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Personal Harassment

Vancouver Island University is committed to providing employees and students with an environment free of harassment. Members of the University community are responsible for treating other members with respect and dignity. When this does not occur, VIU will take action to stop the harassment and take measures to prevent the harassment from re-occurring

Harassment based on a human rights ground, such as sex, race, or disability, will be responded to under the Vancouver Island University Human Rights Policy and Procedure. Other forms of harassment can be addressed through the Personal Harassment Policy and Procedures, when the harassment is occurring between employees or between employees and students or the Student Conduct Policy, when the harassment is occurring between students.

Personal Harassment is objectionable conduct or comment directed towards a specific person(s), which

  • serves no legitimate work or educational purpose and
  • is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to have the effect of creating an intimidating, humiliating, or hostile work or educational environment.

This conduct usually involves a course of conduct but a single incident may be sufficient to be considered personal harassment when the conduct is of a very serious nature.

Examples of personal harassment

The following illustrate elements of a course of conduct that could be considered personal harassment:

  • yelling, name calling, or swearing;
  • threats or implied threats;
  • demeaning comments or jokes regarding a person's character, body, or other personal aspects;
  • ignoring or refusing to have contact with a person to the extent that their ability to fulfill work or educational responsibilities is compromised.

If You Experience Personal harassment

  • Discuss the issue with your supervisor (employees), or with your instructor or program coordinator (students) and/or contact the Human Rights and Respectful Workplace Director at 250-740-6430 for confidential advice and information.
  • Don't pretend it isn't happening. It will probably not go away.
  • Refuse to blame yourself; someone else's behaviour is not your responsibility or fault.
  • Tell the person - if you are able - clearly, firmly and directly that his or her behaviour is offensive and that you want it to stop immediately.
  • Write down what is happening. Carefully document the dates, times, locations, witnesses and details of all incidents.

WorkSafeBC has released a Bullying and Harassment Prevention Tool Kit, which is available for review here: Bullying and Harassment Prevention Tool Kit.

You can stop the behaviour by taking action, either by yourself or with the help of others. While reporting harassment can be intimidating, assistance in addressing these situations is often required.