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Workplace Bullying – Senior Adviser Q&A

Published: May 14, 2018

Our senior adviser, Gabrielle Findlay, shares her insider knowledge on harvesting a safe workplace by preventing workplace bullying. In the video above, she responds to frequently asked questions.

Read Transcript

Is workplace bullying a problem in New Zealand?

It's definitely becoming something that

we're seeing a lot more often

So over the past year, for example,

we've had over 400 cases of grievances

or workplace bullying that we've dealt

with in the advice team here.

How is bullying defined?

So bullying is typically defined as

repeated acts of insulting, abusive, or

inappropriate behaviour towards an

individual or a group that calls them to

feel threatened or intimidated in the workplace.

What should employers do?

So I think if an employee,

feels bullied while they're at work there's

definitely an issue there.

Bullying obviously is defined under

legislation, but I think it's always an

employer's obligation to look into any kind

of behaviour that could constitute bullying

and make sure they investigated that fully

and before they decide whether it's just an

employee who feels they've been bullied

or if they actually are being bullied by

definition. And either way that behaviour

needs to be addressed so that person

feels safe and like they have a good work environment

Are there different types of bullying?

We see varied types of bullying

so it can be an employee who

feels they're being bullied by their employer,

staff members, colleagues that

feel like they're being bullied by each other.

Yeah, that's generally what we would see most often.

What's the impact of bullying?

Definitely a negative impact

on the company as a whole we see.

We see a lot of performance issues that

stem from bullying behaviour.

Absenteeism, a lack of engagement in the

workplace, and also a high turnover of staff.

within that company which then in turn can result in

that company having to fork out extra costs for training

and rehiring of that role.

What steps should employers take if there is bullying?

This is where I think it's really important that you have

those strong frameworks and those policies in place to

fall back on that allow you to know what you should do

if you are to come across bullying in the workplace

so we would always advise that

it's a full investigation is undertaken to

establish what's actually going on in that

situation and then steps are taken

obviously to prevent that from happening again in future

and to make sure those staff are aware that

any complaints will be taken seriously

and that you are going to look into them

and that they feel comfortable

and they know how to raise these issues

when they come up.

Advice for employers?

Yeah, I think again with the policies it's really

important to have a solid policy in place

that's communicated to all your staff

So they know what to do if they feel they're in a situation

where they're being bullied

They feel they can come to you and that you will help

them and there is an end to the bullying

that they can see.

There's a lot of times we do see that people don't bring

it up because they just feel that nothing can be done

which is not true at all.

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