Policy On Violence and Sexual Harassment

Employees of ADRA Canada are to exemplify a Christ-like life and should avoid all appearance of wrongdoing, both within their personal lives, and within their employment with ADRA Canada. They should not engage in behaviour that is harmful to themselves or others, or casts a shadow on their dedication to the Christian way of life. Employees should respect and uplift one another. Employees should never be placed in a position of embarrassment, disrespect, or harassment. To do so would be a violation of God’s law and civil laws protecting human rights and governing workplace conduct.


Workplace Violence is the exercise of physical force by a person against an employee, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the employee. It also includes an attempt to exercise physical force against an employee in a workplace, that could cause physical injury; and a statement or behaviour that an employee could reasonably interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the employee, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury.

Workplace Harassment is engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome.

Workplace Sexual Harassment is:

* Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or

* Making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.

Workplace sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to: Sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature which the person making the solicitation or advance, knows or ought reasonable to know is unwelcome. It is acknowledged by all that such behaviour could be perceived as affecting an individual’s employment status. Such conduct constitutes sexual harassment when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
  2. Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions;
  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonable interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment;
  4. Where threats or suggestions are made that an individual’s employment, future promotions, wages, etc., depend upon whether or not the individual submits to sexual demands or tolerates harassment.

Examples of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, verbal, visual, or physical conduct such as:

  1. Unwelcome sexually-oriented statements (e.g.: kidding, teasing, jokes, degrading or offensive sexual comments, sexual tricks, etc.),
  2. Requests or pressure for sexual activity,
  3. Unnecessary or inappropriate touching of a sexual or abusive nature (e.g., patting, pinching, hugging, repeated brushing against another person’s body, etc.),
  4. Inappropriate visual conduct which creates embarrassment or suggests an interest in sexual activity,
  5. Suggestions, threats, or demands for sexual favours.

Maintaining a Harassment-free Environment

ADRA Canada recognizes its responsibility to all employees in maintaining an environment free from harassment. It endeavours to achieve this work environment through education of employees that harassment violates the law and is strictly prohibited. ADRA Canada also endeavours to prevent harassment by publishing this policy, by development of appropriate sanctions for misconduct, and by informing all employees of their right to complain of harassment.

To maintain a work environment free of harassment and to assist in preventing inappropriate workplace conduct, the following actions will be taken:

  1. Each employee shall receive a copy of this harassment policy and complaint procedure.
  2. Each employee shall acknowledge receipt of this policy and complaint procedure which will be maintained in the employees’ personnel file.
  3. The Executive Director is the designated individual to whom complaints can be made, in addition to an employee’s departmental director.
  4. Employees who make harassment complaints will not be subjected to retaliation by supervisors or coworkers.

Reporting Incidents

Harassment in any form will not be tolerated. Employees who believe that they have been harassed by supervisors, fellow employees, clients, or non-employees should immediately take the following steps:

  1. Make it clear that such conduct is offensive and should be stopped immediately.
  2. Report the incident to the immediate supervisor and the Executive Director. A written statement describing the incident and identifying potential witnesses shall follow the initial report.
  3. For the protection of the complainant it is recommended that she/he keep the incident as confidential as possible and for the purpose of ensuring an expeditious investigation. The person to whom the complaint is made shall keep information received in confidence, except as is necessary to investigate or resolve the matter.

Third Party Reports

Employees who are aware of incidents of potential workplace harassment are to report such incidents to their supervisor and the Executive Director for investigation.


Complaints of harassment shall be investigated promptly. The investigation should be a genuine attempt to identify and remedy the problem. The Executive Director shall commence the investigation of all harassment complaints. A trained and impartial investigator shall be engaged to investigate and prepare a written report of the alleged harassment. The investigation shall include, at a minimum, confidential interviews with all involved persons and obtaining, if possible, written statements regarding the incident(s). The investigation and results should be documented in writing.

The determination of whether or not a particular action constitutes harassment shall be made from the facts on a case-by-case basis. In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes harassment, the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances, including the nature of the conduct and the context in which it occurred shall be considered. The Executive Director shall review the results of the investigation with the complainant and accused employee and explain any corrective action to be taken. Individuals involved should be cautioned to maintain the investigation and results in confidence. Complaint and individual information will not be disclosed unless necessary for the purposes of investigating or taking corrective action, or is otherwise required by law.

Corrective Action

Prompt corrective action will be taken if the investigation indicates that harassment has occurred. Depending upon the severity of the conduct, the corrective action may range from a written warning (which will be placed in the employee’s personnel file) to immediate dismissal. If the investigation indicated that harassment in violation of this policy has not occurred, the complainant and accused employee should be notified of the results of the investigation.

No Retaliation

ADRA Canada prohibits co-workers from retaliating, intimidating, or harassing employees who have complained of harassment.

Malicious Allegations

Although ADRA Canada urges individuals to report alleged harassment, malicious allegations can irreparably harm an employee’s reputation and limit his/her ability to fulfill responsibilities. Employees who bring malicious, spiteful false allegations of harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.


An employee may appeal a decision by referring to a Conciliation Procedure (SDACC). A request to initiate an appeal may be made, in writing, within 15 working days of receiving notice of the decision, to the Executive Director/Board Chair.