Respectful Treatment Policy


In compliance with Bylaw I, Clause 5: Every person can expect to be treated respectfully in accordance with CFUW Guelph’s Respectful Treatment Policy and every member, guest and volunteer has the responsibility to refrain from participating in behaviour that is, or could be perceived to be, disrespectful. Executive Committee may revoke a membership if the conduct of a member discredits or causes discord within the organization.

Procedure for Respectful Treatment

All Club members, guests and volunteers are expected to uphold the CFUW Respectful Treatment Policy. This procedure is written to provide information on steps that may be taken to ensure that the policy is followed. Failure to follow the policy may result in the actions described below. All levels of dealing with disrespectful behaviour will be carried out confidentially. These procedures will not contravene any provincial legislation in regard to the subject.

Appendix II contains the form that should be used to document incidents of disrespect.

A respectful organization is one that values:

  • Diversity and the human rights of others related to their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status, family status, any physical or mental disability and sexual orientation;
  • The dignity of the person;
  • Courteous conduct;
  • Mutual respect, fairness and equality;
  • Positive communication between people;
  • Collaborative working relationships.

Disrespectful behaviour includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Offensive or inappropriate remarks, gestures, material or behaviour;
  • Inappropriate jokes or cartoons including racial or ethnic slurs ;
  • Grouping or isolating i.e. on race or ethnic origin;
  • Yelling or shouting;
  • Belittling;
  • Reprimanding in the presence of others;
  • Aggressive or patronizing behaviour;
  • Embarrassing or humiliating behaviour;
  • Discrimination as defined under human rights legislation;
  • Sexual harassment;
  • Damaging gossip or rumours;
  • Unwanted physical contact;
  • Covert behaviour i.e. inappropriately withholding information, undermining, underhandedness.

This policy applies to all club members, guests and volunteers and it applies to General Meetings as well as to activities connected with the Club or Interest Groups of the Club such as travel, conferences, social gatherings as well as the many forms of written and spoken interactions (i.e. telephone calls, emails). It applies to relationships and interactions between members, guests, volunteers and the general public.

CFUW Guelph Executive Committee is expected to:

  • Model respectful behaviour;
  • Recognize and value diversity in the organization;
  • Create an environment that supports the resolution of respectful organizational issues;
  • Inform members and volunteers that the organizational environment is one based on respect;
  • Orient all members and volunteers to the organization’s respectful treatment policy;
  • Monitor the club to ensure respectful behaviour is practiced.

CFUW Guelph members are expected to:

  • Treat others with respect;
  • Set an example by respecting the dignity and human rights of all;
  • Recognize and refrain from actions that offend, embarrass or humiliate others, whether deliberate or unintentional;
  • Raise the issue of disrespectful conduct with the person displaying it or with a person in authority (i.e. Executive Committee) as soon as possible. If you witness disrespectful behaviour you may wish to approach the individuals involved;
  • Refrain from frivolous or vindictive allegations of disrespectful behaviour;
  • Make every effort to resolve respectful treatment issues, where possible, in an informal manner.

If accused of disrespectful behaviour, a member is advised to:

  • Attempt to resolve the situation by listening and trying to understand the concern;
  • Be open to the other person’s perspective. For example, something which you consider to be humorous might be offensive to someone else;
  • Consider the impact of your actions on other persons;
  • Be willing to make reasonable changes that could make a difference. Often a sincere apology and a commitment to refrain from disrespectful behaviour is sufficient to resolve the situation informally;
  • If necessary, seek assistance from your regional director to mediate the issue;
  • Keep your involvement and nature of the complaint confidential.

