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Some of you will have seen the story in the Toronto Star about a matter brought to Human Resources by an employee and the investigation that followed.UHN's policy is clear with regard to comment on matters of individual employment -- we speak about our policies and procedures but we do not speak about individuals with regard to such matters. This clearly places us at a disadvantage when a media outlet looks in to the allegations of a staff member. However maintaining strict attention to confidentiality serves us well in the long run as employees must feel free to tell us about things that are wrong in the organization.
It is clear from the investigation, the report and the discussions that I have had with Emma Pavlov, Kim Bellissimo and Jacquie Silvera that we need to work with this area to reestablish a formal, collegial and respectful work environment for all of the staff.We also need to work with the staff to ensure that they understand that we take the matter of confidentiality very seriously.
In this case, a Star reporter accompanied an employee to a session with HR staff and posed as a friend and student in order to gain access to the session.We did object to this formally with The Star and had a lengthy discussion about why we had an issue with this tactic. Essentially, when we have an investigation, all who take part do so with the agreement that their discussions will be confidential because we need to understand what has happen ed and why it has happened before we decide what actions to take.
I did speak with the Star about our policies, processes and the work we do to create a healthy and respectful workplace. With approximately 14,000 employees, unfortunately, we are always at risk for disputes and inappropriate behaviour. Our goal is to ensure that each one of you feels comfortable enough to come forward if things aren't right in the workplace and then work with all parties to support a resolution which makes the work environment safe and comfortable for all concerned. All of our Human Resource policies may be found at http://intranet.uhn.ca/policies/toc/human_resources.asp on the intranet and the how investigations are conducted may be found in our Fostering Respect in the Workplace policy.
UHN has zero tolerance for harassment or discrimination in the workplace.If there are problems, we want to hear about them and then we work to address and solve those problems.To repeat, we have zero tolerance for harassment and discrimination at UHN. And, we have a robust program to educate and inform everyone about the way we expect that we will all work together.An incident like this is a painful reminder that we have not yet achieved the workplace we all want. We will continue to emphasize work that will improve our workplace.