Human Rights

Effective date: September 30, 2011

Revised January 2018

Relevant Legislation:

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person has the right to freedom from harassment and discrimination. Harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated, condoned, or ignored at LOFT Community Services. If a claim of harassment or discrimination is proven, disciplinary measures will be applied, up to and including termination of employment.



LOFT Community Services is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination and harassment, in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, and are able to contribute fully and have equal opportunities.

The objectives of this Policy are to ensure that employees, clients, board members, volunteers and associates of LOFT Community Services are aware that harassment and discrimination are unacceptable practices and are incompatible with the standards of this organisation, as well as being a violation of the law. This Policy will also set out principles and standards for behaviour that may be considered offensive and are prohibited by this Policy.


Not applicable to this policy.



The right to freedom from discrimination and harassment extends to all employees, including full-time, part-time, temporary, probationary, relief/casual and contract staff, as well as volunteers, students, board members and clients.

It is also unacceptable for employees of LOFT Community Services to engage in harassment or discrimination when dealing with clients, clients on the waiting list for services, staff from other organizations and persons with whom they have professional dealings.

This Policy applies at every level of the organization and to every aspect of the workplace environment and employment relationship, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfers, training, salaries, benefits and termination. It also covers rates of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, and shift work, discipline and performance evaluations.

This Policy applies to events that occur outside of the physical workplace such as during staff training conferences and staff parties.

It is the responsibility of management and employees to report any known harassment or discrimination.



This Policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of the following grounds, and any combination of these grounds:

• Age

• Creed (religion)

• Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)

• Gender Identity

• Family status (such as being in a parent-child relationship)

• Marital status (including the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced, separated, or living in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage, whether in a same sex or opposite sex relationship)

• Disability (including mental, physical, developmental or learning disabilities)

• Race

• Ancestry

• Place of origin

• Ethnic origin

• Citizenship

• Colour

• Association or relationship with a person identified by one of the above grounds

• Perception that one of the above grounds applies.




The following behaviour is prohibited by this Policy:

Discrimination: means any form of unequal treatment based on a Code ground, whether imposing extra burdens or denying benefits. It may be intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are discriminatory on their face, or it may involve rules, practices or procedures that appear neutral, but have the effect of disadvantaging certain groups of people. Discrimination may take obvious forms, or it may occur in very subtle ways. In any case, even if there are many factors affecting a decision or action, if discrimination is one factor, that is a violation of this Policy.

Harassment: means a course of comments or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning, or unwelcome, based on a ground of discrimination identified by this Policy. Harassment can occur on any of the grounds of discrimination.


Examples of harassment include:

• Epithets, remarks, jokes or innuendos related to an individual’s race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, creed, age, or any other ground.

• Display or circulation of offensive pictures, graffiti or materials, whether in print form or via e-mail or other electronic means.

• Singling out an individual for humiliating or demeaning “teasing” or jokes because they are a member of a protected group.

• Comments ridiculing an individual because of characteristics, dress etc. that are related to a ground of discrimination.


The fact that a person does not explicitly object to harassing behaviour, or appears to be going along with it does not mean that the behaviour is not harassing, and does not mean that it has been assented to.

For incidents of sexual harassment refer to LOFT’s separate Sexual Harassment Policy.

Poisoned environment: a poisoned environment is created by comments or conduct (including comments or conduct that are condoned or allowed to continue when brought to the attention of management) that create a discriminatory work environment such that it can be said that it has become a term and condition of one’s employment to have to be in such a workplace. The comments or conduct need not be directed at a specific individual, and may be from any individual, regardless of position or status. A single comment or action, if sufficiently serious, may create a poisoned environment.



All persons to whom this Policy applies (see section headed “Application”) are expected to uphold and abide by this Policy, by refraining from any form of harassment or discrimination, and by cooperating fully in any investigation of a harassment or discrimination complaint.

All persons, to whom this Policy applies, regardless of position or role within the organization, must report all incidents of harassment or discrimination to the Director of Operations. An individual who has reasonable grounds to believe that behavior contrary to this Policy is occurring within the organization and reports the behavior, in accordance with the Complaints Procedure, to the Director of Operations will not be subject to reprisal as a result of making the report.

Managers and supervisors have the additional responsibility to act immediately on observations or allegations of harassment or discrimination. Managers and supervisors are responsible for creating and maintaining a harassment and discrimination-free organization, and should address potential problems before they become serious.



See program manual.