3.1.4 Respectful Workplace and Harassment Prevention


Every employee is entitled to work in an environment that is respectful and free of all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment.  Every employee has the responsibility to refrain from participating in behaviour that is, or could reasonably be perceived to be, disrespectful in nature.  Disrespectful behaviour and harassment, including sexual harassment, will not be tolerated.

The Manitoba government recognizes its responsibility to build and maintain a diverse, respectful workplace, free from all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, in which the dignity and self-respect of every person is valued.  This same commitment must come from its employees who are personally responsible at all times for their behaviour and conduct. 

A respectful workplace requires the cooperation and support from each and every employee in the organization.  Everyone has a responsibility to set a positive example and behave in a manner which will not reasonably offend, intimidate, embarrass or humiliate others, whether deliberate or unintentional.


This policy applies to all employees of the Manitoba government regardless of employment status. It also applies to all contractors and service providers to the Manitoba government.

This policy applies to the workplace itself in addition to activities connected with the workplace such as travel, conferences, work related social gatherings, interactions at a client’s home /work site. It also applies to interactions between employees and interactions between employees and clients/general public.

This policy does not limit the employer’s right to manage.  Performance reviews, work assignment and evaluation, and disciplinary measures taken by the employer for any valid reason do not constitute disrespectful behaviour or harassment in the workplace.


A respectful workplace is one that values diversity and inclusion, dignity of the person, courteous conduct, mutual respect, fairness and equality, positive communication between people and collaborative working relationships.  

Harassment is any objectionable or offensive behaviour that is known, or ought to be reasonably known, to be unwelcome.  It includes objectionable actions (e.g. touching, pushing), comments (e.g. jokes, name-calling) or displays (e.g. posters, cartoons) made on either a one-time or continuous basis that demean, belittle, or cause humiliation or embarrassment.   Harassment can also take place electronically (e.g. text messages, social media, email or screen savers).

This definition of harassment is broader than the legislative definitions of harassment contained in The Human Rights Code (Manitoba) and The Workplace Safety and Health Act.

Inappropriate conduct will be deemed “disrespectful behaviour” or “harassment” depending on the circumstances of the particular incident.  Disrespectful behaviour which continues or increases in severity and frequency may become harassment.  

Sexual harassment is:

  1. a course of abusive remarks or behaviours based on gender or sex; or
  2. a series of objectionable and unwelcome sexual solicitations or advances; or
  3. one single sexual advance by a person in an authority position who should have known it was not welcome by the recipient; or
  4. a reprisal, retaliation or threat of retaliation for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance; or
  5. a reprisal for filing a sexual harassment complaint. 

The unwanted behaviours may be physical or verbal.  Examples of behaviours that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:



Speak to the Other Person

An impacted employee should approach the person who made them feel uncomfortable, calmly explain how their behaviour affected them and ask that the behaviour stop.  The other person may not realize their behaviour has been offensive and the feedback may give them the opportunity to change their actions.

Should an employee require advice or support on how to approach the other person, their immediate supervisor, Human Resources, the Employee and Family Assistance Program, or their union/association may be able to assist.  Should an employee wish, their immediate supervisor or another support person may accompany them when they approach the other person.

Employees who witness behaviour that may be contrary to this policy should safely and appropriately intervene.  If it is not possible to do so, the employee must report their observations to their immediate supervisor.  The employer cannot address a problem unless they are aware that a problem exists.

Report It

If an employee is unable to approach the other person, or if the employee has approached the other person but the issue remains unresolved, the employee must report their concern.

The concern can be reported verbally or in writing to the employee’s immediate supervisor or Human Resources.  If the issue involves the employee’s immediate supervisor, the employee may report it to another level of management, up to and including the deputy minister.

Issues should be reported as soon as reasonably possible, normally within six months of the incident occurring.

Participate in the Resolution Process

The person to whom the issue is reported will determine if the allegations constitute a breach of the policy and if so, will endeavour to resolve the matter in an expeditious and confidential manner. Every issue reported and all actions taken to resolve the issue must be documented.

Most issues can be resolved between the parties involved with subsequent monitoring by management to ensure that there is no recurrence or retaliation. Options for resolution may include facilitated discussion, mediation, or education depending on the circumstances.  

Not every reported issue warrants a formal investigation. In situations that pose a serious threat to the health and safety of the employee or others, or where allegations are denied or discipline is likely, a formal investigation may be required.

In these cases, the employer may appoint an investigative team which would normally be led by the Civil Service Commission or the Labour Relations Division of Treasury Board Secretariat.

An investigation generally includes:

The complainant and respondent may be accompanied during the investigation process.

If a person is found to have engaged in activities contrary to this policy, whether through an investigation or through direct observation, the employer will take corrective action, which may include disciplinary measures up to and including dismissal.

Following the conclusion of an investigation, the employer will advise the complainant and the respondent of the results of the investigation in writing, while respecting privacy. The employer has the authority to dismiss the complaint, determine appropriate discipline and/or take any action which may be necessary to resolve the issue.  The details of any discipline administered will not be provided to the complainant or any witness interviewed in the investigation.

A summary of the investigation report will be provided to the applicable workplace safety and health committee without disclosing the circumstances relating to the complaint or any information that could identify any employee/person involved with the matter.



Reported issues will be resolved as soon as reasonably possible. Investigations, where required, will be completed and results communicated as soon as reasonably possible. 

Should significant delays in the investigation be unavoidable, the respondent and complainant will normally be advised.

Workplace Restoration

Following the resolution of a reported issue, the immediate supervisor is responsible for ongoing monitoring to ensure this policy is followed.


Managers, Human Resources, and investigators will keep the details of any reported issue confidential to the best of their ability.  However, confidentiality does not mean anonymity.  Confidentiality is subject to the following limitations:

These limitations on confidentiality should not discourage employees from reporting a concern.

The employer will not disclose the name of a complainant, alleged respondent or the circumstances related to the issue to any person except where the disclosure is necessary to investigate, take corrective action, or is required by law.

At the request of the respondent, the employer may inform the individuals who were involved with the investigation that inappropriate conduct was found not to have taken place. This may be necessary where the reputation of the respondent was negatively affected by the complaint or investigation.


There shall be no reprisal against an employee who in good faith exercises rights under this policy. Reprisal is an actual or threatened harmful act.  Reprisal not only involves penalizing someone, it can also be the withholding of a benefit.

False Allegations

If it is determined that a complaint was deliberately made for frivolous or vindictive reasons, the employee making the allegation may be subject to discipline. This does not apply to complaints made in good faith but which are not proven.


This policy is not intended to discourage or prevent an employee from exercising any legal right, including filing a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission or contacting the police. 

Nothing in this policy precludes an employee from filing a sexual harassment complaint in accordance with the applicable collective agreement or The Regulation respecting the Conditions of Employment under The Civil Service Act.




Effective Date: May 4, 2015


Labour Relations Division, Treasury Board Secretariat

Additional information:

Labour Relations Division, Treasury Board Secretariat
Phone: 204-945-8065



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