Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

New guidelines seek to address workplace bullying

New guidelines seek to address workplace bullying


17 March 2014 - Bullying in the workplace is under the microscope with WorkSafe NZ recently issuing guidelines on how to prevent and respond to workplace bullying.

Sarah Townsend, an employment law specialist with Duncan Cotterill, says workplace bullying can come at an enormous cost to a business.

“Morale and productivity are often significantly affected, not to mention adverse effects on employees’ health and the potential for expensive legal claims.

“But what constitutes bullying is not always easy to identify. Case law has shown that the line between what constitutes bullying on the one hand, or blunt management on the other, is far from clear.”

She welcomes the new WorkSafe NZ guidelines that define workplace bullying as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.

“There is now more certainty around preventing and responding to bullying in the workplace. While the guidelines do not have the force of law, employers will still be expected to comply with them where issues of bullying have been raised,” Townsend says.

“A failure to comply with the guidelines will significantly undermine any argument that the employer has acted as a fair and reasonable employer. Accordingly, all complaints of bullying should be taken seriously and promptly and fairly investigated.”

The importance of employers effectively addressing workplace bullying issues was recently highlighted by the Employment Relations Authority in the case of Hirini v Bay of Plenty District Health Board [2013]. In that case, an employee of a District Health Board brought complaints of bullying to the attention of management after a series of what were supposed to be constructive “group case reviews” left the employee feeling belittled, threatened and criticised by his colleagues. It was alleged that this demonstrated a pattern of bullying behaviour that was present throughout the workplace.

While acknowledging the complaints, management failed to look any further into the issue despite a process for doing so being outlined in the DHB’s policy manuals. This failure to conduct a thorough investigation saw the Authority find that the employee had been constructively dismissed. The employee was awarded three months’ wages and $7000 compensation for hurt and humiliation.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement.

As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

 

Ombudsman: Canterbury Schools Reorganisation Mishandled

An investigation into the Canterbury schools reorganisation after the February 2011 earthquakes has found significant gaps and flaws in the Ministry’s engagement and communications with schools and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Contempt Report "Protects Right To Fair Trial"

The proposed Act limits what news media representatives and bloggers can report on court proceedings, but it also makes clearer than the current law where the line is between contempt and freedom of expression. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Our Refugee Intake (And Uber’s Woes)

On figures released this week, there are currently 65.6 million people worldwide who have been displaced from their homes by war, famine or other external causes… More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Report: GCSB Support For Groser WTO Bid Not Illegal

“The inquiry has found that the GCSB did not act unlawfully or improperly in providing assistance to the New Zealand government campaign”, Ms Gwyn said. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Pike And Houses

There were questions on Pike River mine re-entry after new video from inside the drift was released over the weekend. English maintained a human effort would not be feasible irrespective of any future coalition demands from NZ First. He said the government would continue to work with families on non-manned re-entry. More>>

ALSO:

Flogging A Dead Horse: NZ First Seeks New s59 Referendum

10 years on from the so called “anti-smacking” law - NZ First calls for a binding referendum. NZ First MP Tracey Martin told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that the law change has had a “chilling effect” on NZ parents including herself. More>>

ALSO:

Always Interesting: Internet Party Has New Leader

The Internet Party has a new leader: Suzie Dawson... She currently resides in Moscow, Russia, where she has applied for temporary asylum due to severe persecution she reports being subjected to by those whose corruption she worked to expose.More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog