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EDI + Anti-Violence, Harassment & Discrimination Policy

The RGD is a welcoming design community that globally supports graphic design professionals including firm owners, freelancers, managers, in-house designers, educators and students. 

The RGD is committed to providing a discrimination and harassment free environment where all individuals are treated with respect and barriers are removed to give fair opportunities to contribute.

We are dedicated to building a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion in order to promote a sense of belonging. This climate of trust and inclusivity also encourages individuals to advocate for change when needed. Gender identity or expression, race, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship, colour, creed, age, sex or sexual orientation, marital status, family status, socio-economic status, disability, genetic characteristics are acknowledged and represented in meaningful ways as part of our global community.

The RGD welcomes diverse professionals of all levels and practices. We embrace various viewpoints, encourage conversation and celebrate cultural similarities and differences. Our organization strives for the use of inclusive language and communication that respects and includes all communities. It is expected that we always treat others in a professional manner at all times, and hold others to that same standard.

We are committed to providing a safe and respectful environment for everyone. No one has to put up with violence, harassment or discrimination for any reason, at any time. This policy is a step towards ensuring that our organization, our Staff, our Members and everyone in our community are safe from violence, harassment and discrimination.

We strive to:

  • Foster an honest, open and constructive line of communication amongst all Members, volunteers, staff and other organizational stakeholders.
  • Cultivate a diverse and inclusive community of Canadian designers who value equity and accessibility.
  • Celebrate, support and encourage active participation of Members of under-represented groups within the Association and our industry.
  • Reflect diversity in our staff, Committees, Board Members and those who hold leadership positions within the organization.
  • Prohibit discrimination or harassment of any of our Members in all workshops, creative spaces and RGD functions.
  • Partner and work with diverse vendors, consultants and speakers.

The RGD is committed to a comprehensive strategy to address harassment and discrimination:

  • All members, including staff, Committee and Board Members of RGD are responsible to prevent and address any instances of discrimination and harassment within the RGD in a respectful and timely manner, as they become aware of it.
  • Provide opportunities for individual and group-based learning, including offering training, workshops and resources to make sure all Members are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
  • Follow a transparent and fair complaints and conflict-resolution procedure from a trauma-informed approach lens that is constructive and respectful to all parties – as specified by RGD By-Law #1, Section 5.02 to 5.05.
  • Regularly monitor and revise our policies and standard of procedures.

RGD recognizes that workplace discrimination, harassment and workplace violence are occupational health and safety hazards and may result in physical or emotional harm to workers. RGD will not tolerate any discrimination, harassment or violence, from any source. Everyone in the workplace is responsible for complying with this policy and working together to prevent workplace discrimination, harassment and violence. Failure to comply with this policy may lead to discipline, up to and including termination of employment for cause.

1. Definitions

Discrimination means any form of unequal treatment based on a ground protected by applicable human rights legislation, whether imposing extra burdens or denying benefits. It may be intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are discriminatory on their face, or it may involve rules, practices or procedures that appear neutral, but disadvantage certain groups of people. Discrimination may take obvious forms, or it may happen in very subtle ways. Even if there are many factors affecting a decision or action, if discrimination is one factor, that is a violation of this policy.

Workplace Harassment means 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. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, psychological harassment and harassment based on age, sex, race, colour, sexual orientation, religion, creed, political belief, record of offences, place of origin, ancestry, ethnic origin, citizenship, marital status, family status, disability, source of income or any other prohibited ground of discrimination. A poisoned or hostile environment is also a form of harassment and prohibited by law.

Workplace harassment includes many forms of behaviour, such as:

  • insulting, intimidating, demeaning, annoying, embarrassing or otherwise offensive behaviour;
  • inappropriate or unwelcome focus or comments on a person’s physical characteristics or appearance;
  • bullying and cyberbullying;
  • isolation and shunning, gossip, rumours, negative blogging, insults, name-calling; and
  • slamming doors, throwing objects and physical contact.

Reasonable action taken by RGD or a supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the workplace is not workplace harassment.

Workplace Sexual Harassment means 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.

Workplace sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • unwelcome sexual advances;
  • requests for sexual favours;
  • other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature including sexual jokes, graphic spoken commentary about a person’s body, derogatory or degrading remarks, leering, whistling, unwanted touching, hugging, kissing, tickling, pinching, patting, assault;
  • enquiries or comments about an individual’s sex life; and
  • displaying sexually offensive material in the workplace.

Workplace Violence means the attempted or actual exercise of physical force against a worker in the workplace that causes or is likely to cause physical injury to the worker; or, a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker in a workplace that could cause physical injury to the worker. Workplace violence includes domestic violence that occurs in the workplace.

