Staff Report #5
August 28, 2019
To All Commissioners
Re: Harassment and Discrimination – Third Party Review Update
The report be NOTED and FILED.
In April 2018, the Commission directed administration to utilize a third party to implement a process to:
- Conduct an intake of complaints and, where appropriate, conduct investigations of any individual harassment and/or discrimination allegations; and
- Conduct an assessment of LTC’s program and practices relating to harassment and discrimination. This includes getting feedback in a variety of ways from employees on their experiences relating to the program and a top to bottom review of policies.
Rubin Thomlinson has completed the review of policies and practices relating to harassment and discrimination, which included an assessment of the workplace culture at LTC. That process included both a survey and in-person interviews, providing participants to raise general concerns without triggering an investigation. In total, 780 surveys were direct mailed to all current LTC employees, including those on leave, as well as all of those who have left employment at LTC within the previous two years. Rubin Thomlinson received 137 completed surveys (17.6% response rate) and conducted 19 interviews, the data from which was compiled and relied upon to arrive at the recommendations.
As noted in the summary report (see Enclosure I), the information included in the report represents the subjective experience of the individuals who participated and has not been tested. The material is presented in a manner to ensure commentary is not attributed to a particular employee, nor has material been presented at a level of detail that might allow a specific individual to be identified as the source of the information.
On August 21, 2019, the final report was received by administration, and as noted in Enclosure I, includes seven recommendations related to the most commonly cited issues as well as those that Rubin Thomlinson believes will have the greatest impact overall. A high level summary of the recommendations is set out below.
- Share the process results with employees
- Complete an internal policy review, with attention directed at ensuring clear distinction between the various LTC policies. Additionally consideration should be given to the creation of a flowchart to better explain the steps in each of the related processes.
- Continue to make the work associated with the Expect Respect campaign a priority.
- Ensure that all managers and investigators are clear with respect to their roles and responsibilities relating to formal investigation processes, and ensure that employees involved in the process are provided with regular communications regarding the status of same.
- Consider a number of clarifications with respect to the current investigation processes including:
- Ensuring all investigators have received appropriate training
- Ensuring that appointed investigators can be neutral and do not have a real or perceived conflict of interest based on a personal or reporting relationship with one or both of the parties
- Allowing bargaining unit employees the option of having union representation during the investigation
- Ensuring both investigators (union and management) are present for all investigation interviews
- Provide complainants and respondents the opportunity to review and respond to relevant evidence during the investigative process prior to findings being made
- Amending the appeal process to ensure that the party signing off on the investigation is not the one hearing the appeal
- Provide management with training specifically focused on the use of respectful language within a diverse workplace as well as managing difficult conversations and respectful leadership.
- Provide both parties with meaningful written communication relating to the investigation process and findings, and provide annual summaries of the number and nature of complaints received to interested employees.
The only recommendation that has been acted upon at time of report writing is number 1. LTC employees, via internal communication screens, bulletin boards and intranet, have been advised that the summary report has been included on the Commission’s agenda for the August 28, 2019 meeting (thus on the Commission’s website), and that hard copies of the report are also available in Human Resources for employees who prefer this format.
Over the next month, administration will undertake to review the report and related recommendations which will include discussions with employee groups identified in the recommendations as well as the ATU 741 Executive. A report detailing the next steps with respect to each of the recommendations will be tabled at the September 25, 2019 Commission meeting.
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager