Policy to Address Discrimination and Harassment
(Approved Nov., 2011)
1. These terms will have these meanings in this policy:
a) “Complainant”- An individual who experiences harassment.
b) “Days” - Days irrespective of weekends or holidays.
c) “Member”- All categories of membership defined in the Softball Canada Bylaws, as well as all individuals employed by or engaged in activities with Softball Canada, including but not limited to, athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, directors, officers, team managers, team captains, medical and paramedical personnel, administrators and employees.
d) “Respondent” – An individual to whom a complaint is made against.
2. Softball Canada is committed to providing a sport and work environment that is safe, welcoming, inclusive and respectful. Such an environment does not include or condone discrimination or harassment. Softball Canada recognizes that harassment is a form of discrimination, and like discrimination is prohibited by human rights legislation in Canada. In its extreme forms, harassment can also be an offence under Canada’s Criminal Code.
3. This policy applies to all Members as defined in the Definitions relating to discrimination and harassment that may occur during the course of all Softball Canada business, activities and events.
4. Harassment and discrimination arising within the business, activities and events of clubs, provincial/territorial associations, affiliates or partners of Softball Canada will be dealt with using the policies and mechanisms of such other organizations.
5. In the event of any inconsistency and/or contradiction between this Policy and the Softball Canada Code of Conduct and/or Softball Canada Discipline Policy, the terms of the Softball Canada Code of Conduct and/or Softball Canada Discipline Policy will prevail. For further clarity, a Complainant should file their complaint in accordance with this Policy or the Softball Canada Discipline Policy, but not both.
6. Discrimination is a distinction, based on grounds relating to personal characteristics of an individual or group which, whether intended or not, has the effect of imposing disadvantages on that individual or group not imposed on others, or withholding or limiting access to advantages available to others.
7. Distinctions that constitute discrimination include, but are not limited to:
RaceAncestryPlace of originColorEthnic OriginCitizenshipSexSexual orientationAgeMarital statusFamily statusDisability
8. Harassment is a form of discrimination and takes many forms, but can generally be defined as comment, conduct, or gesture directed toward an individual or group of individuals that is known, or ought to be known, to be unwelcome.
9. Behaviours that constitute harassment include, but are not limited to:
Written or verbal abuse or threats;The display of audio or visual material which is offensive, or which one ought to know is offensive;Unwelcome remarks, jokes, comments, innuendo or taunting about a person`s looks, body, attire, age, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, or abilities;Leering or other suggestive or vulgar gestures;Condescending, paternalistic or patronizing behaviour that undermines self-esteem, diminishes performance, or adversely affects working conditions;Practical jokes that cause awkwardness or embarrassment, endanger a person`s safety, or negatively affect performance;Unwanted physical contact including touching, petting, pinching or kissing;Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, requests, invitations, questions or discussions;Use of homophobic or other derogatory sexual terms;Any form of hazing;Behaviours such as those described above that are not directed towards individuals or groups but that have the effect of creating a negative, hostile or poisoned environment;Criminal conduct such as stalking and physical or sexual assault or abuse; orRetaliation or threats of retaliation against an individual who reports harassment.
10. For the purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
Submitting to or rejecting this conduct is used as the basis for making decisions which affect the individual; orSuch conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual`s performance; orSuch conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or poisoned environment.
Sexist jokes;Display of sexually offensive material;Sexually degrading words used to describe a person;Inquiries or comments about a person’s sex life;Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions;Persistent unwanted contact; orSexual assault.
11. Behaviours that constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
12. Any Member may make a complaint under this Policy to an Official of Softball Canada. For the purposes of this policy, an ‘Official’ is any person in a responsible staff or volunteer position with Softball Canada. Complaints to an Official must be timely (within 30 days of the incident giving rise to the complaint) and must be in writing, signed by the Complainant.
13. Once a complaint is made, the role of the Official is to serve in a neutral capacity in assisting in an informal resolution of the complaint, where this is appropriate.
14. If the Official is unable to assist in an informal resolution of the complaint, or if informal resolution is not appropriate, the Official will report the complaint to the President of Softball Canada, or his/her designate.
15. The President, at his/her sole discretion, may appoint an independent individual to conduct an investigation of the complaint. The Investigator will carry out an investigation in a timely manner and at the conclusion of the investigation will provide a written report. This report will make findings and where the complaint is substantiated, will set forth recommendations for conducting a hearing in order to resolve the complaint.
16. The President may determine that the alleged conduct is of such seriousness as to warrant immediate suspension or removal of the Member pending an investigation, hearing and decision.
Hearing and Decision
17. Where the Investigator recommends, or the President immediately directs, that a hearing take place, such hearing will occur in a timely manner, using fair procedures that afford all parties an opportunity to make representations to a Panel of three impartial decision-makers appointed by the President of Softball Canada. The format, timelines and procedures for the hearing will be at the discretion of the Panel. The Panel has an obligation to ensure a timely procedure that respects the principles of procedural fairness at all times.
18. The Panel will consider the evidence of the Parties, relevant witnesses, and the Investigator’s findings (if an investigation was conducted) in making its decision and will issue a written decision. The decision of the Panel will take effect immediately and will be final and binding on all parties.
19. Where the Respondent acknowledges the facts of the incident, they may waive the hearing, in which case the Panel will determine the appropriate disciplinary sanction. The Panel may hold a hearing for the purpose of determining an appropriate sanction.
20. Discipline sanctions that may be imposed by the Panel include the following, singly or in combination, depending on the nature and severity of the case:
Verbal or written apology;Letter of reprimand;Removal of certain privileges of membership;Suspension from membership for a defined period of time;Indefinite suspension from membership to be reviewed at a future time;Termination of membership or employment;Publication of the decision;Any other sanction that the Panel considers appropriate under the circumstances.
21. Unless the Panel decides otherwise, any sanctions applied will take effect immediately.
22. Failure to comply with a sanction as determined by the Panel will result in automatic suspension of membership in Softball Canada until such time as the sanction is fulfilled.
23. Harassment and discrimination complaints arising during competition may be dealt with immediately by a Softball Canada representative in a position of authority. In such instances, disciplinary sanctions will be for the duration of the event only. Further sanctions may be applied but only after a review of the matter in accordance with the procedures in this policy. This review does not replace the appeal provisions of this policy.
24. Notwithstanding the procedures set out in this policy, any person to whom this policy applies who is convicted of an offense under Section 5 of the Criminal Code of Canada (Sexual Offenses, Public Morals and Disorderly Conduct), or is convicted of a similar offense of sexual nature, will face automatic suspension from Softball Canada for a period of time corresponding to the length of their criminal sentence, and may face further disciplinary action by Softball Canada in accordance with this policy.
25. Softball Canada recognizes the sensitive nature of discrimination, harassment and member discipline and will strive to keep all matters relating to a complaint confidential. However, if required by law to disclose information, or in the best interest of the public, Softball Canada will do so. It is also the policy of Softball Canada to allow publication of the decision of the Panel, where the Panel directs publication as part of its decision.
26. If at any point during the proceedings under this policy, the Complainant becomes reluctant to continue, it will be at the sole discretion of Softball Canada to continue the review of the complaint in accordance with this policy. In such instances, Softball Canada will take the place of the Complainant.
27. An individual who is sanctioned under this Policy may appeal, in accordance with Softball Canada’s Appeal Policy.