Violence or threatening conduct includes but is not limited to:

  • hitting, punching, slapping or other means of assaulting another person;
  • challenging another person to a fight;
  • engaging in dangerous, threatening or unwelcome horseplay;
  • bringing a knife or other weapon of any kind onto or proximate to RGD’s premises including parking lots or other exterior proximities; and
  • threatening harm through words, gestures, symbols or written materials.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all activities that occur while on RGD’s premises or while engaging in RGD’s business, activities or social events. In the event of a conflict or ambiguity between this policy and the applicable legislative requirements, the applicable legislative requirements shall govern.

3. Responsibilities and Safe Workplace Commitment

RGD is committed to maintaining a professional and respectful work environment, and will ensure this policy is implemented and maintained and that all workers and supervisors have the appropriate information and instruction to protect themselves from discrimination, harassment and violence in the workplace.

All workers are responsible for working in compliance with this policy to support an atmosphere of trust, mutual respect and safety. All workers are strongly encouraged to report any incidents of workplace discrimination, harassment or violence. There will be no negative consequences for complaints of discrimination, harassment or violence made in good faith. Supervisors and managers are responsible for following this policy. They are also responsible for ensuring that measures and procedures developed to implement this policy are followed by workers and that workers have the information they need to protect themselves.

Management will comply with reporting, investigation and documenting procedures and investigate and address all concerns, complaints or incidents of workplace discrimination, harassment or violence in a fair and timely manner while respecting workers’ privacy as much as possible.

Workers who engage in workplace discrimination, harassment or violence, as defined above, may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment for cause. Workers may also be prohibited from entering our premises and may be subject to criminal prosecution in accordance with applicable law.

4. Procedures

Minimizing the Risk of Workplace Violence
RGD will take all reasonable and practical steps to prevent violence in the workplace, including conducting a risk assessment in order to identify possible sources of violence and implementing a violence prevention program in order to eliminate or minimize the risk of violence.

Summoning Immediate Assistance in the Event of a Violent Incident
If an incident of workplace violence occurs, workers should remove themselves from the situation (if possible). The first priority is to make the workplace safe, and then to notify relevant internal and external authorities, including calling the police (911) if necessary.

Reporting and Investigation
RGD will investigate all incidents and complaints of workplace discrimination, harassment or violence in an objective and timely manner, take any necessary action to respond to those incidents, and provide reasonable support for complainants.

In response to an incident or complaint of workplace discrimination, harassment or violence:

  1. Where possible, and if the worker is comfortable doing so, a worker who has experienced discrimination or harassment may make it known to the individual engaged in the discrimination or harassment, in clear terms, that her or his behavior is unwelcome and will not be tolerated.
  2. The worker alleging workplace discrimination, harassment or violence should make a complaint to RGD’s Executive Director, Hilary Ashworth, by email at
  3. Workers can report incidents or complaints of workplace discrimination, harassment or violence verbally or in writing. The worker reporting the incident or the person receiving the complaint should record the following information:The person to whom a complaint has been made may determine the method of investigation or action required to resolve the issue or that person may ask their manager to make that determination.
    • Name(s) of the worker who has allegedly experienced workplace violence or harassment and contact information.
    • Name(s), position(s) and contact information (if known) of the persons involved in the incident.
    • Names of the witness(es) (if any) or other person(s) with relevant information to provide about the incident (if any) and contact information (if known).
    • Details of what happened including date(s), frequency and location(s) of the alleged incident(s).
    • Any supporting documents the worker may have in his/her possession that are relevant to the complaint.
  4. The person to whom a complaint has been made will advise the manager(s) concerned of the complaint, the method of investigation and/or resolution, and the results of the investigation. Investigation and resolution may include participation by a neutral person or resource.
  5. The formality and scope of the investigation will be determined by the specific circumstances of each complaint.
  6. The worker who has allegedly experienced workplace violence or harassment and the individual(s) allegedly engaging in the workplace violence or harassment, if she or he is a worker of RGD, will be informed of the results of the investigation and of any corrective action that has been taken or that will be taken as a result of the investigation.

5. Confidentiality

The investigation of each complaint will be handled in as confidential a manner as possible. While the investigation is on-going, the complainant, the individual(s) allegedly engaging in the workplace violence or harassment, and any witnesses will be instructed not to discuss the complaint, incident or the investigation with other workers or witnesses unless necessary to obtain advice about their rights.

All records of the investigation, including information obtained about an incident or complaint of workplace harassment and identifying information about any persons involved, will not be disclosed unless the disclosure is necessary for the purposes of conducting a full and fair investigation or taking corrective action with respect to the incident or complaint, or is otherwise required by law.

6. Retaliation Prohibited

Any retaliation against an individual who has complained about or who has participated in an investigation of alleged harassment or other improper conduct is strictly prohibited. Any worker who feels that she or he is being retaliated against in violation of this policy, should contact RGD’s Executive Director, Hilary Ashworth, by email at and the worker’s concerns will be promptly and thoroughly reviewed.