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Workplace Bullying


Bullying at work is a workplace hazard that has been identified under several pieces of New Zealand legislation. Certainly an employee can seek remedies under the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA) but there are other acts that may be breached if bullying isn’t addressed by employers; namely those are the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, Harassment Act 1997 and the Human Rights Act 1993.

Worksafe NZ have developed the following definition of workplace bullying:

Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.

  • Repeated behaviour is persistent and can involve a range of actions over time.

  • Unreasonable behaviour means actions that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would see as unreasonable. It includes victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening a person.

Workplace bullying behaviour can come from:

  • Management

  • Institutional cultural failures

  • Colleagues

  • Clients

The following are examples of workplace bullying:

  • Intimidation

  • Shouting and threats

  • Humiliation

  • Ganging-up

  • Accusations

  • Micro-managing

  • Constant criticism

  • Unwanted advances

  • Attacking a person’s beliefs

  • Unfair work distribution compared to others

This is not the whole list but remember that one instance of the examples above would not usually constitute bullying, usually we would be talking about repeated behaviours.

Bullying will lead to stress and stress will lead to an unsafe work environment.

What you can do if you think you are the victim of workplace bullying:

Seek advice at the earliest opportunity. You have many remedies at your disposal and EmploymenthelpNZ can intervene on your behalf. If you are the victim of workplace bullying call us today.

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