Gloucester Agricultural Society (GAS) Abuse Policy
Updated and Adopted: November 3rd, 2015
Purpose: To establish a work environment that is free from abuse , including physical or verbal abuse, sex and gender discrimination; sexual and sex and gender based harassment; sexual assault and rape; sexual exploitation; stalking; relationship violence (including domestic and dating violence), and retaliation, through guidelines to promote and foster safe campus climate.
Applicability: Abusive misconduct is not permitted by Gloucester Agricultural Society (GAS) policy and may also be prohibited by provincial, municipal or federal law. Responsibilities with respect to the Abuse Policy applies to staff, visitors, third parties and other community members.
Policy: GAS will not tolerate, and will remove any member, Director, or employee that exhibits behaviour that constitutes abuse. GAS is committed to providing a safe environment in all facilities that operate under its name. Complaints of abuse will be taken seriously and will be dealt within a spirit of compassion and justice.
GAS seeks to protect from abuse all people who contract or interact with the Society, whether or not they are members or adherents. Any person who comes into contact with the Society has the right to not be subjected to abuse in any way.
They are entitled to make a formal complaint under the Society’s Abuse Policy. A complaint may be made by an individual who has been abused by a person to whom this policy applies, or by a person who has first-hand knowledge (has observed or has evidence) of abuse by a person to whom this policy applies.
In the case of the abuse of a minor, a parent or guardian may initiate a complaint. The individual who has been abused by a person to whom this policy applies shall be offered the opportunity to participate in the investigation and may become the complainant at any time.
Anonymous complaints will not be acted upon under this policy. The policy and procedures apply to Society personnel, employees, members, adherents, volunteers, and any other person who is carrying out a responsibility or activity on behalf of the Society.
Complaint Processing Guidelines: All complaints should be discussed and/or submitted in writing to the two most senior members of the Executive in which the complainant has complete confidence. GAS will take all available steps to promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigate and address complaints of discrimination, including discriminatory harassment and other discriminatory misconduct by and against its employees and third parties (including visitors and community members).
The Society will always respond to complaints, reports, allegations and information about discrimination that it knows about in order to stop prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence and address any lingering effects from such conduct.
Although some cases may be appropriate to address and resolve informally, in those cases where a complainant elects to proceed with a formal investigation or the Society feels a formal investigation is appropriate, the Society will assign an investigator to investigate the discriminatory conduct at issue. Although each investigation will vary based on allegations, scope, and other factors, the complainant and respondent in each case will be permitted to describe their allegations in support of or in response to the complaint, suggest witnesses to be interviewed, and present evidence. The statements of the parties and witnesses, including any documentation that is relevant to the investigation, as determined relevant and appropriate by the investigator, will be considered by the investigator. Interviews will be the primary method of collecting information as part of the fact-finding investigation. It is the responsibility of the Investigator, not the parties, to gather the evidence relevant to the complaint and the facts raised in the parties’ statement, to the extent reasonably possible.
Since this is an administrative fact finding interview, GAS does not allow attorneys or legal support people in these interviews. Once all the facts and evidence are gathered from all parties, and the investigator concludes that the fact finding is over, the investigator will determine whether the preponderance of the evidence indicates that the respondent violated the relevant GAS anti-discrimination policy. The investigator and/or the Director of the Office will provide his or her conclusions to the parties and at that time each party will have an opportunity to comment on and respond to the information presented and provide any additional information that may not have been reviewed by the Investigator but should be considered prior to a decision being rendered regarding the complaint. Any response to the conclusions must be provided to the investigator within seven (7) days.
Following these meetings, the investigator will issue a decision in writing and determine if disciplinary action as appropriate by policy or law is appropriate. The complainant and the respondent will be notified contemporaneously in writing of the outcome of the investigation upon its conclusion. Decisions about discipline, if any, related to the investigative findings will be the responsibility of the investigator. The investigator will make a decision concerning the resolution of the complaint and any corrective actions that will be imposed. Individuals found in violation of GAS policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. At any point in the investigative process, including at the beginning or conclusion of an investigation and/or at the disciplinary stage, GAS may implement interim remedial measures to address the safety of the complainant, other witness, or the Society. Interim measures are also available to those who decide against filing a complaint or choose not to pursue a complaint.
Cooperation and truthfulness by all participants is expected in all investigations.
Alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or facilitated conversations are available as an option and alternative in appropriate cases — except cases involving sexual or other discriminatory abuse or other abusive or discriminatory related violence. Regardless of the process used in an individual case, GAS will maintain its investigative files (including policy related decisions, if any) for compliance related interests. Any and all documents retained at the conclusion of a formal or informal resolution of a complaint will be maintained by the Society in a safe and confidential manner.
Any party has the right to raise concerns about or file a good faith complaint of discrimination without fear of retaliation. It is a violation of GAS policy to retaliate against an individual for filing a complaint of discrimination or for cooperating in a discrimination investigation. Retaliation against anyone who reports an incident of discrimination brings forward a complaint or who in any way participates in an inquiry or investigation of discrimination is strictly prohibited. Retaliation includes things like hostility, intimidation, threats, exclusion or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual’s complaint or participation in the investigative process.