Respectful Workplace Policy


Mocean Dance Society is committed to a safe, healthy, and rewarding work environment for its employees, contracted artistic workers, directors and officers, and other collaborators. For the purposes of this policy, “workers” will include the above.

This policy was formulated after reviewing a range of publicly available workplace policy-development frameworks including Arts Nova Scotia Respectful Workplaces, Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists, Cultural Human Resource Council HR Management Toolkit, NS Human Rights Commission, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Mocean Dance also carefully considered its own organizational structure and needs.

Reason for Policy

Harassment, sexual misconduct, abuse of power, and discrimination are unacceptable behaviours and will not be tolerated within our working culture and workplace. This includes but is not limited to any locations where Mocean Dance conducts its work, including, but not limited to: Mocean’s office; creation and rehearsal spaces; touring, residencies and related travel; choreographic labs; performance spaces; events and fundraisers; and other public and private spaces and via social media channels where those in a contracted or voluntary relationship with Mocean Dance are in contact with each other or the public.

We have developed this policy to ensure a safe and respectful workplace and workplace culture, and to deal quickly and effectively with an incident. Workers who violate this policy may be subject to a range of disciplinary measures, including dismissal for cause and/or termination of existing or pending contracts. 

Effective Date

This policy is in effect on and after April 25, 2019. This policy will be reviewed annually at the society’s AGM.

Terms and Definitions 

Harassment, including sexual harassment, abuse of power, and discrimination are defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to have been known to be unwelcome. In Nova Scotia, the legislation that addresses workplace safety includes the Human Rights Act, the Workers Compensation Act, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Examples of workplace harassment that will not be tolerated include:

  1. unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendo or taunting for any reason;
  2. practical or vulgar jokes which cause awkwardness or embarrassment;
  3. stalking, leering, staring or gestures;
  4. physical or sexual assault.

Examples of sexual harassment that will not be tolerated include:

  1. unwanted touching or physical contact outside the normal and mutually acceptable course of creating or performing dance-art ;
  2. differential treatment of employees or co-workers;
  3. verbal or written jokes, teasing, and other communication of a sexual nature;
  4. demeaning language based on gender or sexual preference;
  5. graphic comments about an individual’s body;
  6. use of sexually degrading words to describe an individual;
  7. display of sexually suggestive objects and/or pictures in the workplace;
  8. unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions;
  9. requests for sexual favours;
  10. indirect or expressed threats for refusal of a sexual request.

Examples of abuse of power that will not be tolerated include:

  1. verbal abuse or threats;
  2. condescension, intimidation, or paternalism which undermines self-respect.

Examples of discrimination that will not be tolerated include:

  1. harassing an individual because of characteristics enumerated in the N.S. Human Rights Act, including, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and disability;
  2.  imposing burdens, obligations or disadvantages on the basis of these characteristics.


This policy applies to harassment, sexual misconduct, abuse of power, and discrimination occurring at the workplace, in the course of work, or during any activities that could reasonably be associated with Mocean Dance (as outlined above). 


Informal Resolution

On occasion, unacceptable behaviour(s) as defined above can be dealt with directly and informally through communication with the person engaging in the unwelcome behaviour.

Where workers feel comfortable doing so, they should communicate a clear message that the conduct or comments are offensive or unwelcome. However, Mocean Dance recognizes that there may be circumstances where direct communication is inappropriate. Although informal resolution is encouraged where possible, it is not a prerequisite to making a report under this policy.

Where an employee does not wish to bring the matter directly to the attention of the person engaging in the unwelcome behaviour or where such an approach is attempted and does not produce a satisfactory result, the employee should report the unacceptable behaviour as outlined below.

Making a Formal Report 

Incidents of unacceptable behaviour should be reported as soon as possible after experiencing or witnessing such conduct. This allows an incident to be addressed in a timely manner. 

Workers are encouraged to report any incidents to a Co-Artistic Director. If a Co-Artistic Director is the person engaging in the unacceptable behaviour or if for any other reason it is not appropriate or possible to report the incident to a Co-Artistic Director (such as a real or perceived conflict of interest), contact the Chair of the Board of Directors.

An incident can be reported verbally or in writing. When reporting verbally, the Mocean Dance representative receiving the report will document the report in writing. 

The report should include the following information:

  1. name(s) of the person who has allegedly experienced unacceptable behaviour;
  2. name(s) of the alleged proponents of the behaviour(s);
  3. names of any witnesses or other persons with relevant information about the incident and contact information (if known);
  4. details of what happened including date(s), frequency and location(s) of the incident(s);
  5. any relevant supporting documents that the person making the report has in their possession.


Once Mocean has knowledge of a situation, the organization is obligated to take action, regardless of a lack of a formal report or in situations where a formal report has been made and the individual(s) making the report does not wish to pursue the matter.

Likewise, if Mocean acquires information via a witness to alleged unacceptable behaviour, the organization is obligated to follow-up and document the steps taken regardless of the wishes of the individual who experienced the alleged unacceptable behaviour.


Any individual involved in a complaint pursuant to this policy is expected to maintain confidentiality. All reports of unacceptable behaviour shall be kept confidential except to the extent necessary to protect workers, to investigate the report, to take corrective action or otherwise as required by law.

The requirement for confidentiality is not intended to prevent individuals from seeking appropriate outside professional support (such as counselling or independent legal advice), although individuals should fully understand the role that any professional could play in an investigation and/or any subsequent processes.

Investigation Process

Mocean Dance will ensure that an investigation appropriate to the circumstances is conducted when a report of unacceptable behaviour is made. Reports of harassment, sexual misconduct, abuse of power, and discrimination will be investigated in a fair, respectful, and timely manner.

Unless a Co-Artistic Director is in a real or perceived conflict of interest, the Co-Artistic Director, in coordination with the Board Chair and the Chair of the HR Committee, will determine which two Mocean Dance representatives will conduct the investigation. Should the Co-Artistic Director be in conflict of interest, the Chair of the HR Committee and the The Board Chair will determine who will conduct the investigation. 

Depending on the allegations and the people involved, the investigation may be referred to an external investigator, or may be investigated by Mocean Dance’s representative. 

Outcome of Investigation

After the investigation is concluded, both the person making the report and the person alleged to have engaged in unacceptable behaviour will be informed of the findings.

If Mocean Dance concludes that there has not been a violation of this policy, there will be no documentation concerning the report placed on the files of the person making the report or the person alleged to have engaged in unacceptable behaviour.

If Mocean Dance concludes that there has been a violation of this policy, the worker who violated the policy will be disciplined appropriately.


No Retaliation 

Regardless of the outcome of a report made in good faith, the worker making the report as well as anyone providing information during an investigation will be protected from retaliation.

Reports Made in Bad Faith

A report made in bad faith shall constitute grounds for disciplinary action against the person making the report. A bad faith report is a report that is made with the intent to mislead or deceive, or with a malicious or fraudulent intent. 

External Reporting Options

Nothing in this policy prevents an individual from filing a complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission or any other agency or from contacting the police if they believe that criminal activity has occurred. 


Key Mocean Dance Contact Information

Susanne Chui, Co-Artistic Director



Sara Coffin, Co-Artistic Director

902-456-7262 (cell)


Lisa Phinney Langley, Finance Associate

office: 902-425-4908


Sam Penner, Communications and Administrative Associate


Pamela Scott Crace, Board Chair



Andrea Smillie, Chair of the Human Resources Committee