Ceroc and Modern Jive Dance Company Pty Limited Sexual Harassment: Policy Statement
The Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (amended 1992) and the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (amended 1997) (“the Acts”) declare sexual harassment to be unlawful and place a responsibility on Ceroc and Modern Jive Dance Company Pty Limited, A.C.N – 087 038 668 ( “the Company”) to protect all staff and students from sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment of students by other students, of staff by students, and of students by staff is all unlawful under the Acts.
In addition, while not necessarily of a sexual nature, discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex gender (“sexist harassment”) or imputed or actual sexual preference ( “sex preference harassment”) will also not be tolerated and are unlawful.
Sexual harassment, sexist harassment and/ or sex preference harassment may occur between colleagues, across age and gender, between groups or individuals. In relationships where formal authority and power can be exercised, it can be particularly distressing and intimidating.
This policy aims both to deter sexual harassment and to deal with cases of alleged sexual harassment promptly and objectively. The Company has adopted the following procedures in order to give staff and students the opportunity to solve problems within the Company in a co-operative manner.
A staff member or student who believes that s/he has been subjected to sexist harassment or sex preference harassment may also consult the Company ’s Sexual Harassment Contact Officer for information on dealing with those issues.
Members of the Company and the Ceroc community who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment, sexist harassment and/ or sex preference harassment have the right to seek assistance from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner at the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, or the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, who will advise them of their rights under the Acts. The aggrieved person may wish to pursue the matter through legal channels.
For the purpose of this policy sexual harassment is defined as behaviour that has a sexual element, that is unwelcome and, in the circumstances, a reasonable person would have expected the behaviour would offend, intimidate or humiliate the person to whom it is directed.
Behaviour constituting harassment, whether sexual, sexist or sex preference based, can take many different forms, including unwelcome physical contact, offensive messages by e-mail, telephone, SMS or other forms of communication, the display of offensive materials, or sexual comments, jokes and propositions.
The behaviour may be a single incident or repeated. It may be explicit or implicit, verbal or non-verbal and it may include promises or threats in return for sexual favours, it may influence either directly or indirectly an individual’s employment, or have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or social environment. Although the intent may vary, if it is unwelcome and the effect is to offend, humiliate or intimidate, the behaviour should stop.
Harassment is NOT mutual attraction between people. Friendships (whether sexual or otherwise) are a private concern.
Disciplinary action will be taken by the Company against anyone who is found to be in breach of this policy.
Disciplinary action will also be taken against anyone who victimises or retaliates against a person who has complained of sexual harassment.
The discipline will depend on the severity of the case and may involve an apology, counselling, suspension, dismissal, refusal to entry of Ceroc events conducted by the Company or other form of action.
The Company management and officers responsible for implementing this policy will keep confidential the names and details related to sexual harassment complaints, unless disclosure is necessary as part of the disciplinary or corrective process.
The most effective complaint procedures offer a range of options for dealing with sexual harassment. The Company recognises that natural justice is the minimum standard of fairness to be applied in the investigation and adjudication of a dispute.
Sexual harassment complaints can be handled through a variety of mechanisms. The Company recognises that, as a highly sensitive and complex matter, sexual harassment is best dealt with informally through discussion between the parties or with some assistance from an independent third party, so as to minimise its damaging and disruptive effects. An informal resolution is not always possible and it may be necessary to resort to formal procedures to resolve the complaint.
The Company encourages individuals who experience sexual harassment to inform the alleged harasser that the behaviour is unwelcome, unacceptable and contrary to policy, and ask that the behaviour stop. Individuals should also keep notes documenting incidents of the behaviour, time, place and any witnesses.
If it is not possible to confront the alleged harasser, or if this course of action fails to stop the behaviour, then the matter should be brought to the attention of a Harassment Contact Officer, Company Director or Company Staff on duty at any Ceroc event conducted by the Company.
The role of the Harassment Contact Officer, as a first-line-of-contact, is to serve in an unbiased/impartial capacity to listen to the complaint, offer support, provide advice on procedures and refer to a Harassment Grievance Officer when appropriate. It is not the role of the Harassment Contact Officer to try to resolve a grievance.
The role of a Harassment Grievance Officer is to determine whether a complaint has substance, inform the person accused of harassment of the nature of the complaint, inform both parties of their rights and responsibilities in proceeding with a grievance, act as mediator/conciliator between the parties to resolve the complaint, follow up after a complaint has been resolved to ensure there is no recurrence and refer serious matters to the Company Directors or to an external agency.
It is the prerogative of the complainant to decide to proceed with, or dissolve a complaint.
The Company recognises the importance of providing a choice of reporting mechanisms and officers (male and female) to complainants in order they may feel comfortable to come forward to discuss or report on an incident. It also recognises that in some instances, some Company staff may be too close to the problem to serve without bias. The Company encourages complainants to discuss the matter with those members of the Company staff with whom they feel comfortable.
The complaint may be resolved informally between the complainant and the alleged harasser through discussion, an apology, and a commitment to stop the behaviour. In this case, the Harassment Grievance Officer assisting an informal resolution will establish a follow up date to ensure the behaviour does not recur, otherwise no further action is necessary.
In the event that the complaint cannot be resolved informally, the complainant may lay a formal complaint. In this case, the complainant is required to prepare and sign a formal written complaint to the Harassment Grievance Officer who, in turn will ensure the alleged harasser is provided with a copy of the complaint.
The parties will then be advised the matter is not one which can be dealt with by the Company and provide information on external agencies who may be able to further assist with the complaint.
The Company will ensure that all steps in the complaints procedure are handled promptly, and that the period given to investigation, hearing and release of the decision does not exceed eight weeks.
Both complainant and alleged harasser may pursue advice or action from an external authority at any stage of the complaint procedure. In NSW, the Anti-Discrimination Board is the authority responsible for receiving complaints of sexual harassment. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission is the authority responsible for receiving complaints under Commonwealth jurisdiction, and in some instances, may be the appropriate body.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT CONTACT OFFICERS: Any Company Director or Company Staff
SEXUAL HARASSMENT GRIEVANCE OFFICER: Julie Gunn – Company Director