Definitions and FAQs

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is adverse differential treatment of a person or group of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination (see below) that has the effect or purpose of unreasonably interfering with that person’s or group’s employment or educational status or performance or of creating a hostile or intimidating work or educational environment.

Discrimination includes adverse effect or systemic discrimination which consists of entrenched and institutionalized practices, systems, and structures that operate to limit a group’s or an individual’s rights to opportunities or to exclude a group or an individual from participation on the basis of any prohibited ground of discrimination.

What are the prohibited grounds of discrimination?

Prohibited grounds of discrimination are:

  • race
  • colour
  • ancestry
  • place of origin
  • political belief
  • religion
  • marital status
  • family status
  • physical or mental disability
  • sex (including gender identity and expression)
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • conviction for a criminal offence that is unrelated to the employment or intended employment 

What is harassment?

Harassment is any behaviour directed towards another person that:

  • is abusive or demeaning; and
  • includes a direct or indirect reference to a prohibited ground of discrimination (see above); and
  • would be viewed by a reasonable person experiencing the behaviour as an interference with that person’s participation in a university-related activity or creating an intimidating, humiliating or hostile environment.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is behaviour of a sexual nature by a person:

  • who knows or ought reasonably to know that the behaviour is unwanted or unwelcome; and
  • leads to or implies job or academically related consequences for the person harassed; or
  • would be viewed by a reasonable person experiencing the behaviour as an interference with that person’s participation in a university-related activity or creating an intimidating, humiliating or hostile environment.

What is personal harassment?

Personal harassment is behaviour directed towards a specific person or persons that would be characterized by a reasonable person as:

  • abusive and demeaning; and
  • threatening or intimidating; and
  • either interfering with the targeted person’s participation in a university-related activity or creating an intimidating, humiliating or hostile environment.

In addition, personal harassment must either abuse the power one person holds over another or misuse authority or constitute a pattern of mistreatment.

What is not considered personal harassment?

Personal harassment does not include:

  • interpersonal conflict or disagreement;
  • the use of appropriate performance management or workplace discipline; or
  • action where the harm by any objective standard is fleeting

What is WorkSafeBC?

WorkSafeBC is a provincial agency designated partner with employers and employees to prevent workplace injury, illness and disease, including bullying, harassment and discrimination.

UVic is committed to maintaining a healthy, safe and respectful environment for work and study. It is the responsibility of all members of the campus community not to engage in bullying and harassment, to report any bullying and harassment they observe or experience, and to comply with UVic and WorkSafeBC policies and procedures on bullying and harassment.