Complaint Handling Process

The University of Alberta’s revised Discrimination, Harassment and Duty to Accommodate Policy has clear processes for dealing with alleged complaints of discrimination, harassment or failure to accommodate an individual based on one of the protected grounds listed in the policy. These complaints should be treated in a prompt, impartial and confidential manner and taken seriously by all members of the university community.

Bad Faith or Vexatious Complaints

Our office recognizes the serious nature of allegations of discrimination or harassment that are made in bad faith, and the University of Alberta may take disciplinary action should allegations of discrimination or harassment be frivolous, fraudulent, or vexatious. Submitting a complaint in good faith (e.g. valid complaint), even when the complaint cannot be proven, is not a violation of this policy.

Complainant versus Respondent

As the policy states, the complaint process is based on a principles of natural law (e.g. complainant versus respondent).

  • A complainant is a person who believes he or she has been a victim of discrimination or harassment and initiates a complaint against a member of the University of Alberta community.
  • A respondent is a member of the University community who has been accused of discrimination or harassment by a complainant.

Processes for Formal and Informal Resolution of Alleged Human Rights Complaints

The various collective agreements that exist for staff and faculty along with the student codes of conduct guide the procedures for lodging informal or formal complaints.

Under the principles of natural law, no formal action is taken unless the complainant formally lodges a complaint against the respondent. A formal complaint that is proven can have a range of outcomes (e.g. formal apology, training, disciplinary action). These formal actions are a result of the investigation processes that is guided by the different bodies that represent people on campus (e.g. Faculty Relations works with Association of Academic Staff University of Alberta [ASSUA] if the complaint involved a faculty member) as outlined in the various collective agreements and student codes of conduct.

Informal action can be taken, which does not invoke the formal procedures as listed in the various collective agreements or codes of conduct for students. These actions could potentially include coaching, mediating, counselling or other measures to help resolve the complaint.

Have Other Questions about the Human Rights Processes? 

Our office is one point of contact on campus to learn more about the processes for filing a human rights complaint. We will guide you through the processes, while remaining impartial. Regardless of your status on campus (e.g. staff, faculty member, student or post-doctoral fellow [PDF]) our office will follow your complaint as it progresses through either the informal or formal procedures.

For complaints relating to undergraduate students, graduate students or PDFs you may also contact:

For complaints relating to staff members or faculty members you may also contact: