When it comes to buying real estate, they say the three most important things are location, location, location. When considering matters of workplace discrimination and harassment, the three most important things are context, context, context.
Harassment is defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code as “a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” This definition makes it clear that the act itself needs to be considered in context, because it is not just the behaviour (a course of vexatious comment or conduct) but the context—that is, whether it is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome—that must be considered.
Yes, sometimes there are comments or behaviours that clearly would be deemed to be harassment or inappropriate for the workplace.
For most comment or behaviours, employees, managers, and those investigating complaints must consider the context.
An ever-increasing number of organizations across Canada are developing and implementing diversity programs and initiatives, but their good intentions don’t always yield the desired results.
Ineffective diversity programs can create diversity fatigue for both staff who are supportive as well as staff who don’t see the need for the program. This can have them asking, "Are we there yet?"
Lack of progress and tangible change can frustrate those who understand the need for diversity programs. They can begin to lose faith that diversity programs can effect change within organizations.
Management and staff who don’t buy into these programs often use their apparent lack of effectiveness as justification for their opposition to diversity programs. They might claim that the programs themselves are ineffective rather than recognizing that the true source of the problem is the implementation of the program.
We have identified 11 common mistakes that undermine the success of diversity programs.
Each organization conducts hiring differently. Some use informal hiring processes and pay a great deal of attention to whether the candidate is of similar background and has similar interests to existing staff, and whether they will fit in with the others in the organization. Some organizations have more formal hiring processes, but may allow managers to consider a range of factors unrelated to the candidate's skills and abilities to do the job. In many organizations, unconscious biases play a role in the selection of new employees, and racial and gender stereotypes may influence who is hired into which positions.
Tana Turner is Principal of Turner Consulting Group Inc. She has over 30+ years of experience in the area of equity, diversity and inclusion.