London

Workplace culture issues persist at city as deputy fire chief put on leave

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Published Nov. 4, 2019 5:52 p.m. ET
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LONDON, Ont. -- With Acting Deputy Fire Chief Jack Burt placed on administrative leave pending a Code of Conduct investigation, it seems culture issues still exist in the city's workplace.

"We need to make this a priority and people are saying they don't feel like it is," says CUPE 101 President Steve Holland.

Holland, who represents City of London inside workers, says he is still receiving complaints.

Back in March the findings of a third-party report by Rubin Thomlinson LLP were revealed.

In that article, 383 issues of harassment, discrimination, bullying, intimidation and reprisal in the workforce were cited.

Holland says a major complaint is that the process to deal with issues takes too long, leaving employees and managers on leave for extended periods.

"We even have some complaints and concerns that take six to eight months and we don't have an outcome. At some point in time, we need answers and need to be taken seriously, and we need to push on this and make it a priority."

City of London Manager Martin Hayward says the process is moving forward.

"We just completed training of over 400 managers in respectful workplace culture, we are looking to continue that training onto the organization next year, and we will have policies finalized by early 2020.:

Hayward adds that everything they are doing with Rubin Thomlinson is public except for individual investigations.

Holland says he trusts and believes in Hayward and feels he's doing his best, but also knows culture change unfortunately doesn't happen overnight.

"If people see there is something happening they might truly belive in the process," adds Holland. "We want them to have faith we are all working together to make the city a better place to work in."

A report on harassment and discrimination will come to council in the first quarter of 2020. The idea behind the report is increased transparency on how the city is dealing with complaints.


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