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Postie forced to work with supervisor who threatened her

Postie forced to work with supervisor who threatened her life

A postal worker was expected to continue working with her supervisor after the supervisor threatened to kill her, despite New Zealand Post investigating the worker’s complaint and acknowledging that the threat actually happened.

Jessica Peebles, who worked at the Hamilton delivery branch of New Zealand Post, was regularly harassed and terrorised for eight months by a superior – harassment that included two threats on her life.

“My supervisor approached a mutual friend of ours, who was told that I had to watch out because she wanted to stand over me with a knife,” said Ms Peebles, who left New Zealand Post less than two weeks ago. “The supervisor also told me directly that her family wanted to kill me, and that she had convinced them not to.”

New Zealand Post acknowledged that Ms Peebles was subjected to ongoing bullying, and upheld the allegation of the first death threat. Despite this finding, and Ms Peebles’ requests to not have any further contact with her supervisor, the bullying supervisor continued her employment and her leadership position at NZ Post, and Ms Peebles was expected to continue working in the same branch with her bully.

Ms Peebles had approached management several times throughout the year, but the bullying continued. Reporting the bullying to management sometimes exacerbated the situation. “I finally went to the union. It was clear that the company was not going to address the bullying themselves,” said Ms Peebles.

“Ms Peebles wasn’t even given any leave,” said Sandy Hildebrandt, a representative for the Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa. “It is unacceptable that they were both expected to continue working in the same location despite the fact that Ms Peebles was harassed and threatened by a direct superior.

"In addition to the death threats, Ms Peebles was regularly scrutinised and taken aside by the supervisor for inappropriate personal questions and conversation. The supervisor also spread rumours about Peebles. NZ Post acknowledged that these events also took place.

“The staff report that the Hamilton branch is an absolutely toxic place. The company is doing nothing to address the lack of responsibility among management,” Ms Hildebrandt said. “People need to know what’s going on. Maybe then NZ Post will actually make a change.”

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