Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Respectful Workplace Policy important?

The Respectful Workplace Policy sets a very clear tone for the type of work environment we all expect in the Winnipeg Health Region. It provides clear parameters about everyone’s responsibility under the Workplace Safety and Health Act. It also creates an environment of safety and security for everyone.

Why does the Respectful Workplace Policy apply to me?

The Winnipeg Health Region and its integrated facilities are committed to providing a work environment that respects and promotes human rights, personal dignity and health and safety.  

The Winnipeg Health Region supports the principle that all persons employed or contracted, as well as members of the medical staff, board members, students and volunteers, patients, clients, residents and members of the public are entitled to a work and service environment that is free from any form of disrespectful behaviour.

As confirmed in the Respectful Workplace Policy, conduct that contravenes these principles will not be tolerated and appropriate remedial and other action will be taken as means of enforcement.

How does the Respectful Workplace Policy apply to me?

If you work for, volunteer for, do work for, or access services in the Winnipeg Health Region, you are expected to conduct yourself respectfully.

What makes a respectful workplace?

A respectful workplace includes:

Freedom from discrimination. Discrimination is differential treatment of an individual or group on the basis of a Protected Characteristic, rather than on personal merit. (Manitoba Human Rights Code)

Freedom from harassment, including personal and sexual harassment.

Harassment is a course of offensive and unwelcome conduct or comment made on the basis of a Protected Characteristic. (Manitoba Human Rights Code)

Personal harassment is a course of behaviour that is not respectful toward others with the intention to harm to be hurtful, including:

  • written or verbal abuse or threats
  • leering or other offensive gestures
  • patronizing or condescending behaviour
  • humiliating staff in front of co-workers
  • abuse of authority
  • bullying

Sexual harassment includes offensive or humiliating behaviour that is related to a person’s sex, as well as behaviour of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, unwelcome, hostile, or offensive work environment or that could be reasonably thought to put sexual conditions on a person’s job or employment opportunities. It is behaviour that is objectionable, unwelcome and unwanted.

Workplace violence is any act that results in injury or threat of injury, real or perceived, by an individual, including:

  • acts of aggression
  • verbal or written threats
  • vandalism of personal property

What is not disrespectful behaviour?

The following are not considered disrespectful behaviour:

  • consensual banter
  • consensual romantic relationships
  • exercising appropriate management authority and responsibility, including:
    • performance and attendance management
    • providing direction or instruction, operational change, coaching, counselling and/or discipline by a supervisor or manager

What is a protected characteristic?

Protected characteristics include:

  • ancestry, including colour and perceived race
  • ethnic background and national origin
  • sex, including pregnancy, the possibility of pregnancy or circumstances related to pregnancy
  • sexual orientation and gender-determined characteristics
  • age
  • religion or creed, or religious belief
  • marital or family status
  • source of income
  • political beliefs, activities or associations
  • physical or mental disability or related characteristics or circumstances

What is expected of me in creating a respectful workplace?

You have three responsibilities in creating a respectful workplace:

  • Conduct yourself respectfully.
  • Be courteous and professional at all times.
  • Address disrespectful behaviour or ask your supervisor and/or human resources for help.

What is the procedure if I have a respectful workplace complaint?

Talk to your manager or supervisor about your concerns. If that isn’t appropriate in the situation, speak with Human Resources at your site. Click here for a list of contact information. 

Who do I talk to if I’m not sure if I have a respectful workplace complaint?

It’s okay to ask questions. You can ask your manager or supervisor. You may also ask Human Resources at your site, your site Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health (OESH) Unit, Workplace Safety and Health Committee representative or a union representative.

What is the Winnipeg Health Region’s responsibility as an employer?

Disrespectful behaviour within Winnipeg Health Region facilities will not be condoned or tolerated. Winnipeg Health Region facilities are committed to promoting mutual respect, cooperation and understanding to ensure a respectful, healthy and safe environment. All allegations of disrespectful behaviour will be considered and responded to appropriately, quickly, fairly and confidentially.

What can a manager or supervisor do?

