Racist and Sectarian Behaviour Policy
Heart of Midlothian aims to create and maintain a working and spectating environment free from racial and sectarian harassment and abuse.
Everyone connected with the club has a responsibility to prevent harassment or abuse and as such is responsible not only for their behaviour but that of others.
Proven harassment or abuse will lead to disciplinary or criminal action being taken against employees. Similarly, such behaviour by a spectator will result in a life ban from the club. The club will also give their full support to the police in any criminal action.
It is the responsibility of everyone to bring to the attention of the club any religious or racial needs they may have so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
This policy outlines the contributions required by everyone associated with the club in helping to achieve their aims.
What is a racist incident?
A racist incident is any incident that is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.
What is a sectarian incident?
A sectarian incident is any incident that exhibits behaviour of denegration of religion religious belief faith or affiliation in respect of fellow employees or any other person or groups of employees or persons.
Racial and/or sectarian harassment
Racial harassment is any verbal physical written or visible abuse that is based on a person's race, ethnic background, nationality, language, or cultural background - and is unwanted, unacceptable and offensive to the person.
Examples of harassment include:
- Physical: intimidating gestures, physical violence or assault because of a person's race or ethnicity, or threat of the above.
- Verbal: derogatory remarks about a person's skin colour, nationality or appearance, unwelcome remarks about a person's cultural observances, racist jokes and "needling".
- Non-verbal: graffiti, defacing notices or posters, negative stereotyping of a particular ethnic or national group, written threats of a racial nature.
Examples of sectarian harassment include:
- Verbal: derogatory remarks about a person's religion, religious leaders, the singing of sectarian/religious bigotry songs.
- Non-verbal: graffiti notices, posters, emails or any written material deliberately intended to be of a sectarian nature and which will cause offence.
Intentional harassment is easily defined. There is no such thing as unintentional harassment.
The key characteristic is that the behaviour is unacceptable to the recipient.
Responding to Racism and Sectariaism (Employees)
Depending on the circumstances you can:
- Speak up. Make it clear that such behaviour is unacceptable.
- Offer support to people who are being harassed.
- Promote mutual respect between individuals, regardless of their position in the club.
- Educate all employees about the aims of the Racism & Sectarian Policy and their responsibilities.
- Managers are required to investigate and produce a written report of all cases of reported racial harassment. This report will be presented to the board of directors.
- The club may decide to resolve the issue information, through mediation and/or in confidence.
- The club may decide to deal with the issue on a formal basis. The employee bringing the allegations should provide a full written statement. The person(s) complained about should be offered the opportunity of providing a verbal or written statement. They should be advised to seek legal advice at their own expense or use the services of their trade union.
Employees found guilty of racist or sectarian taunts to another employee, or any other person, are liable to disciplinary action. The normal disciplinary process will then apply. Depending on the circumstance, consideration will be giving to the passing of Disciplinary Hearing information to the police.
Responding to Racism and sectarianism (spectators)
- Racist and/or sectarian taunts and abusive or threatening behaviour will not be tolerated. Supporters (home or visiting) will be detained by steward if they are guilty of such behaviour and passed to the local police in line with the Club's policy.
- Season ticket holders detained for such a reason, face having their season ticket revoked.
- For those spectators detained, the Club will consider imposing life bans from the stadium and passing their details to the appropriate authorities.
This policy is designed to give clarity to issues of racial and sectarian harassment, promote good relations between persons of different or national groups or religious persuasion and preserve and promote the good name of Heart of Midlothian Football Club.