Workplace bullying is a significant hazard in New Zealand. Not only does it affect people physically and mentally, but it can also disrupt workplaces and reduce productivity. Employers who don’t deal with it appropriately risk breaching legislation such as the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993.
WorkSafe New Zealand recently released best practice guidelines on workplace bullying. Developed with the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, the guidelines have a focus on both employees and employers responding early before a situation gets out of hand. The guidelines include:
- An Am I being Bullied? checklist
- A flowchart of actions for dealing with being bullied
- A calculator tool for employers to assess the cost of bullying, and
- A workplace assessment tool that measures organisational culture with a view to prevent bullying.
Advice for employees ranges from how to assess if you’re being bullied to recording instances of bullying behaviour to providing a range of low-key solutions. Advice for employers includes information on how to respond best to reports or allegations of bullying, and how to promote a healthy and respectful work environment.