New Zealand courts could stop workplace bullying

Bully Employment lawyer, Peter Cullen writes in the Dominion Post about the recent British court case where a bank worker was awarded more than £800,000 (NZ$2.2 million) for being bullied at work.

Cullen says this and other recent decisions tell employers its time for them to establish a bullying policy and make staff aware of the unacceptability of workplace bullying.

“Though the awards in Helen Green’s case are exceptionally high and readers should not expect them to be replicated in New Zealand, the judge’s decision on the issues of principle would almost certainly be embraced generally by New Zealand courts.

“The case is a significant one in defending the dignity of employees and upholding the courts’ repugnance of bullying by fellow workers. The employer, not the bullies, had to foot the bill.”

(thanks to atomicfamily for the photo)


4 Responses to “New Zealand courts could stop workplace bullying”

  1. 1 Cassandra Stornoway 16 September, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    The time has arrived for the courts to send a stong message to employers that workplace terrorism has to end. Institutional socio/psychopaths must not be enabled a moment longer by any CEO.

    Cassandra Stornoway
    Medical Social Worker

  2. 2 Dr. Jay-D Olivier 2 November, 2008 at 10:31 am

    It is very interesting to know that the New Zealand Human Rights Act 1993 does not prohibit “workplace bullying”, but the NZ Human Rights Act prohibits racial and sexual harassment in New Zealand workplaces. The New Zealand Human Rights Act, Section 63 states that it is also unlawful for anyone to use any behaviour that expresses hostility against, or brings into contempt or ridicules someone on the basis of their race, colour, national or ethnic origins, in such a way that is offensive to the person, and is either repeated or so significant that it has a detrimental effect on their employment. Also under this Act, the harassed employee can file a personal grievance claim against the co-worker and also the employer or management. It is expected under New Zealand Employment Law and also confirmed by the New Zealand Employment Court for employers and management to provide a safe working environment for the employees. This duty is explicit in the NZ Health and Safety in Employment (HASE) Act, which was amended in May 2003. Employers have the responsibility to take complaints of workplace bullying seriously and to take steps to investigate and put an end to any such bullying and work place harassment and legally need to take practical steps to create such environment by training and educating their employees.

    Dr.Jay-D Olivier
    Christchurch, Canterbury
    New Zealand

  3. 3 Bernie Althofer 1 July, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    It is always interesting that the bully seems to escape relatively scot free with no real or lasting penalty. The organisation in most cases pays (unless issue of vicarious liability can be addressed), the victim pays financially and psychologically and the bully gets promoted. It is interesting that in Australia there has been at least one case where reference was made to a Code of Conduct and because an individual was not treated with respect and dignity, that was found to be contributing factor to a breach of contract. Maybe victims need to consider breaches of contract (in regards to their employee) and use bullying as a circumstance of aggravation. Workplace bullying is a complex issue involving complex solutions. My experience suggests that by educating individuals and helping them to more resilient and able to cope with the range of questions that are going to be directed their way when a bullying incident occurs, is only one part of the solution. Let’s face it, no-one goes to work expecting to be bullied, but everyone should plan for the day it will happen. That is one of the reasons why I have written a book.

  1. 1 Tell us what you’re wanting to read « …the gossip Trackback on 28 September, 2006 at 4:29 pm

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