Harassment and Disciplinary Action
PIM 5 - Section 4
The following policy has been created as the Association has a legal and moral responsibility to its members, officers, and employees to prevent and deal with various types of harassment. In addition, adequately addressing this need will help to safeguard the long-term viability of the Association, reduce costs, and meet our fiduciary obligations.
The CSPA does not and will not condone any harassment or abuse of any kind towards any persons, particularly within the membership of the CSPA. In addition, unprofessional conduct of a harassing nature against or by officers of the Association will not be tolerated. The CSPA strives to adhere to the following principles in addressing all instances of abuse, harassment, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, or otherwise unwelcome behavior:
- All allegations will be treated seriously and investigated promptly.
- The CSPA will follow section 4 of PIM 5 to resolve instances of harassment, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, or unwelcome behavior as soon as the Association becomes aware of them, even if there has been no complaint (as determined by the BoD).
- The CSPA will work to mitigate the effects of harassment.
The CSPA will take action to prevent any reoccurrence of such behavior by making sure all members, employees, staff, and officers of the Association have access to, and understand, the policy.
Note: Section 4 of PIM 5 has been refined using resources made available by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, retrieved from their website November 19, 2011 at: http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/publications/anti_harassment_toc-eng.aspx#12
Harassment and abuse may be defined as persistent embarrassing, derogatory, or insulting remarks or actions regarding a person's race, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, gender, mental or physical disability, or sexual orientation.
4.1.2 Sexual Harassment
Harassment of a sexual nature is specifically condemned. Sexual harassment may be defined as persistent and unwelcome remarks pertaining to a person's body, appearance or attire, invitations or requests of a sexual nature, and/or unwelcome and inappropriate physical contact.
4.1.3 Abuse of Authority
Abuse can be defined as either physical or non-physical, such as verbal or emotional abuse. Abuse of authority occurs when a person uses authority unreasonably to interfere with an employee or the employee's job, with a volunteer of the Association or the volunteer's role. It includes humiliation, intimidation, threats, and coercion. It does not include normal managerial activities, such as counseling, performance appraisals, and discipline, as long as these are not done in a discriminatory manner.
4.1.4 Unwelcomed Behaviour
Unwelcomed behaviour is any behaviour that demeans, humiliates or embarrasses a person, and that a reasonable person should have known would be unwelcome.
The CSPA reserves the right to investigate any instances of reported, perceived or alleged, unwelcomed behaviour.
4.2 Complaints Procedure
The following complaints procedure has been established to ensure that members, staff and officers have access to a fair and impartial process. This procedure has been created in the hopes that all members of the Association feel comfortable bringing forward their complaints, without fear of embarrassment, retaliation, job loss, or loss of acceptance by colleagues if they complain.
Complaints of harassment shall be held in the strictest confidence possible. In any complaint of harassment brought before the CSPA Executive, every effort will be made to address the complaint in an expedient manner. The CSPA will strive to adhere to the following Rules of Procedural Fairness:
- The BoD has the authority to make the final decision relating to all complaints.
- The procedure is fair and all the necessary procedural safeguards are in place.
- The defendant is given a right to a hearing.
- Sufficient notice is given.
- The violation is clearly identified.
- The defendant is given full opportunity to present their side of the issue.
- The people making the decisions are impartial. They will not:
- Sit in appeal of their decisions.
- Have interest, personal or otherwise, in the outcome of the decision.
- Show attitudinal bias
- If the complaint is against a BoD member, that member will be recused from the complaint proceedings.
Jurisdiction: Every rating holder and member granted membership in the CSPA is subject to the exclusive disciplinary jurisdiction of the CSPA.
Disciplinary Action: The discipline of members is for the protection of parachutists and to uphold other policies and procedures of the CSPA and its members.
Grounds for Disciplinary Action: It is a duty of all members of the CSPA to conduct themselves in conformity with the guidelines and recommendations imposed upon members as conditions of that privilege.
4.4 Complaint Process
Complaints concerning the actions of CSPA members can be submitted in writing to the CSPA Head Office, the President of the CSPA, or a Regional Director. All complaints will be forwarded to, and dealt with, by the BoD. All correspondence and communication dealing with the complaint process shall be kept strictly confidential at all times.
If the complaint is directed towards an individual member, that member must be clearly identified by name.
Complaints are handled via a two-step process, with less serious complaints being handled by the first step, and more serious complaints addressed by the second. The BoD reserves the right to determine which step will be followed. Those steps are:
- Enquiry Committee
Complaints against BoD members are a special case, and are addressed in section 4.4.3
On the receipt of three independent letters of complaint by the office, the BoD will launch an investigation.
