Racing NSW, TAFE NSW Western Sydney

Harassment

Racing NSW wishes to remind all employers and licensed persons of sexual harassment policies, procedures and practices in the NSW Racing Industry. Harassment 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 and victimisation. Racing NSW, as the regulatory body for racing in NSW, provides support services to promote working environments free of sexual harassment. These services include the following:

  • Assistance to employers to develop Sexual Harassment Policies
  • Contact with Industry Representatives
  • Contact with counsellors
  • Availability of course material for trainees and apprentice jockeys
  • Contact with independent bodies eg. Anti-discrimination Board, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.

you have any information regarding any adverse conduct relating to sexual harassment you can contact any of the Racing NSW personnel or other authorities listed at the foot of this page under the heading - Who Can You Contact? Racing NSW will not tolerate harassment in the NSW racing industry. Our Stewards will enforce the rules of racing and may refer complaints to appropriate authorities, which may include the police where appropriate. Racing NSW Stewards have the power to suspend or revoke the licence or registration of any person employed in the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry and who acts in contravention of the Sex Discrimination Act.

What is harassment?

Harassment is any form of behaviour that:

  • You do not want
  • Offends/humiliates/intimidates you
  • Targets you because of sex, pregnancy, race, marital status, disability, homosexuality or age

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:

  • uninvited touching, uninvited kisses or embraces;
  • smutty jokes or comments; making promises or threats in return for sexual favours;
  • displays of sexually graphic material including posters, pinups, cartoons, graffiti or messages left on notice boards, desks or common areas;
  • repeated invitations to go out after prior refusal;
  • "flashing" or sexual gestures;
  • sex-based insults, taunts, teasing or name-calling;
  • staring or leering at a person or at parts of their body;
  • sexually explicit conversation;
  • persistent questions or insinuations about a person's private life;
  • offensive phone calls, letters, SMS or e-mail messages or computer screen savers; stalking;

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

Could sexual harassment affect you?

YES! Everybody who is engaged in activities related to the NSW Racing Industry must be aware of their responsibilities and rights with regards to harassment, including sexual harassment. Everybody includes - employers; full-time, part-time and casual employees; contractors; trainees and students; who are engaged in activities in all areas of the racing industry in NSW.

How can it affect you?

Sexual harassment can have a serious and damaging effect on your life. It can:

  • affect work performance and opportunities;
  • create a hostile or unpleasant work environment;
  • make you insecure and fearful;
  • affect your studies and future career.

When and where can sexual harassment happen?

Sexual harassment is not just unlawful during working hours or in the workplace itself. The behaviour is illegal in any work-related context. Sexual harassment in employment is prohibited in the following circumstances:

  • recruitment and selection - for example, during job interviews;
  • the course of employment - for example, at the workplace, during working hours, at work-related activities such as training courses, conferences, field trips, work functions and office Christmas parties;
  • termination of employment - for example, where an employee is dismissed for objecting to sexual harassment or resigns because of intolerable sexual harassment;
  • any other circumstance that could arise in the context of relationships such as sexual harassment of an employee by a fellow employee, regardless of when or where it occurs.

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 do the Rules of Racing say?

Stewards are empowered to investigate allegations of sexual harassment and to lay charges and impose penalties under certain Rules of Racing, including:

AR 8. To assist in the control of racing, Stewards shall be appointed according to the Rules of the respective Principal Racing Authorities, with the following powers:- (d) To regulate and control, inquire into and adjudicate upon the conduct of all officials and licensed persons, persons attendant on or connected with a horse and all other persons attending a racecourse.

AR 175. The Committee of any Club or the Stewards may punish;

(q) Any person who in their opinion is guilty of any misconduct, improper conduct or unseemly behavior.

(qq) Any person who in their opinion, is guilty of engaging in the publishing or posting on any social media platform or channel any material, content or comment that is obscene, offensive, defamatory, racist, threatening, harassing, discriminating or abusive to any other person or entity involved in the racing industry.

(x) Any person who in their opinion is guilty of workplace harassment of a person while the latter is acting in the course of his duties when employed, engaged or participating in the racing industry.

(y) Any person who in their opinion is guilty of sexual harassment of a person employed, engaged or participating in the racing industry.

(z) Any person who engages in any conduct which threatens, disparages, vilifies or insults another person (the ‘other person’) on any basis, including but not limited to, a person’s race, religion, colour, descent, and/or national or ethnic origin, special ability/disability or sexual orientation, preference or identity, while the other person is acting in the course of his or her duties in the racing industry.