If a member is treated in a disrespectful manner they can:

  • Be proactive. Members should try to resolve the problem on their own without waiting for a recurrence or assuming the problem will go away;
  • Approach the member/volunteer who made them feel uncomfortable, explain how it affected them and calmly, respectfully, and in confidence ask them to stop. Often people may not be aware that their behaviour is offensive, and most will change once they are made aware of the problem.
  • If a member has attempted to resolve the problem without success or if they are not comfortable addressing the problem on their own, the problem and possible solutions should be discussed with the Member Services Chair, or another member of the Executive Committee. If the problem is with the President, contact should be made with one of the Executive Committee members. Confidentiality considerations should be discussed and agreed upon.
  • If, for any reason, a member is unable to discuss the problem with the Member Services Chair, or another member of the Executive Committee, the Regional Director of Ontario Council is available for help. Whether a formal or informal process is used, members are encouraged to take notes which reflect, as much as possible, the dates, times, nature of the behaviour, any witnesses, and what was done. These notes will be useful for anyone assisting in resolving the problem.

When an instance of disrespectful behaviour is identified:

  1. The member bringing the issue forward will be asked if they have tried to resolve the issue personally with the member, guest or volunteer(s) involved.
  2. If the member has done so without success, or is requesting assistance, the incident will first be referred to Member Services for an informal investigation. A third party member will be assigned to assist with managing the situation towards a resolution between the parties if possible with a view to correcting behaviour and preserving relationships. The Member Services Chair will document efforts at resolution. Such documentation is to remain confidential to those involved at this point.
  3. If the situation cannot be resolved, the Member Services Chair will inform the members involved that the issue will be referred to the President and Executive Committee for advice and further action as required. A formal investigation will be required at this point in time (see steps below).
  4. The President will arrange for a formal investigation and the results will be discussed with the Executive Committee at an in camera The Executive Committee will agree upon a plan of action that may include a request that a member refrain from certain behaviours or withdraw from certain club activities. This information is to be documented and shared with the member informally and, if necessary, in writing. Documentation must include only observable behaviours, not opinions of members. All documentation is to be kept confidential and shared only on a need to know basis. Documentation must be destroyed once it is no longer relevant (i.e. member resigns from the club).
  5. Regional Directors may be consulted by both parties for advice. The complainant should be made aware of this support.
  6. Should the disrespectful behaviour continue the President, in consultation with the Executive Committee, will:
    1. Give a verbal warning that failure to comply will lead to further action;
    2. Send (mail or e-mail) a written warning if the situation is of a serious nature or the member fails to comply with the verbal request;
    3. Send (mail or e-mail) a written notice of the withdrawal of membership or prohibition of the member’s participation in club activities if the member fails to comply with the written warning. In the case of membership withdrawal the President, in consultation with the Executive Committee, may decide to refund all or a portion of the member’s dues. At this stage the incident and the follow up action must be reported to the Regional Director of Ontario Council.

In the case of the behaviour being that of the President the Executive Committee may take the steps outlined above.

Steps in a formal investigation:

  1. Interview the person who has raised the concern
  2. Interview the witness
  3. Meet with the person alleged to have acted disrespectfully to present the complaint and hear the response and determine the facts
  4. Determine what steps have been tried to resolve the complaint
  5. Recommend a response, which may include disciplinary action
  6. Inform the Regional Director of any disciplinary action taken
  7. Inform the complainant and the accused of the availability of support from the Regional Director.

When communicating with the individual raising the concern:

  • Listen and take the issue seriously
  • Discuss the process to be followed
  • Direct the individual to keep the matter confidential
  • Inform and support the individual throughout the process
  • Inform the individual of the investigative findings and actions taken by the Executive Committee and ensure the situation is documented appropriately (see Disrespectful Incident Form in Appendix II).

When communicating with the person alleged to have committed the disrespectful behaviour:

  • Inform the person of the complaint
  • Give them an opportunity to respond to the allegations
  • Discuss the process to be followed
  • Direct the individual to keep the matter confidential
  • Inform the individual throughout the process
  • Inform the individual of the outcome of the investigation

If a Club member, guest or volunteer makes a false allegation:

If the investigation proves that the complaint was deliberately made for frivolous or vindictive reasons, the member, guest or volunteer making the false allegation is subject to action as decided by the President or designated authority in consultation with the Executive Committee. This does not apply to complaints made in good faith but which are not proven.