‘Bullets’ comment made in heat of illegal strike not harassment

Not every inappropriate comment is harassment: Arbitrator
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 04/25/2016

An arbitrator  has determined that the director of an Alberta correctional centre did not harass correctional officers about to go on an illegal strike when the director made a gesture like a gun and referred to having bullets for them.

The Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Centre in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., issued a sexual and workplace harassment policy in November 2012 that stated it was committed to providing a “working environment free of harassment.” The policy was zero-tolerance and defined workplace harassment as “unwelcome conduct that is offensive in nature and detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victims.”

The policy indicated key characteristics of harassment were one-sided conduct that was offensive and unwelcome, including remarks and physical assault.