Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedure for The Third Balcony Theatre



1. The Policy

1.1 Harassment and discrimination are contrary to the spirit of the performing arts and this theatre. Third Balcony Theatre (TBT) recognizes its responsibility to provide an environment that is free of harassment and discrimination and supportive of the dignity, self-esteem and fair treatment of everyone taking part in its activities. TBT will not tolerate discrimination or harassment in its workplace or as part of any activities taking place under its auspices. 

In the event that harassment or discrimination is alleged, every effort will be made to work with the people involved to find a fair and timely resolution of the matter.


2.1 What is discrimination?

Differential treatment of a person based upon a prohibited ground.

This policy deals with types of harassment covered by human rights codes in Canada (that requires the behaviour to be related to a prohibited ground) as well as certain types of personal harassment.

2.2 What is harassment?

Behaviour that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome in relationship to one of the prohibited grounds. Harassment acts to humiliate or disparage someone, denying the dignity of an individual. Usually harassment involves a course of conduct or comment, but there are behaviours, such as sexual touching, when one incident is sufficient to be considered.

2.3 What is sexual harassment?

Where the offensive actions as defined above in the definition of harassment relate to the sex or gender of the individual.

Some examples of sexual harassment include:

(i) unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendoes or taunting about a person's body or attire

(ii) unwanted touching or inappropriate physical contact such as touching, kissing, patting, or hugging,

(iii) unwelcome enquiries or comments about a person's sex life or sexual preference,

(iv) leering, whistling, or other suggestive or insulting sounds,

(v) inappropriate comments about clothing, physical characteristics or activities,

(vi) posting or display of materials, articles, or graffiti, etc. which is sexually oriented,

(vii) requests or demands for sexual favours which include, or strongly imply, promises of rewards for complying(e.g. job advancement opportunities) and/or threats of punishment for refusal (e.g. denial of job advancement or opportunities).

2.4 What is personal harassment?

Excessive, unwelcome behaviour, directed at an individual, not linked to the prohibited grounds, which is known or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome/unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate. In most cases a single incident would not be considered personal harassment.

Some examples of personal harassment include:

a. Physically intimidating behaviour or threats; b. Use of profanity (swearing), vulgarity;

c. Ridiculing, taunting, belittling or humiliating another person; d. Derogatory name-calling.

2.5 What is a poisoned or negative environment?

Behaviour such as insults and jokes relating to one of the prohibited grounds, though not directed at anyone in particular, have the effect of creating or maintaining an offensive, hostile, or intimidating climate.

2.6 What are the prohibited grounds identified in the human rights code?

The prohibited grounds refer to those personal attributes that are recognized as the most common targets of harassing and discriminatory actions. For offensive behaviour to be considered harassment the focus of the comment or conduct must be directed toward one of these aspects of your background.(Based upon the Ontario Human Rights Code. Other provincial Codes may differ slightly).

3. Important aspects of this policy

1. The policy applies to all employees, anyone providing or acquiring services through contract, visitors, guests and patrons.

2. A substantiated act of discrimination or harassment may be cause for disciplinary action up to and including the possibility of discharge for employee, suspension or termination of a contract for someone with a contractual relationship with TBT or prohibiting attendance at TBT facilities for a patron or guest.

3. Agreements with our partners, such as Canadian Actors' Equity, IATSE, etc recognize that there is a common interest in preventing, and when required, helping to resolve harassment. Whenever possible and where appropriate, CBT will work with its partners to facilitate resolution of incidents of discrimination and harassment.

4. While everyone involved with TBT is encouraged to follow the policy and procedures, at the same time nothing in the policy is intended to prevent a complainant from using an alternate procedure, such as the Human Rights Code or other legal action.

5. TBT will deal seriously with any allegation of reprisal or threat of reprisal against anyone who makes use of this policy or participates in its proceedings.

6. All procedures and interactions taking place under this policy will be kept strictly confidential short of the requirements of this policy and legal obligations.

7. Properly discharged responsibilities relating to the requirements of the theatre workplace, including performance do not constitute harassment. Performance appraisals, instruction, counselling and the quest for high standards, provided that such standards are not arbitrary and are applied in a non-discriminatory manner are not contrary to this policy. Furthermore, this policy is not meant to interfere with mutually acceptable social interactions that are an important part of a comfortable working environment.

8. All complaints must be initiated within six months of the incident occurring.

4. If you feel you are being harassed -- Procedures

The following four steps suggest an orderly way to approach the resolution of your harassment problem. Depending upon your situation, you may decide that it is not possible to utilize the informal (Steps One and Two) part of this procedure. At that point you may decide to proceed directly to Step Three, formal complaint.

4.1 Step One

Ask the person to stop. Let him or her know that the behaviour was inappropriate, that you found it hurtful or that you were made uncomfortable.

4.2 Step Two

If you are unable, or were unsuccessful talking directly to the other person, get advice from your supervisor or another official from the theatre (Artistic Director, General Manager, etc) or from someone like an Equity Business Representative or Member of Council. The person you go to for advice will work with you to help resolve the situation using an informal approach. This may include taking steps such as meeting with the person you are having the problem or arranging for mediation.

Write down what happened including dates, times, location and witnesses.

4.3 Step Three

If the problem persists you may consider filing a formal written complaint. The complaint must be submitted to the General Manager (or, reflective of the theatre structure, another senior official). A copy of the complaint will then be given to the respondent.

The General Manager (or other senior official) will conduct an investigation of the allegations. If either party objects to the General Manager conducting the investigation, and it is agreeable to the parties, a second investigator from outside the management structure of the theatre such as an Equity Business Representative, would act as a co-investigator. Finally, where it is appropriate, an external, independent investigator or arbitrator may be appointed. In the case of an arbitrator conducting the investigation, the report submitted at the conclusion of the investigation will include recommendations for actions to be taken.

The investigator will prepare a report which will include a review of the evidence relating to each of the allegations. The report will conclude with a finding, on the basis of the balance of probabilities, whether the allegations are supported by the investigation. Both parties to the complaint will receive a copy of the report and be invited to respond in writing.

4.4 Step Four

The report will be submitted to the senior official of the theatre for a final decision on the action to be taken. This decision will be made based upon the findings in the investigation report and the response of the parties. If the complaint is upheld, sanctions will be imposed based upon the seriousness of the situation, the impact of the behaviour and the needs of the complainant

Where there is a finding that the allegations are not upheld by evidence and it is decided that no further action be taken, no record will appear in any personnel file. If it is found that the allegations are frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith, the decision maker may decide to impose sanctions against the complainant.

The decision is not appealable through this policy process.

All materials gathered in the course of this complaint resolution process, except the statement of the sanction where there is a finding of harassment taking place, shall be retained in strictest confidence, separate from any personnel files.

June 2000

Draft prepared for Canadian Actor's Equity by:

Alan Shefman, President, The Edge Quality/Communications Consultants

113 Heatherton Way, Thornhill, Ontario L4J 3E7

905-709-1163 email: WEB: