Category Archives: Resources

Ethnicity, workplace bullying, social support and psychological strain in Aotearoa/New Zealand

New Zealand Journal of Psychology Vol. 42, No. 2, 2013. This research explored whether respondents who self-identified as New Zealand Europeans experienced less bullying and less severe outcomes than those who self-identified as Māori, Pacific Island or other ethnic groups. Social support was also examined as a potential buffer against the negative effects of bullying – Read more here.

  • Dianne Gardner, Massey University
  • Tim Bentley, Auckland University of Technology
  • Bevan Catley, Massey University
  • Helena Cooper-Thomas, The University of Auckland
  • Michael O’Driscoll, University of Waikato
  • Linda Trenberth, University of London, UK

WorkSafe New Zealand releases guidelines for managing workplace bullying

Best practice guidelines on workplace bullying from WorkSafe New Zealand are a big step forward in support and guidance for businesses and individuals about what is a prevalent workplace hazard.

Titled “Preventing and responding to workplace bullying”, the guidelines encourage and support people in taking early self-help action against workplace bullying before seeking assistance from WorkSafe NZ or the mediation service offered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

WorkSafe NZ General Manager, High Hazards & Specialist Services, Brett Murray, said WorkSafe NZ wanted to help people deal proactively with the issue themselves and to promote healthy work cultures. The guidelines were developed with MBIE, and seek to support employees and employers to respond to situations before they get out of hand and to achieve workplace-based solutions.

“Bullying in the workplace is a difficult issue for everyone concerned. It affects people’s personal health in a variety of ways, and also seriously impacts business productivity.”

A Bullying Prevention Toolbox is also available on WorkSafe NZ’s website.

Mr Murray said the guidelines provide a clear definition of bullying – a first for New Zealand. They also provide specific and targeted advice for both employees and employers.

“We wanted to take the issue of bullying out of the too-hard basket.”

Advice for employees ranges from how to assess if you are being bullied to recording instances of bullying behaviour to a range of low-key solutions.

Advice for employers ranges from how to best respond to reports or allegations of bullying to promoting a healthy and respectful work environment.

The guidelines are officially launched at the Toward Healthy Work for All symposium at Auckland University of Technology today.


Student Safety Audit – NZUSA

NZUSA’s Tertiary Women’s Focus Group produced a Safety Audit of campuses in 2011, which is attached here for download.

Violence against women is a huge problem throughout New Zealand, with many incidents going unreported. Often victims are blamed, the focus is on the behaviour of the victim, and rape myths are perpetuated (“She was asking for it by wearing a short skirt”). The victim is never at fault in cases of harassment and assault, but many people refuse to accept this and continue marginalising victims.

This report is targeted at both Universities and Polytechnics. Tertiary study shapes the lives of many people and it is the responsibility of the campus community to ensure that everyone has good experiences while studying.

Tertiary study is often young people’s first foray into the ‘real world’, therefore it is important to try and create a culture of respect and safety. Institutions must have an appropriate attitude when it comes to issues such as harassment and assault, and should be willing to fix gaps in their procedures when needed. This report attempts to begin this process.

The report consists of three parts –

  1. A review of the sexual harassment policies of every public tertiary education provider in Aotearoa New Zealand,

  2. The results of the NZUSA Student Relationship survey focussed around students’ perceptions of relationship abuse, and

  3. Physical safety audits from select campuses

Harassment and Discrimination a guide to your rights – Working Women’s Resource Centre

Harassment (sexual, racial and bullying) and discrimination in the workplace are serious workplace issues.

At some time we may experience some form of inappropriate behavior from others. If at work, or among work colleagues, this behaviour may be from people of the same or opposite sex.

Depending on how we feel at the time, we may not see the behavior as a problem, we might grin and bear it, try to ignore it or tell the person to stop. We may also attempt to get away from the situation as soon as possible.

When sexual harassment, racial harassment, bullying and/or discrimination occur in the workplace, it raises some very complex issues for all of us.

TEU is a member of the Working Women’s Resource Centre which has recently produced a guide to dealing with harassment in the workplace. Download the guide here.

Thanks to adam_kesher2000 at Flickr for the photo.

Australian research shows workplace bullying involves us all

“Bystanders are not incidental, but are an integral part of the context of bullying, with some siding with the bully or victim, either actively or passively,” Dr Paull said. “People don’t always appreciate the impact of their actions, or inactions. For example, a social reaction to walking into a room where colleagues are laughing is to laugh along without thinking. But you could be adding fuel to someone’s embarrassment.”


Thanks to Fellowsisters @ Flickr for the photo

The Crown Entities Act 2004

The Crown Entities Act 2004 s118 requires Crown entities to be ‘good employers’ to operate personnel policies necessary for the fair and proper treatment of employees in all aspects of their employment, including ‘good and safe working conditions’. The New Zealand Court of Appeal has noted that the duty to take reasonable steps to maintain a safe workplace is an implied term of employment contracts.

Northtec’s anti-harrassment and bullying policy

NorthTec considers it vital to its success to provide a safe environment for staff and students and that bullying and harassment are unacceptable.

NorthTec has a clear policy (link to policy) in respect to anti-bullying and harassment and operates a network of contact people and mediators.  Many TEU members are trained mediators or contact persons.

The aim is to support staff and students to reach a mutually acceptable solution through mediation (where it is appropriate and both parties agree) address issues in an informal manner and move forward to positive work or study relationships with respect and dignity.

The anti-bullying message is very visible at NorthTec and promotion includes posters in every washroom, information on the student and staff portal, events such as pink shirt day, bookmarks handed out at staff conference, keyrings handed out at student orientation, and training for mediators and contact persons.  The health and safety and workplace wellness teams at NorthTec support these events.

Informally, there is a steering group of three staff passionate about a zero tolerance for anti-bullying and harassment who work with the Senior HR Advisor.  The TEU Branch President and one other TEU member are part of this informal group.

Wellbeing at School: Building a safe and caring climate that deters bullying

Wellbeing Brochure

Sally Boyd and Helena Barwick

This booklet is a summary of an extensive review of research and other literature undertaken to guide the development of the Wellbeing@School website self-review process, survey tools and content. This website is being developed by NZCER.

(Thanks to Dunedin Public Libraries for the photo

Workplace change and bullying

Australian research has found links between organisational restructuring and workplace bullying.  The study looked at bullying in the Australian public sector, finding that although bullying is presented as a problem of the individual,  organisational factors such as restructuring actually create the power relations needed to facilitate and support it. The research also notes that in some instances, the organisation itself, through restructuring policies and practices, was perceived to be the perpetrator.

(via EEO Trust Newsletter, May 2012)