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 Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Diver's Alarums: Breach Means Training Provider Must Repay $1.47 Million

The New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies is to repay $1.47 million (GST-exclusive) to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) following an investigation which showed that some student enrolments between 2009 -2014 could not be validated and that courses were under-delivered against their agreement with the TEC. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Government Plans Suggest Bulk Funding Return

Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Auckland Looks Long Term To Pay-Per-Km Road Pricing

Aucklanders can expect to be paying variable rates per kilometre to travel on the city's most congested roads under an emerging transport strategy being formulated by the government and the Auckland Council. More>>

ALSO:

Despite Promises: Government Extends Iraq Deployment

Cabinet has agreed to extend New Zealand’s contribution to the joint New Zealand-Australia mission to train Iraqi Security Forces until November 2018. More>>

ALSO:

On The 'Terrorism' Card:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news