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Harassment & Discrimination

Introduction

RWWA wishes to remind all industry participants of their rights and responsibilities with regard to discrimination and sexual harassment.

Discrimination and sexual harassment are unacceptable and unlawful forms of behaviour.

All people have the right to work in an environment that is free of sexual harassment, victimisation and discrimination.

RWWA, as the regulatory body for racing in Western Australia, provides support services, to promote working environments which are free of sexual harassment and discrimination. These services include the following:

  • Contact with Industry Representatives
  • Availability of course material for trainees and apprentice jockeys
  • Contact with independent bodies, eg. Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, Anti-Discrimination Commission

A range of options exists to ensure all those involved in the industry have at least one channel of complaint with which they feel comfortable.

RWWA will not tolerate sexual harassment and discrimination in the Western Australian racing industry.

RWWA Stewards will enforce the Rules of Racing and will refer complaints to appropriate authorities which may include the police where appropriate.

What Is Discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when someone is treated unfairly or badly compared to others, often because they are seen as different. It is against the law to discriminate against people because of:

  • Sex (whether male or female)
  • Marital or parental status
  • Race
  • Age
  • Impairment (whether physical, intellectual, psychiatric or mental disability, injury or illness, including whether they are HIV+ or use a guide dog, wheelchair or some other remedial device)
  • Religion
  • Political belief or activity
  • Trade union activity
  • Lawful sexual activity (whether they are gay, lesbian, heterosexual or bisexual)
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding

It is also against the law to discriminate against a person because they associate with or are related to someone who has any of these attributes or personal characteristics.

Unlike sexual harassment, which is against the law in all circumstances, discrimination is only against the law if it covers one or more of the grounds listed above and it occurs in any of the following areas:

  • Employment
  • Accommodation
  • Education
  • Provision of goods and services
  • Access to places and vehicles
  • Club membership and affairs
  • Application forms
  • Advertising
  • Superannuation and insurance
  • Sport

Additionally, the Racial Hatred Act covers public acts which are done because of race, colour, national or ethic origin of a person and are reasonably likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate that person or group.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited behaviour of a sexual nature that makes a person feel humiliated, intimidated or offended.

Sexual harassment can take many different forms and may include physical contact, verbal comments, jokes, propositions, the display of offensive material or other behaviour, which creates a sexually hostile working environment.

Examples of sexual harassment include:

  • lewd jokes, comments or innuendo
  • sexual comments, advances or propositions
  • unzipping or undoing attire
  • offensive, obscene language or crude gestures
  • persistent questions or insinuations about a person's private life
  • display of sexist literature
  • nude/pornographic pictures (including screensavers)
  • offensive, obscene language or crude gestures
  • obscene telephone calls, faxes or emails

Sexual harassment can involve behaviour that would also be an offence under the criminal law.For example, physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communication.

Sexual harassment is not behaviour that is based on mutual attraction, friendship and respect. If the interaction is consensual, welcome and reciprocated it is not sexual harassment.

Could Discrimination or Sexual Harassment Affect You? Yes

Everybody who is engaged in activities related to the Western Australian Racing Industry must be aware of their responsibilities and rights with regard to discrimination, including sexual harassment.

Everybody includes owners; trainers; jockeys; RWWA's employees; contractors; trainees and all other associated persons who are engaged in activities in all areas of the racing industry in Western Australia.

What Are Your Rights?

  • Everyone has the right to work in an environment which is free of harassment
  • Sexual harassment is against the law
  • Sexual harassment is against the Rules of Racing
  • Confidential complaint procedures are available

What Does the Law Say?

Sexual harassment is prohibited in Australia by the Federal Sex Discrimination Act and anti-discrimination laws in all States and Territories. The Sex Discrimination Act prohibits sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination in areas such as employment, the provision of services, education and accommodation.

Sexual harassment is a legally recognised form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment can be a breach of an employer's common law duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of employees. It can also be a breach of occupational health and safety legislation.

What Are the Rules of Racing?

Stewards are empowered to investigate misconduct or allegations of misconduct and to lay charges and impose penalties under certain Rules of Racing.

Who Is Responsible?

Are individual persons responsible? YES.

  • Persons, including employers, employees and contract workers are personally liable for their own acts of sexual harassment
  • A person is personally liable for any act of victimization or discrimination
  • A person is personally liable for causing, instructing, inducing, aiding or permitting another to discriminate (including discrimination involving sexual harassment)

Are employers responsible? YES.

  • An employer is vicariously liable* for any acts of harassment or discrimination committed by employees or agents in connection with their duties unless "all reasonable steps" were taken by the employer to prevent harassment and discrimination occurring
  • Lack of awareness that an employee or agent sexually harassed or discriminated against another will not discharge and employer's vicarious liability*

*Vicarious liability is an employer's legal responsibility for wrongs committed by employees in the course of work.

How to Make a Complaint

Seek a complaint channel that you both trust and feel comfortable with. Investigate internal complaint channels. External complaint channels include:

  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission
  • State Equal Opportunities Commission
  • Sexual Assault Resource Centre

Who Can You Contact?

The RWWA Racing Integrity Division at
70 Grandstand Road
ASCOT 6104
Phone: (08) 9445 5333
Greyhound Racing Stewards
Phone: (08) 9445 5237
Thoroughbred Racing Stewards
Phone: (08) 9445 5333
Harness Racing Stewards
Phone: (08) 9445 5157

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, Sydney
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9284 9600
Facsimile: (02) 9284 9611
General Enquiries: 1300 369 711
Complaints Hotline: 1300 656 419
Email: complaintsinfo@humanrights.gov.au 
Web: http://www.humanrights.gov.au 

Equal Opportunity Commission
Level 2, Westralia Square
141 St Georges Terrace
PERTH WA 6805
Phone: (08) 9216 3900
Facsimile: (08) 9216 3960
Country Callers (FREECALL): 1800 198 149
Email: eoc@equalopportunity.wa.gov.au
Web: http://www.equalopportunity.wa.gov.au/

Sexual Assault Resource Centre
Phone: (08) 9340 1820
Facsimile: (08) 9381 5426
Crisis Line (24 hours): (08) 9340 1828
Counselling Line (24 hours): (08) 9340 1899
Country Callers (FREECALL): 1800 199 888

Crisis Care
Department of Community Development
Counselling Line (24 hours): (08) 9223 1111
Country Callers (FREECALL): 1800 199 008

Lifeline WA
57 Murray Street
PERTH WA 6000
Counselling Line (24 hours): 131 114
Web: http://www.lifelinewa.org.au/


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