The Fairness Triangle

One tool that can be helpful for individuals to consider as part of their decision-making process is the fairness triangle. This triangle articulates three dimensions of fairness to be considered in an individual's experience: Relational, Procedural and Substantive. 

  • Relational - How was I treated?
  • Procedural - How was it decided?
  • Substantive - What was decided?

Elements of Relational Fairness

  • Being approachable
  • Listening actively
  • Respecting confidentiality
  • Being honest and forthright
  • Making information clear and easily available
  • Providing accessible problem-solving options
  • Being clear about what you can and cannot do
  • Offering an apology if a mistake is made

Elements of Substantive Fairness

  • Having the appropriate authority to make a decision
  • Ensuring that decisions are based on relevant information
  • ...are not unjust, oppressive or discriminatory
  • ...are not wrong in fact or law
  • ...are reasonable

Elements of Procedural Fairness

  • Providing notice that a decision is to be made, along with sufficient information for an affected person to know what is required and what is at stake
  • Providing an appropriate forum for an affected person to present their views and to be heard
  • Being impartial and unbiased 
  • Making a decision in a reasonable time
  • Providing clear and appropriate reasons for decisions

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