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Principles & Policies for Managing Human Resources

3.1.5  Justice and Dignity Policy

 

The Province recognizes its responsibility to build and maintain a diverse, respectful workplace where all employees enjoy an environment in which the dignity and self-respect of every person is valued and which is free of offensive remarks, material or inappropriate behaviour.

All employees share in this responsibility and are expected to exhibit honesty, integrity and high standards of personal conduct.

From time to time a comparatively small number of situations arise that require intervention by management due to an allegation of inappropriate behaviour or wrongdoing by an employee.

The principles of justice and dignity shall be applied in the investigation and resolution of these situations by the employer to ensure that the rights, responsibilities and obligations of all parties are respected.

Justice relates to the moral principle determining just conduct by way of fairness, integrity and honesty.

Dignity encompasses self-respect and having an appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.

General Procedure

In matters involving an allegation of inappropriate behavior or wrongdoing by an employee, whether by internal or external agencies, the following procedure shall take place:

  1. All investigations shall be timely and the employee under investigation shall be apprised of the status of the investigation on a regular basis or at the request of the employee.

  2. A preliminary assessment of the situation will be conducted expeditiously by the employer to ascertain the fundamental nature and extent of the matter.

  3. This assessment will include a determination as to whether a criminal offence is being alleged to have taken place. If there is an allegation of a criminal offence having been committed by the employee, the employer will follow the Criminal Charges Policy. Where any conflict arises between this policy and the Criminal Charges Policy, this policy shall take precedence.

  4. In situations not involving an allegation of a criminal offence, the employer shall continue the preliminary assessment by reviewing the impact on the organization and the individual of the alleged behaviour.

  5. The following factors should be reviewed to determine their applicability to the situation. Some or all of these factors may apply to the situation:
  • Risk - Does the employee’s presence in the workplace create concerns regarding the safety of employees or the security of government’s property? Are employees reluctant to work with the employee?

  • Competence -Can the employee continue in the current work assignment?

  • Employer’s Business Interests -Does the conduct present potential or real harm to the service provided by the employer?

  • Type of Work - Is the conduct directly related to the employee’s current duties? Does the employee hold a position of trust?

  • Government Values - Does the conduct violate a value or principle held by the government?

  • Reputation and Public Confidence - Does the conduct potentially affect the department’s reputation with the general public and with clients?

  • Employee’s Role in the Organization - An employee in a professional and/or management position must demonstrate a higher standard of conduct than other employees.

Results of Preliminary Assessment

It is imperative that the Preliminary Assessment be conducted in a timely manner in order to minimize the impact on all parties.  The assessment findings shall be provided to the Deputy Minister (DM) or designate of the applicable department for review, and action. 

If the employer determines there is no impact on the workplace, the employee is returned to current duties.

If the employer determines there is an impact on the workplace, the DM or designate consults Human Resources and determines if the employee is unable or unsuitable to perform the current duties. In many cases alterations can be made to the position to ensure there is no impact and allow the employee to work while a formal investigation is undertaken.

If alteration to the position is not possible, an interim redeployment to other work that is available and suitable for the employee in the department or in another department shall occur. Compensation during such an interim redeployment shall be at the employee’s current rate of pay.  

Only once alternative work assignments have been thoroughly explored and determined to be unviable should a leave of absence be considered. There must be compelling and exceptional reasons to warrant placing the employee on a leave of absence of any kind or duration.

A leave of absence in such circumstances shall normally be with pay. These situations should be reviewed with Labour Relations by the DM or designate to ensure appropriateness and consistency of application.

A formal investigation should then be conducted to determine the nature and extent of the alleged inappropriate behaviour or wrongdoing.

There is an expectation that all employees will fully cooperate with the employer in the course of any investigation.

An employee’s status should be reviewed on a regular basis during both the informal and formal investigation phases to determine whether circumstances have changed to warrant an alteration in the employee’s employment or leave status.


Effective date  April 1, 2012


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