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Respectful Workplace Program (RWP) - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is RWP
  2. What is a respectful workplace?
  3. What is disrespectful behaviour?
  4. How can managers ensure a respectful workplace?
  5. What are employees' responsibilities in creating a respectful workplace?
  6. What services do RWP Coordinators provide?
  7. What should I do if I am accused of disrespectful behavior?
  8. What should I do if I observe disrespectful behavior?
  9. What happens in a mediation?
  10. What information will the RWP Coordinator provide in response to an inquiry from Human Resources or the manager involved regarding the status of a specific case?
  11. What information will the RWP Coordinator provide in response to a status inquiry from Human Resources or the manager, in situations where an employee has asked that a formal process (i.e. an appeal or complaint) be held in abeyance while the parties attempt to resolve the matter with RWP's assistance and the client has not been in contact with the RWP Coordinator?
  12. What background information is required from Human Resources or the manager when they are making the referral?
  13. What type of feedback will the RWP Coordinator provide to the person making the referral?
  14. Is the Service Agreement the same for situations where an RWP Coordinator is working with two people and with a larger group?
  15. Will the RWP Coordinator require written documentation that a formal process is on hold?
  16. What type of written information does the RWP Coordinator keep on file?

1. What is RWP?

The Respectful Workplace Program (RWP) was developed to provide individuals, work groups, and departments with healthy options to resolve workplace conflict.

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2. What is a respectful workplace?

A respectful workplace is one that values:

  • diversity and the human rights of others related to their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status, family status, any physical or mental disability and sexual orientation;
  • the dignity of the person;
  • courteous and considerate behaviour toward others;
  • positive communication between people;
  • collaborative working relationships;
  • safety from disrespectful, discriminating, bullying and harassing behaviour; and
  • supports individuals to learn and practice dispute resolution and respectful workplace skills.

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3. What is disrespectful behaviour?

Disrespectful behaviour includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • damaging gossip or rumours;
  • offensive or inappropriate remarks, gestures, material or behaviour;
  • inappropriate jokes or cartoons including racial or ethnic slurs;
  • yelling;
  • belittling;
  • reprimanding in the presence of others;
  • aggressive or patronizing behaviour;
  • embarrassing or humiliating behaviour;
  • discrimination as defined under human rights legislation;
  • sexual harassment;
  • unwarranted physical contact; and
  • covert behaviour, i.e. inappropriately withholding information, undermining, underhandedness.

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4. How can managers ensure a respectful workplace?

  • model respectful behaviour;
  • recognize and value diversity in the workplace;
  • create an environment that supports the resolution of respectful workplace issues;
  • inform employees that the work environment is one based on respect;
  • orient all employees to government’s Respectful Workplace Program and other relevant programs and policies including the Harassment and Discrimination Free Workplace policy;
  • educate and train all supervisors and employees regarding a respectful workplace; and
  • monitor the workplace to ensure respectful behaviour is practiced.

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5. What are employees' responsibilities in creating a respectful workplace?

  • treat others with respect;
  • set an example by respecting the dignity and human rights of all employees and members of the public;
  • refuse to participate in actions that offend, embarrass or humiliate others;
  • raise disrespectful conduct with the employee displaying it or with a person in authority as soon as possible. If you witness disrespectful behavior you may approach the individuals involved;
  • do not make allegations of disrespectful behavior that are frivolous or vindictive;
  • make every effort to resolve respectful workplace issues, where possible in an informal manner; and
  • become familiar with the Harassment and Discrimination Free Workplace Policy or the policy of their employer on harassment and respect in the workplace.

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6. What services do RWP Coordinators provide?

The RWP Coordinator encourages involved parties to assess all conflict resolution options and to decide which steps, if any, they might wish to pursue. These include but are not limited to:

  • Consultations;
  • Conflict Coaching;
  • Mediations and Multi-Party Mediations;
  • Facilitated Discussions;
  • Group/Team Interventions;
  • Training;
  • Harassment Related Services; and
  • Capacity Building.

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7. What should I do if I am accused of disrespectful behavior?