Each manager and supervisor is responsible for fostering a respectful working environment. Managers and supervisors are expected to set an example by modeling respectful behaviour. They will deal with situations immediately in an appropriate fashion upon becoming aware, regardless of whether there has been a formal complaint. Managers/supervisors will advise Human Resources of allegations of disrespectful behaviour.

What is the responsibility of a staff member?

All employees have the responsibility to treat others with respect and are encouraged to bring forward concerns involving conduct that is disrespectful. No employee is required to tolerate disrespectful behaviour. Each employee is responsible and accountable for his/her own actions.

The provisions of the Respectful Workplace Policy and the Respectful Workplace Procedures Manual do not take away an employee’s right to take other actions and/or seek other remedies including filing a claim with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission or filing a grievance under a collective agreement.

How can I educate myself about respectful workplace?

Visit www.wrha.mb.ca/professionals/respectfulworkplace and our internal newsletter Inspire, which will feature articles about respectful workplace. Talk to others about what respect means to them. 

What can I do to create a respectful workplace?

Think about how respect plays a factor in your work and what you can do to create a more respectful workplace through your words and actions. If a situation arises, try to address it quickly. If you need help finding a solution to a respectful workplace challenge, ask for help. Your manager and/or human resources at your site may be able to offer some insight and suggestions to help improve the situation.

Being proactive and accepting responsibility for your part in creating a respectful workplace is key. No one enjoys working in a stressful environment. The goal of the Respectful Workplace Policy is to address concerns sooner rather than later; in extreme cases, a formal complaint or mediation may be required. Ultimately resolving the concern so both parties have a safe, peaceful environment is the primary focus.

What is the responsibility of Human Resources?

Human Resources are responsible for:

  • promoting awareness of the Respectful Workplace Policy
  • promoting awareness about the Respectful Workplace Procedures Manual
  • assisting management in the consistent application of the Respectful Workplace Policy and Respectful Workplace Procedures Manual
  • consulting with and providing advice to management
  • counselling employees on their rights and options
  • receiving concerns and ensuring appropriate action is initiated
  • conducting investigations as required and working collaboratively with others involved

What is the union’s responsibility?

Unions have actively participated with the employer to ensure a respectful workplace. Many collective agreements contain provisions supporting the need for a respectful workplace and the need to work collaboratively in this regard. Unions will provide support to their individual members who may be involved with concerns relating to disrespectful behaviour and will often participate in education and communication sessions in support of a respectful workplace. If a union is aware of a concern that its members are not able to raise directly to an employer representative, the union may bring this matter to management’s attention.

What is Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health’s responsibility?

Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health (OESH) is responsible for guiding/assisting in the provision of a safe workplace free of harassment and violence through processes including but not limited to:

  • job hazard analysis
  • risk assessment
  • review of direct and indirect causation of injury/near miss
  • development of prevention and control mechanisms including:

    • engineering controls
    • administrative controls
    • safe work plans
    • personal protective equipment

What do I do if I’m confronted with disrespectful behaviour?

Each situation will be different and will need to be handled appropriately. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Safety First

Staff faced with a potentially violent situation should exercise extreme caution and should consider the following:

  • remain calm and, if applicable, try to distance himself/herself as quickly and safely as possible from the situation
  • employ safety techniques identified through training
  • in facility setting, be aware of and use the Code White relating to a call for help due to aggressive behavior
  • if possible, call for assistance from other staff
  • if the aggressor is a client who attempts to leave the room/building, do not attempt to physically prevent this departure; rather, call the appropriate emergency service to intervene appropriately
  • immediately notify the supervisor, manager, security or someone in authority and complete an Occurrence Report if appropriate
  • if necessary, security will notify the police
  • if you have suffered an injury or a near miss as a result of the incident, the incident should be reported on a Winnipeg Health Region Injury Near Miss Report Form and  to the Workers Compensation Board     

What happens when there are no immediate safety concerns?

If your safety isn’t in question, you may want to consider immediate resolution.

Anyone who believes that they are being subjected to conduct that is disrespectful is encouraged, if reasonable, comfortable and safe, to make a direct request of the individual(s) concerned that the behaviour stop immediately as it is not acceptable or respectful.

