Every person who participates in sport has the right to be treated with respect and fairness in an environment that is safe.  Discrimination, Harassment & Bullying are damaging to everyone concerned as well as to the sport itself.

Harassment & Bullying
Bullying is a form of harassment and can be defined as repeated unreasonable behaviour that is directed toward a person, or a group of people and creates a risk to health and safety.

Discrimination
The term ‘Discrimination’ refers to situations where a person (or group) is treated unfairly or not as well as others because of a specific characteristic (such as age, gender, disability, race or religion). 

Discrimination can be direct or indirect.  Direct discrimination is when someone is treated unfairly / unfavorable because of a certain attribute.  For example, if a person of a particular race was not allowed to join a sporting club, it could be direct discrimination.

Indirect discrimination occurs where there is some requirement or condition (that is not reasonable in the circumstances) that appears to be the same for everyone but actually disadvantages people with certain protected attributes more than it disadvantages people without those attributes. For example, an advertisement for volunteers at a sporting club may require that all volunteers can speak and read English fluently.  This could disadvantage a person because of their race.  Whether or not it is discrimination will depend on whether it is reasonable and necessary for a volunteer to be able to speak English to perform the duties.

How can we help?
Sporting clubs and associations need to take steps to prevent and manage these behaviours.  There are significant legal and reputational costs for sporting associations / organisations that either fail to take steps to prevent inappropriate behaviour or fail to respond appropriately when such behaviour does occur.

Our Sports Lawyers can assist by:

  • Preparing and updating policy and procedure to manage bullying, harassment and discrimination;
  • Conduct prompt and impartial compliant investigations;
  • Provide general advice and representations to victims, perpetrators and sports organisations / clubs in situations where these behaviours have, or are alleged to have occurred.

For more information you can call us on 03 9642 0435 or email us at info@sportslawyer.com.au