The Investigation Committee (IC) will consist of 1-3 members:
- Where one is from the BoD and deemed the official of the IC.
- If deemed necessary by the BoD, 1-2 individuals who are each a member of a standing committee, as determined by each committees chair.
The BoD may elect to initiate this process with fewer than 3 complaints. This will involve discussion with the complainants and an opportunity for the member (defendant) to make comment. At this time the names of the complainants will be kept confidential.
Based on the findings of this investigation, which shall involve the accused member, actions can be recommended to the BoD by the Investigative Committee and the process deemed complete. If there is acknowledgement by the defendant that the said events did occur, recommendations regarding actions to be taken can be provided to the BoD who may either accept or reject them.
If the BoD dismisses the complaint, the President will attempt to notify the complainant(s), in writing and within 30 days of receiving the complaint, of the rationale and decision to dismiss.
If there are significant differences in the statements of the accused and complainants, or if the BoD decides that a formal enquiry is necessary, then an Enquiry Committee will be struck.
If necessary, external council, such as (but not limited to) experts in the field, legal council, or police assistance may be sought..
The Enquiry Committee (EC) will consist of at least three members:
- Where one is from the BoD and deemed the official of the EC
- 1-2 CSPA Officers (selected from amongst standing committee chairs
- A third member acceptable to both the BoD and the defendant (eg.1-2 Active CSPA members who are not Officers of the Association)
The Enquiry Committee will:
- Notify the complainant in writing that they have 15 days to substantiate the claim with the EC if this has not already been done.
- Notify the defendant in writing, by registered mail or electronic mail, that a complaint has been received and outlining the nature of the complaint. The letter will identify the members of the EC and state that the defendant has 15 days to refute the claim to the EC or accept the decision of the EC.
- Hear the allegations and evidence from the complainant(s) and also give equal opportunity for the defendant to present their defense.
- Access and solicit other sources of information, including individuals/witnesses as suggested by both the defendant and the claimant.
- On assessing all relevant information, notify the President of CSPA of their decision and recommended course of action.
- The EC will recommend that the Board effect one of the disciplines listed in Section 4.8, or recommend that the BoD dismiss the complaint.
4.4.3 Complaints Against a Member of the BoD
Where a complaint is against a BoD member, the complaint process duties of the BoD will be passed on to an Investigation or Enquiry Committee, as allowed by PIM 3 Constitution and Bylaws of the CSPA to process the request. Special attention should be placed on ensuring that constitutional rights are protected. The BoD (with the exception of the member the complaint is against) will be informed of the complaint, and the office will omit that member from the notification. Upon the receipt of three letters of complaint against a Board member, the BoD is required to form an Enquiry Committee. If a complaint is directed at more than one member of the Board, the Enquiry Committee will consider the role of each Board member.
Note: While the investigation process is less formal than the enquiry process, the BoD is ultimately responsible for the final decision in either process. The BoD reserves the right to decide whether or not an EC is warranted when any complaint is received against a Board member.
Once the BoD has received a report (from either the IC or EC) and made a decision, then the BoD will send written notification of the decision to the defendant (by registered mail and/or email), the complainant and all members of the EC.
A defendant who wishes to contest the decision produced from an investigation or Enquiry Committee, has 30 days from receipt of the original disciplinary decision, to lodge a notice of appeal with the BoD. An Appeal Committee will then be struck, consisting of a minimum of 3 CSPA Officers (as described above) who were not members of the original IC/EC.
The decision of this committee to suggest the dismissal of the complaint or to support or modify the original disciplinary action will be ratified by the BoD of CSPA. Written notification of the decision will be sent to the BoD, the appropriate committee, the Appeal Committee, the defendant (by registered mail and/or email), and the complainant(s).
4.7 Final Appeal
In the event that all internal processes have been exhausted and a satisfactory conclusion to the complaint has not been reached, the alternate dispute resolution services of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada will be consulted for their assistance in settling the dispute or complaint.
The CSPA BoD must again ratify any modifications to the original decision. The President of CSPA will send written notification of the revised decision of the BoD to the defendant (by registered mail and/or email), the complainant and all members of the EC and Appeal Committee.
In the event that the individual has their membership and/or ratings suspended or terminated, the CSPA reserves the right to publish this decision (without reference to the specific events and evidence presented and without prejudice) in its national publication(s) or notification forums, to advise and protect its members.
4.8 Disciplinary Action
Types of Discipline that may be enacted by the Board of Directors:
- Suspension of membership in the Association pending termination of membership at an AGM or SGM
- Suspension of membership in the Association for a fixed period of time
- Removal of privileges associated with a CSPA rating for a fixed period of time
- Such other actions as may be deemed appropriate
- Dismiss the complaint