Bell & Co. Talk About Employer Responsibility For Bullying in the Workplace

Monday 29 April 2019, 6:53PM
By Beckie Wright

It is evident that bullying is prevalent in New Zealand’s workplaces, and employers must be responsible for setting the example of what is acceptable in the workplace. Creating a workplace culture where all people are respected, and putting in place appropriate policies may reduce employer liability if an inappropriate behaviour happens. Employers need to remember that verbal attacks which harass or hurt an employee can be just as significant as physical threats or attacks.

From an employment law perspective, this is dictated by the internal processes in the workplace. Bullying does not have purely physical effects – it also affects people’s mental health and wellbeing. Bullying is defined by WorkSafe as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that can lead to physical and psychological harm.

This will include a multitude of actions over time that are determined to be out of the ordinary. This could be victimising, threatening or humiliating someone. It is important to note that bullying can occur in any workplace and on a number of forums. If you feel as though you are being bullied there are a number of steps you can take in order to fix the issue, such as collecting information to do with the incidents. Note the date, time, place and what occurred. Also detail whether there were any witnesses and the impacts on you.

Getting advice from an employment lawyer may also be beneficial at this stage, to clarify the issue. It is also important to find support through friends and family in order to have emotional support. You should also report the incidents to your employer, which will kick start an investigation into what has occurred.

An employment lawyer can be approached in order to work through the issue and provide support where a business’s internal processes are not strong. Further, any discrepancies in the internal processes formed to deal with bullying can hinder reaching a satisfactory result for the victim. Where this occurs, an employment lawyer is crucial to solve the issue.

You can contact the employment lawyers at Bell & Co on 04 499 4014 for support. Bullying, harassment and discrimination must be investigated and the person affected must be supported by the employer, and for more information on personal grievance lawyers, Wellington family law and family divorce lawyers please go to .