Bringing your concerns forward immediately will normally address the matter quickly and is one of the best ways to bring insight to the individual causing the concern that his/her behaviour is not acceptable. Often a person may not be aware that his/her behaviour is offensive, and most will change the behaviour once they are aware of the concern.

What role does consultation play in respectful workplace concerns?

Any person who thinks that he/she has been subjected to disrespectful behaviour and who has not been able to deal with the concern through immediate resolution may discuss their concerns in confidence with their manager or supervisor, human resources, site OESH Unit or a union representative. Discussing matters and bringing concerns forward does not commit an individual to filing a formal respectful workplace complaint.

Individuals will be assisted to identify appropriate ways of responding to the concerns through both informal and formal means. Whenever reasonable, informal procedures to resolve these matters are preferable as they focus on rebuilding and repairing the on-going relationship between the affected parties.

When concerns are raised to the attention of the employer, the employer retains the right to initiate a formal review of the matter, with or without the complainant’s consent, if there are sufficient concerns regarding the physical or psychological impact of the alleged behaviour (both current or prospective). 

What happens after a consultation?

After consultation, the following scenarios may occur:

  • The staff person decides not to pursue the matter further.
  • The employer determines that the concern does not fall under the provisions of the Respectful Workplace Policy and no further action will be taken under the policy or the Respectful Workplace Procedures Manual.
  • The employer decides to pursue the matter on its own initiative due to the serious nature of the concern raised in which case either a informal process will be pursued or a formal investigation will be launched.
  • The staff person pursues an informal resolution process.
  • The staff person files a formal complaint.

How can I make a respectful workplace complaint?

For staff that are not able to resolve matters through immediate resolution or through an informal resolution process, the option remains for staff to file a formal complaint pursuant to the Respectful Workplace Policy. The process for filing a complaint is as follows:

1. Formal complaints must be made in writing and are to be completed by either using the form provided in the Respectful Workplace Procedures Manual or by submitting written particulars which contain the following information:

  • identification of individual(s) involved
  • a clear description of the incident(s) of concern including dates, times, places
  • names of witnesses, if any  

2. The complaint is to be forwarded to the Director of Human Resources in a sealed envelope marked confidential.

3. The Director of Human Resources shall confirm receipt of the complaint to the complainant.

4. The Director of Human Resources shall determine, based on the content of the complaint, whether the concerns fall within the Respectful Workplace Policy.

  1. If the concern falls under the Policy, the Director will then determine whether a formal investigation is appropriate or alternatively, whether an informal resolution process should be pursued.
  2. If the concern does not fall under the Policy, the Director will advise the complainant that it will not be pursued under the Policy and will advise of other possible processes that may be appropriate.

5. If an informal process is identified, the Director of Human Resources or designate will work with the complainant and/or the respondent in an effort to satisfactorily resolve the concern.

6. If a formal investigation is determined appropriate, the Director of Human Resources will advise both the complainant and the respondent and will assign an investigator. The Respondent will be provided with a copy of the written complaint. Management in the respective areas will be advised as appropriate.

7. During the course of the investigation, the Director of Human Resources or designate will assess whether or not it is appropriate to temporarily change one or more individual’s reporting relationship until the investigation is completed.

8. The investigator will contact the complainant and respondent to answer any procedural questions and to identify next steps. The respondent will be advised of the need to file a written reply to the complaint with the investigator by a set date (average length of time to reply no longer than 2 weeks). The written reply of the respondent is to be completed by either using the form provided or by submitting written particulars which contain the following information:

  • identification of individual(s) involved
  • a clear description of the incident(s) of concern including dates, times, places
  • names of witnesses, if any  

9. Throughout the course of the investigation, the investigator, the complainant and/or the respondent may request that the investigation be put on hold in an effort to resolve the matter through an informal process. Such request will be made to the Director of Human Resources for determination. If an informal process is approved and is successful, the matter will be closed. If an informal process is not used or, if used, is not successful, the Director will reinitiate the investigation.

10. The investigator will discuss the complaint separately with both parties, and may consult with others who are in a position to provide relevant information.  Both the complainant and the respondent may recommend relevant witnesses to the investigator. The investigator holds absolute discretion as to who he/she meets with in the course of the investigation. The purpose of these meetings is fact-finding and are in no way to be considered disciplinary meetings.

