A review of bullying and harassment in the workplace at Parliament by Debbie Francis, known as The Francis Review, revealed 14 people who said they had been the victim of a sexual assault in the parliamentary workplace.
Following the investigation, Francis made 85 recommendations, and said the parliamentary policy on bullying and harassment dated from 2016 and was due for review.
While the policy reflected standard practice regarding escalation actions, Francis suggested it should be updated to better align with response practices as outlined by WorkSafe's Good Practice Guidelines. Parliament was advised to invest in a range of protective factors that would reduce the risk of bullying, harassment and other negative behaviours.
Francis recommended investment in creating a culture of dignity and respect, leadership development, better pastoral care, greater strategic workforce management and HR, better health, safety and wellbeing policies, processes, engagement and governance, removal of barriers to disclosure, and ongoing monitoring.
The Parliamentary Service, Office of the Clerk and the Department of Internal Affairs issued a joint response to the review.
"My colleagues and I are deeply disappointed by the systemic bullying and harassment within the Parliamentary workplace highlighted in the report. We want to reassure those who spoke up that their concerns and feedback have been heard, and we will address the issues raised," said Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, general manager of the Parliamentary Service.
"Bullying and harassment are not acceptable in any workplace, and everyone should feel respected, safe and supported at work. Making meaningful, tangible change will take time and we are all fully committed to see this through," said DIA chief executive Paul James.
In New Zealand, where bullying can be experienced at any level of any organisation, victims often face difficulty in speaking out about their concerns. In these cases, an employment lawyer can greatly assist in solving the issue and reaching a resolution around personal grievances in the workplace. Visit https://bellandco.co/ for more information, or speak to an employment lawyer at Bell & Co on 04 499 4014 today.