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 victimisation
  • 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 committed by employees or agents in connection with their duties unless "all reasonable steps" were taken by the employer to prevent harassment occurring.
  • Lack of awareness that an employee or agent sexually harassed another will not discharge an employer's vicarious liability. Vicarious liability is an employer's legal responsibility for wrongs committed by employees in the course of work.

What are employee's responsibilities?

  • Employees should be aware of and understand both their rights and their responsibilities. This means they should also be aware of, and comfortable with, all available avenues for complaint and support
  • An employee must not engage in any act of victimisation
  • An employee must not cause, instruct, induce, aid or permit another person to commit an act of sexual harassment.

All staff have a responsibility to:

  • comply with the organisation's sexual harassment policy;
  • offer support to anyone who is being harassed and let them know where they can get help and advice (they should not, however, approach the harasser themselves);
  • maintain complete confidentiality if they provide information during the investigation of a complaint. Staff should be warned that spreading gossip or rumours may expose them to a defamation action.

What are employers' responsibilities?

Every employer, regardless of business size, is legally required to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment if they wish to avoid liability.

  • There is no exemption in the Sex Discrimination Act for small business. Employers in all small businesses, whatever the size, will be vicariously liable for acts of sexual harassment committed by employees unless all reasonable steps were taken to prevent it occurring.
  • Allowing sexual harassment to remain un-checked can expose employers to the cost, inconvenience and damaging publicity of legal proceedings and compensation claims.
  • Employers are not only liable for their own acts of sexual harassment. They can also be held legally responsible for sexual harassment by their employees unless all reasonable precautions were taken. It is the employer's responsibility to prove that all reasonable steps were taken. Employers must actively implement precautionary measures to minimise the risk of sexual harassment occurring.
  • It is recommended that employers develop and promote a written policy on sexual harassment, which includes both internal and external complaint procedures. When developing a strategy to address sexual harassment, it is recommended that employers consult with relevant parties including staff, unions, employer organisations, industry and professional associations, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and/or State and Territory anti-discrimination agencies.

How to make a complaint?

Seek a complaint channel that you both trust and feel comfortable with. First consult your employer's harassment policy procedures and investigate internal complaint channels. External complaint channels include:

  • Racing NSW Executives and Managers
  • Racing NSW Stewards
  • NSW Anti-Discrimination Board
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission

Who can you contact?

Racing NSW

General Enquiries:

Racing NSW
Level 7,
51 Druitt St,
Sydney, NSW 2000.
Phone:(02) 9551 7500
Fax:(02) 9551 7501

Confidential Enquiries:

Stewards' Department - (02) 9551 7500
Racecourse Inspector (02) 9551 7500

Chairman of Stewards

The Chairman of Stewards in your region will also ensure confidentiality.

Dubbo Regional Office
Chairman of Stewards (02) 6885 2111

Tamworth Regional Office
Chairman of Stewards (02) 6762 2035

Port Macquarie Regional Office
Chairman of Stewards (02) 6581 1476

Grafton Regional Office
Chairman of Stewards (02) 6642 7661

Queanbeyan Regional Office
Chairman of Stewards (02) 6241 3596

Wagga Wagga Regional Office
Chairman of Stewards (02) 6921 6244

ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BOARD NSW (ADB)

For employers: The ADB provides information, support and training services

For employees: The ADB provides information and confidential counselling services

Toll Free: 1800 670 812

Sydney: (02) 9268 5555

TTY: 1800 555 677

WEB: www.antidiscimination.justice.nsw.gov.au

HUMAN RIGHTS & EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION

For employers: The HREOC provides information, support and training services

For employees: The HREOC provides information and confidential counselling services

Phone: (02) 9284 9600

Complaints Infoline: 1300 656 419

WEB: www.hreoc.gov.au

NSW DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY SERVICES -

Child Protection Helpline 132 111

CENTRAL SYDNEY SEXUAL ASSAULT SERVICE - This service provides telephone counselling (02) 9515 3680

NSW RAPE CRISIS CENTRE

Toll Free: 1800 424 017

Sydney: (02) 9819 6565

www.nswrapecrisis.com.au

WayAhead – This service has an extensive database of community contact names and numbers Toll Free:1300 794 991

LIFELINE – This service provides out of hours support Toll Free:131 114

NSW WEBSITE – http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/kidsfamilies/protection/Pages/health-sas-services.aspx

This website provides phone numbers for regional sexual assault services