As education workers whose employment involves contact with children, we are held to a higher standard of behaviour than many other employees in the Ontario workforce, both in the workplace and in our personal lives. We are considered to have positions of authority and as such are vulnerable to accusations of misconduct by disgruntled clients. False allegations do occur on a regular basis to our membership due to the nature of the population with whom we work.
It is IMPORTANT for all PSSP members to understand exactly what will occur, should an allegation be made about you. It may be made by a parent, student, administrator or fellow staff member. In some cases the employee remains at work while the investigation is occurring. However, in the majority of cases the employee is sent home, pending the completion of the investigation. Police and CAS are contacted should the allegation(s) involve harm to a student. All TDSB employees are subject to the same Investigations Protocol when an allegation is made.
The protocol is as follows when an employee is sent home:
The employee is read a script which informs them they are being placed on home assignment by Employee Services, with full pay and benefits. They are NOT informed of the allegation(s), who made the allegation nor any details about the nature of the investigation that will occur.
They are informed of the confidentiality of the investigation and prohibited from speaking to any TDSB employee about the fact they are on home assignment or what they think may have caused them to be placed on home assignment.
Their email and all other access to the TDSB is severed for the duration of the home assignment. They are not allowed on TDSB property while on home assignment.
They are advised that discipline will occur should they communicate with others about the matter.
When the employer completes all aspects of their investigation the PSSP member must report for a meeting with their supervisor(s), with union representation, to answer questions by the employer and to supply their version of events.
The investigation is closed once the employee’s voice has been heard and a determination of the allegation(s) is either a)Founded, b) Unfounded, or c) Undetermined.
When the employee is either disciplined or cleared of the allegation(s), the PSSP member must continue to hold the entire matter in confidence and not speak about it to any colleagues or others at the TDSB.
The complaintant is not spoken to about the matter with the PSSP member, as it is the TDSB’s position that everyone is free to express their concerns and bring a complaint against a staff member. The employee would be seen to engage in retribution against a complaintant should contact, such as a meeting, be held to discuss the matter once the investigation is closed.
While PSSP has lobbied strongly for a change in the procedure to allow for the employee to learn the initial allegation when placed on Home Assignment, we do not anticipate movement from the employer in this area. All unions at the TDSB have lobbied against this protocol, yet it remains in place. We are all bound by it as employees of the TDSB.