11. The complainant, the respondent and witnesses may have union representation (if unionized) during meetings with the interviewer and the interviewer shall advise of this option. Non-union staff may request permission to have a support person present at such meetings. Attendance of support persons for non-union staff shall be at the discretion of the interviewer and, if approved, shall result in no expense to the employer.

12. If staff are requested to attend a meeting with the interviewer, staff attendance is mandatory as the interviewer is acting as an agent of the employer.

13. Based on the investigation, a determination is to be made by the investigator as to whether or not a breach of the Respectful Workplace Policy has occurred. The test will be that of a “balance of probabilities” i.e. what would a reasonable person reviewing all of the relevant factual information conclude.

14. Following the interviews, a written report will be prepared by the investigator and provided to the Director of Human Resources.

15. The complainant, at any stage, may request that the complaint be withdrawn; however, the employer may still be obliged to investigate. Continuation or withdrawal of the complaint will be determined by the Director Human Resources.

16. Reasonable efforts shall be undertaken to complete an investigation within 90 days from date of approval to proceed unless circumstances warrant otherwise.

17. The Director Human Resources in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer/Chief Operating Officer and appropriate management representatives will determine what action, if any will be taken as a result of the findings contained within the investigation report.

18. The complaint process will be modified as follows if the complaint names

  1. Chief Executive Officer/Chief Operating Officer:  the Chair of the Board of Directors will be involved.
  2. Director, Human Resources:  the Chief Executive Officer/Chief Operating Officer will replace the Director of Human Resources in the process.
  3. Medical Staff: Any alleged breaches of the Respectful Workplace Policy against physicians shall be investigated and processed in accordance with the Respectful Workplace Procedures Manual and the Respectful Workplace Policy and not under the processes outlined in the Medical Staff By-Law unless so delegated by the Chief Executive Officer. Should a physician be found to be in breach of the Policy appropriate disposition shall occur as determined by the Winnipeg Health Region facility and the Winnipeg Health Region Chief Medical Officer except that such disposition shall have no impact on the physician’s privileges. This disposition does not prevent the simultaneous referral of the issue by the Winnipeg Health Region Chief Medical Officerto the Medical Executive Committee (“MEC”) as a “complaint” pursuant to Section 6.2.3 of the Medical Staff By-law and MEC may determine the appropriate disposition of the compliant, in accordance with the Medical Staff By-Law, and whether the physician’s privileges should be affected.
  4. Students:  There will be consultation with the appropriate representative of the respondent’s training organization to determine the appropriate remedy.
  5. Volunteers:  The Manager of Volunteer Services will be consulted to determine the appropriate remedy.
  6. Patients, Clients, Residents and Visitors:  The appropriate remedy will be implemented by the Senior Management representative and management staff for the area.

  7. Suppliers/Contractors:  There will be immediate contact with the appropriate personnel within the external agency to determine the appropriate remedy.

19. A copy of the report will be shared by the Director of Human Resources with the complainant and respondent unless circumstances warrant not sharing the report in which case a summary of the findings will be shared. The complainant and respondent may share the report with their union if they wish.

20. The complainant and the respondent may file a written response to the report if they wish. The written response(s) will be appended to the Report but will not act to modify the report or its findings unless the Director Human Resources determines it appropriate.

What is informal resolution?

Options for informal resolution include but are not limited to:

One-on-One Discussion: After having the chance to consult with other parties, staff may feel equipped or have a plan on how to discuss the concerns directly with the individual with whom they have concerns. Just as with immediate resolution, this will likely lead to an effective resolution as it is likely the individual will modify his/her behaviour once they are made aware of the concern. If this option proves unsuccessful, the other mechanisms for informal resolution remain available as well as the filing of a formal complaint.

When does management get involved?

Many situations can be effectively dealt with through the participation and involvement of management. This may include management taking any number of steps including but not limited to the setting and confirming of expectations, clarification of obligations, introduction of certain rules, procedures, guidelines, etc. Many such actions can result in the desired effect of ensuring the discontinuance of certain behaviours which will alleviate further concerns. 

