Workplace bullying a hot topic

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 11:05 15/08/2014
Allan Halse
NEW VENTURE: Former Hamilton City Council staffer Allan Halse has started an employment consultancy business to tackle workplace bullying

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If Allan Halse was hoping for a quiet transition into his new career as an employment consultant then the past six months would have been a shock.

Since launching his consultancy business CultureSafe NZ Ltd in February, Halse has been contacted by more than 100 people wanting advice on workplace bullying concerns.

During a recent overseas holiday he spent up to seven hours a day communicating with clients.

"Without any advertising and just through word of mouth people are tracking me down," Halse said.

"Almost every day a new person will contact me with an issue."

Workplace bullying was a persistent problem in New Zealand, Halse said, and the number of people seeking advice vindicated his decision to set up CultureSafe NZ.

Halse was embroiled in his own employment dispute with Hamilton City Council last year.

An outspoken union delegate, Halse was suspended in October after bringing numerous allegations of bullying within the organisation to light.

He was dismissed on January 14 but challenged the decision and settled with the council after two days of mediation in February.

Next month Halse will begin a series of anti-workplace bullying training sessions in Hamilton.

The four half-day sessions are aimed at employers and will cover: current research into workplace bullying; solutions to combating bullying; WorkSafe New Zealand guidelines; and proposed changes to the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

The sessions will be held at the Novotel Hamilton Tainui and Halse expects them to popular with good employers.

"It'll be the conscientious employers we expect to get involved because they'll be the ones who will want to make sure they're doing the right thing," he said.

Meanwhile, Halse will appear in an upcoming television documentary on workplace bullying.

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"Since starting up CultureSafe NZ we've been able to start on a lot of positive stuff. It's easy to get buried at the bottom of the cliff trying to pick up the pieces but then nothing would change. Now we're getting to the top of the cliff where we can put a fence up."

■ For more information about the public meeting on workplace bullying or for details on CultureSafe NZ's training sessions visit culturesafenz.co.nz.

aaron.leaman@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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