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WorkSafe New Zealand releases guidelines for managing workplace bullying

20 February 2014

Best practice guidelines on workplace bullying, released today by 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.”

The guidelines are available on WorkSafe NZ’s website, along with several online tools including:

  • 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
  • A workplace assessment tool that measures organisational culture with a view to preventing bullying.

 

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.