When does Human Resources get involved?

Human Resources staff can assist in any number of ways including the provision of certain education and information sharing sessions with affected staff; reinforcement of standards and expectations as well as providing certain cautions. Many such actions can result in the desired effect of ensuring the discontinuance of concerning behaviour. 

What is conciliation/mediation?

Conciliation/mediation is when a neutral third party meets with the two people involved (separately or together) with the goal of resolving the concerns and building agreement on how interactions will occur into the future. Rebuilding the relationship – not blame or finding fault – is the focus of conciliation and mediation.

Some employers provide conciliation/mediation services directly and others hire outside service providers. An individual from human resources, a manager or other employer representative may also serve in this role.

When can I file a written complaint?

You have six months to make a respectful workplace complaint.

What happens when the public we serve is being disrespectful?

Staff faced with a potentially violent situation should exercise extreme caution and should consider the following:

  • remain calm and, if applicable, try to distance himself/herself as quickly and safely as possible from the situation
  • employ safety techniques identified through training
  • in facility setting, be aware of and use the Code White relating to a call for help due to aggressive behavior
  • if possible, call for assistance from other staff
  • if the aggressor is a client who attempts to leave the room/building, do not attempt to physically prevent this departure; rather, call the appropriate emergency service to intervene appropriately
  • immediately notify the supervisor, manager, Security or someone in authority and complete an Occurrence Report if appropriate
  • if necessary, security will notify the police
  • if you have suffered an injury or a near miss as a result of the incident, the incident should be reported on a Winnipeg Health Region Injury Near Miss Report Form and  to the Workers Compensation Board

When is it appropriate to act on a disrespectful act from a client or family member?

It is always appropriate to have a discussion with your manager regarding any concerns of disrespectful behaviour from a family member or client.  Your manager will then know what next steps may need to be taken. Sometimes it may just be as simple as the manager speaking with the client or family member.

What part can I play in prevention?

Everyone has a part to play in creating a respectful workplace. Along with the way you conduct yourself – choose your words and your actions with thought for the way they impact the people around you – consider how others are interacting. If you see someone is being treated disrespectfully, speak up.

I think someone on my team is being bullied. What is my responsibility, if any?

We all have a part to play in creating a safe and healthy work environment. Speak up and express that this behaviour is not acceptable. You may also want to consider talking to your manager, Human Resources department at your site or OESH and ask for suggestions in how to address the situation.

My coworkers are constantly bullying me – what can I do?

If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, speak up and ask them to stop. If you do not feel comfortable doing so, speak with your manager, Human Resources department at your site or OESH and ask for help in resolving the situation.

My staff is in constant conflict resulting in disrespectful behaviours. How should I handle it?

There are resources and processes that can assist you to meet your responsibilities in resolving this.  As a first step, talk with your Human Resources consultant to help develop a plan of action.

There is a patient that is always hitting us. I know he is ill but we keep getting injured. I have told my manager and she says there is nothing that can be done? What should we do?

These can be very difficult situations that require some careful planning. When the situation has progressed to where the client is injuring staff then the OESH dept should be consulted to be a part of the care plan team. Through review of hazards and collaboration a care plan can be developed that provides for the safe care of the client but balances the need for a safe work environment for staff.

Make text smaller Make text bigger
WRHA Accessibility Plan Icon
Wait Times
View the Winnipeg Health Region's current approximate Emergency Department and Urgent Care wait times.

View wait times
Find Services
Looking for health services in Winnipeg?

Call Health Links-Info Sante at 788-8200

Search 211 Manitoba

Explore alternatives to emergency departments at MyRightCare.ca

Find a Doctor
Mobile App
Use your phone to find information about wait times and health services in Winnipeg. Download the Connected Care mobile app for iPhone today!

Learn more
Wave Magazine
The September / October 2017 issue of Wave, Winnipeg's health and wellness magazine, is now available online.

Read more
Contact Us
Do you have any comments or concerns?

Click here to contact us
Careers
The Winnipeg Health Region has a variety of career opportunities to suit your unique goals and needs.

Visit our Careers site
WRHA Logo Help| Terms of Use | Contact Us | En français