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While this may undermine the complainant’s credibility, it does not in itself make the allegation a fabrication.

For example, let us say a complainant (an administrative staff member) does not disclose the fact that he engaged in kissing and sexual behaviour with the alleged harasser (a professor) or that such behaviour was consensual in the early days of their intimate relationship.

) privilege of John and the awakening feminist (and mob? Over the years, labour arbitrators have cautioned against using subjective impressions to decide the merit of workplace grievances of harassment.

Or, the comments were made, but the evidence shows that the conduct was mutual, and Person B could not reasonably know her or his comments were unwelcome.

Or, a single event is complained of—Person B shows Person A a You Tube video of women swimming naked—yet the investigation concludes that this single event is not sufficiently severe (or, perhaps, sexual) to be considered sexual harassment.

It answers two questions: Did it (what is alleged) occur? The totality of the evidence must be assessed to determine whether specific behaviours constituted sexual harassment—or something else, such as interpersonal conflict, miscommunication, unprofessional behaviour, or potential criminal behaviour, such as sexual assault or criminal harassment (stalking).

An evidence-based process is fundamental to a careful, objective, and thorough analysis using the required “balance of probabilities” that is the civil standard of proof.

While the onus is first on the complainant to make out a prima facie case (before the onus shifts to the alleged harasser to respond to the allegations), the prima facie case does not in itself create proof of substantiation.

As noted earlier, whether the complaint has merit will be determined through a fact-finding process.Written in the early 1990s and still performed today, Oleanna prompts us to interpret the dialogue, tone and body language of John, a professor in his mid-forties, and Carol, his student.Over three provocative acts, the play may enrage audience members as they empathize with either character, or both, or neither. As theatre it is enormously effective, as it places us in the role of judge and jury but without the benefit of fact-finding and analysis.Keep in mind that any of these examples may indicate that inappropriate or unprofessional conduct occurred, but it does not fit the definition of sexual harassment.Essentially, a prima facie case of sexual harassment exists when a complainant’s allegations, on the face of it, appear to have all the elements of sexual harassment.Or, it may challenge us to unpack an unhealthy brew of sexual harassment (or inappropriate behaviour? ), unclear communication, partisan perceptions, and strong emotions, as well as issues of power, gender, class, and age. As an investigator I am intrigued and frustrated by the play. ), certainly of unclear communication and mixed (misguided? We overlay our own subjective impressions on those of the prime characters.

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