If your behaviour becomes the focus of an RWP discussion, you are encouraged to become involved to help resolve the conflict. Be willing to listen to what the problem is about. Try to be open to the other person’s perspective and see if there could be a misunderstanding. Something that you consider to be humorous, for example, may be offensive to someone else. Consider the impact of your actions on the other person and be willing to make reasonable changes that could make a difference. You are encouraged to discuss your concerns with your supervisor and/or manager, union steward, Human Resources and/or the RWP Coordinator. They will assist you to determine what you can do to help bring about a resolution. All discussions with the RWP Coordinator will be confidential and no action will be taken without your approval.

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8. What should I do if I observe disrespectful behavior?

If you observe someone else being treated in a humiliating, degrading or disrespectful manner, offer them your support by informing them of their options and the conflict resolution services available to them. It is important to encourage them to bring their concerns to the attention of the other party or another person (supervisor and/or manager, union steward, Human Resources and/or RWP Coordinator) who can help bring resolution to the situation. If your offer is accepted, help the person assess their options and get connected with the appropriate person. If your offer is refused because the person may feel intimidated or afraid to take action, you are encouraged to discuss the incident with your supervisor and/or manager, union steward, Human Resources and/or RWP Coordinator.

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9. What happens in a mediation?

To access information regarding a mediation, please see Mediation Information (23 KB).

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10. What information will the RWP Coordinator provide in response to an inquiry from Human Resources or the manager involved regarding the status of a specific case?

The onus is on the client to keep relevant persons informed of the status of the case. With the prior consent of the client, the RWP Coordinator will however, provide a verbal update on the status of the case only with regard to if RWP has been or is involved with the case and if it has been resolved or not. Should additional information be requested, the RWP Coordinator will advise the person inquiring to contact the parties directly.

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11. What information will the RWP Coordinator provide in response to a status inquiry from Human Resources or the manager, in situations where an employee has asked that a formal process (i.e. an appeal or complaint) be held in abeyance while the parties attempt to resolve the matter with RWP's assistance and the client has not been in contact with the RWP Coordinator?

If the RWP Coordinator is unable to contact the client, the RWP Coordinator will notify the person inquiring that the client cannot be reached and that the informal RWP process has ended.

Fundamentally, it is the responsibility of the parties to provide timely information and updates. While RWP Coordinators will respond to inquiries from Human Resources and the manager, it is not the role of the RWP Coordinators to inform them that the RWP process has concluded. The responsibility to keep others informed remains with the parties, not with the RWP Coordinator.

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12. What background information is required from Human Resources or the manager when they are making the referral?

Detailed background information from the person making the referral is not necessary. The RWP Coordinator will ask the parties involved in the conflict for the details of their situation.

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13. What type of feedback will the RWP Coordinator provide to the person making the referral?

No feedback is provided to the person making the referral. The RWP Coordinator will refer such inquiries to the parties involved. If the inquiry is with regard to the status of the file and prior consent has been obtained from the parties, the RWP Coordinator will confirm if the RWP process has been concluded and whether the matter was resolved through RWP.

When RWP has been invited to work with a group, the RWP Coordinator will discuss with the group what information will be reported back and to whom at the conclusion of the group session. Information reported back may include whether the session was successful in resolving the group's issues or not and what the next steps could be.

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14. Is the Service Agreement the same for situations where an RWP Coordinator is working with two people and with a larger group?

Yes, if the dispute resolution process involves two or more parties, they will all be asked to sign a Service Agreement. It should be noted that if Human Resources or another individual accompanies the parties, they will also be required to sign or initial relevant sections of the Service Agreement.

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15. Will the RWP Coordinator require written documentation that a formal process is on hold?

No, the RWP Coordinator will assume that information provided by the parties is accurate.

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16. What type of written information does the RWP Coordinator keep on file?

The RWP Coordinator will keep on file only the information necessary to professionally manage the RWP process. Each file will be given a code and typically will contain an intake document covering basic statistical information, a Service Agreement, a Settlement Agreement if applicable, any written material submitted by the parties (see paragraph below) and any pertinent notes taken during the process.

If one or all of the parties involved in a dispute have provided the RWP Coordinator with written material, this information may be retained in a file for a prescribed period of time according to the Employee Assistance and Respectful Workplace Division’s Records and Retention Schedule. The Access to Information and Privacy Act (ATIPP) and the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) requires that all written information (including electronic messages) be retained as well. Written material provided to the RWP Coordinator by clients may be released if it is the subject of an access to information or a privacy request. Standards set by PHIA would also have to be upheld.

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