Government consulting on bullying and harassment at work


Tue 08 Sep 2020

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is running a public consultation on bullying and harassment at work, including sexual harassment.

Written submissions are invited from workers, businesses and other interested groups on the systems that prevent and respond to bullying and harassment at work, including sexual harassment.

The deadline to make a submission is 31 March 2021.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is asking for feedback from any person or group who is familiar with or has experience or knowledge of systems that prevent or respond to bullying and harassment at work. This includes how effective policies and systems are, what areas are and are not working well, and what opportunities there are for improvement. MBIE states the feedback will be used to guide future policies and changes to health and safety and employment relations systems to address bullying and harassment at work. 

MBIE has written an issues paper. It outlines current information about the nature and extent of bullying and harassment at work, how effective the current systems are that prevent and respond to these issues, and what good practice looks like.

There are three different ways to provide feedback:

  • Fill in a short online survey on bullying and harassment at work
  • Review the full 'Bullying and harassment at work - Issues paper: An in depth look' and fill in the submission template
  • Review a summary of the 'Bullying and harassment at work' issues paper and fill in a shorter submission template

You can email questions to HSWregs@mbie.govt.nz

For more information, see the MBIE Bullying and harassment at work consultation.

Related inquiries and reports

Following the global #metoo movement, advocates, individuals and media have brought to light ongoing and serious issues with sexual harassment and sexual assault in New Zealand workplaces. Calls for action have resulted in a number of inquiries investigating government agencies and private organisations. See our related articles at the bottom of this page for more information.

Related news

A group called Stop Sexual Harassment on Campus (SSHOC) has formed. The group is made up of academics, students and staff who are committed to establishing better procedures for dealing with and preventing sexual harassment and gender-based violence in Aotearoa New Zealand Universities.

The Government has begun work to strengthen the Protected Disclosures Act 2000. The Act provides protections for workers to report serious wrongdoing at work, including misconduct such as harassment and bullying. The Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill would replace the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 and was introduced to Parliament on 24 June 2020. The Bill is now before the Education and Workforce Select Committee which is expected to report back to Parliament in early 2021. Further information is available from the State Sector Services Commission.

International research and reports

Update: The Australian-based Male Champions of Change has released the report, Disrupting the System – Preventing and Responding to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (2020). The report was inspired by the Australian National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces, led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins.

Update: The UK-based Safeguarding Resource and Support Hub has published the Best practice in engaging survivors of Sexual Exploitation Abuse and Sexual Harassment (2020). The report is a rapid review of the documentation of efforts to engage survivors of  sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment in developing policy, as well as reviewing research conducted on survivors’ needs and priorities.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) published the report Safe and healthy working environments free from violence and harassment (2020) which looks at prevention through occupational health and safety frameworks. A summary of the report is also available. In 2019, the ILO adopted the Convention Concerning the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work (C190) and the Violence and Harassment Recommendation (R206). The ILO is calling on member States (including New Zealand) to ratify the Convention and Recommendation.

The Australian Human Rights Commission published Respect@Work (2020), the final report from the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces 2020.

UN Women published the discussion paper What will it take? Promoting cultural change to end sexual harassment (2019). The paper examines cultural change needed to end sexual harassment. It offers guidance to policymakers, employers and universities with a focus on the needs of the victim-survivors.

The World Health Organization (WHO) published RESPECT women: Preventing violence against women (2019). RESPECT is a framework to promote evidence-informed strategies to prevent violence against women.

UN Women published the resource Towards an end to sexual harassment: The urgency and nature of change in the era of #MeToo (2018). The resource is designed to support policy makers, employers, and activists by sharing UN Women’s work in this area and offering guidance on policy and practice on sexual harassment.

CARE Australia published What works? Preventing and responding to sexual harassment in the workplace (2018). Also see their summary of findings, Reducing sexual harassment in the workplace (2018).

Related media

Senior RNZ staff member stood down over sexual harassment claims, NZ Herald, 13.09.2020

University helps put permanent lock on sexual harassment case, Stuff, 12.09.2020

What we can do to end sexual violence, RNZ, 05.09.2020

Systemic change to address workplace bullying, Newsroom, 02.09.2020

‘I’ve got nothing left to lose but my voice’, Newsroom, 01.09.2020

Call for uni harassment register to stop alleged predators switching jobs undetected, Stuff, 21.08.2020

University NDAs prompt call for independent complaints authority, RNZ, 20.08.2020

WorkSafe investigators under pressure, lack training - report, RNZ, 30.06.2020

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