didn't let it bother me," says Pellitteri, 26. "You have to maintain a professional attitude because you are there to do a job.
"You have to hold your own. Once they see that you can do the job just as good as they can, you are treated just like another one of the guys."
One of the biggest benefits of working in construction is that most people
can enter the industry without a college degree or any formal training after high school and still make big bucks. Foremen can earn up to $80,000 a year, while senior project managers can take home $150,000 or more, plus benefits.
Weidersphan says these days, equal work means equal pay.
"There are not a lot of occupations that women can go into untrained and have the potential of making between $50,000 and $70,000 in as little as five to eight years. There is no glass ceiling in construction."
Those entering construction can go through an apprenticeship training program that usually consists of four to five years of paid, on-the-job training and 144 hours or more of related classroom instruction.
Another benefit to working in the construction industry is that opportunities for workers to form their own businesses are better than in many other industries.
But every job has its ups and downs, and for construction workers, the biggest complaints tend to be long hours, strenuous physical activity and weather conditions.
"This is not a job for everyone, and you'll know within a short period of time if it's for you or not," says Russell.
Jones, 43, agrees.
"You have to be very dedicated, and you can't give up no matter how tough it gets if you are certain this is what you want to do. The work is very rewarding, and seeing the end result of each project makes you feel good and gives you a sense of accomplishment," she says.
Aberle believes the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
"This is a job you can do until you die. Plus, you stay in shape and you can find a job anywhere. It's not an easy job, but there is nothing to be afraid of ??? unless you are scared of heights," she joked.
And while some women frown on breaking a sweat in the summer heat or freezing in the winter chill, Aberle says those are the least of her worries. "Honestly, the worst part of the job is having to use the Porta Pottis!"