UofT Civil Conduct Guidelines

Click here for access the The University of Toronto’s “Human Resources Guideline on Civil Conduct.” 

If you have concerns about harassment or uncivil conduct at your workplace, the first step is to file a complaint under U of T’s Civility Guideline.

The guideline sets out the expectations of the University regarding the standard of civil conduct that it trusts that all employees will maintain in their dealings with each other, and also describes what constitutes civil and uncivil conduct and sets out a general framework for staff members who are concerned that they have experienced such conduct.

What is Harassment? 

(a) engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or

(b) workplace sexual harassment, which is defined as:

  • engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or
  • making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.

What is Uncivil Conduct? According to U of T, the following behaviours are considered uncivil if they are part of a recurring pattern:

  • Shouting
  • Profanity, abusive, aggressive or violent language directed at an individual or individuals
  • Using props suggestive of violence
  • Slamming doors
  • Throwing objects
  • Humiliating, degrading, demeaning, belittling, insulting, frightening or intimidating another person
  • Distributing comments about an individual, whether verbally or in writing, including online, that are unjustified and are likely to have a negative impact on the individual if he/she were to see them
  • Telling inappropriate jokes

Isolated instances of the examples above will not be considered in breach of the civility guidelines. 

The following is not considered uncivil conduct: 

  • Reasonable management action, taken in accordance with the relevant collective agreement or employment contract where applicable, such as:
    • Meetings, letters or conversations dealing with performance management, attendance management, coaching
    • Instructions given by a supervisor/manager such as what to do, how to do it, the expected standard of performance
    • Disciplinary action
    • Denial of leave requests
    • Requests for documentation to substantiate requests for leave
  • Evaluative comments made in the context of peer review processes
  • Differences of opinion or debate conveyed in a respectful manner
  • Interpersonal conflicts where the parties remain respectful of one another

To learn more on how to report, see page 4 of the guidelines.