Workplace bullying just as prevalent as domestic violence, according to forum

Director of CultureSafe NZ, Allan Halse, held a forum at the Hamilton Lake on Sunday to discuss the prevalence of ...
MIKE SCOTT/FAIRFAX NZ.

Director of CultureSafe NZ, Allan Halse, held a forum at the Hamilton Lake on Sunday to discuss the prevalence of workplace bullying in New Zealand.

A woman who won an employment case against her former employer for unjustified dismissal, said workplace bullying was just as prevalent as domestic violence.

Robyn Hutchison spoke at the CultureSafe Workplace Summit in Hamilton on Sunday, and said at least one in five people experience workplace bullying.

"Bullying is learned behaviour and like domestic violence it can be unlearned," she said.

"There are many reasons why this 'workplace train' called bullying has not be stopped before now, but without doubt, one of the most prevalent of these is the reluctance of people in general to stand up and speak out."

Hutchison was employed by the Nelson City Council in May 2011 and was dismissed seven months later.

The judge found her dismissal was unjustified and that the council's actions throughout the process in 2011 were "procedurally and substantially flawed". 

She has become an active promoter of employees taking a stand.

"You and I are either part of the solution or we're part of the problem," Hutchison said.

There were eight people on the panel, including Karen Hammond who won a record $168,000 payout after taking her former employer to court and Hamilton woman Ella Newman, whose was forced to resign after being the target of sexual and physical harassment by her former boss.

Read more:

Ad Feedback

One in five at risk of workplace bullying

CultureSafe director Allan Halse said conversations like this needed to happen.

"It's about these conversations that will bring about change, it's a problem.

"I'm a simple person. I'll deal with what I can deal with, it's about keeping momentum and keeping the pressure on."

CultureSafe has had a significant impact on workplace bullying awareness in the last 18 months and Halse recently featured in a Prime TV documentary called Bullies.

The former Hamilton City Council staff member, said trying to raise awareness about bullying in the workplace is like running a marathon.

"Like I said, I can run a marathon and I'm also an amazingly optimistic person, despite what I do," he said.

"I believe you can influence people, there are laws about workplace bullying, so there's the Health and Safety Act, this is what I have focussed on.

"I hardly ever engage with anyone who deals with the employment relations authority because to me it's not relevant to workplace bullying."

Halse said there is a massive amount of energy going in to changing the Health and Safety Act because the New Zealand government understands that a lot of workplaces are unsafe.

"I remember when the WorkSafe New Zealand released guidelines for managing workplace bullying and I was so disappointed in the response by lawyers and employers," he said.

"This issue and what we've got to convince people is that the emotional and mental harm is as dangerous to the workplace and to New Zealand society as physical harm is.

"To get them to realise they're the same thing, and part of that is [already] happening.

"I've been around industrial relations for over 40 years and this is the first time that they'd been a direct link by a government agency of workplace bullying to the health and safety act as a serious hazard."

Halse said bullying does not discriminate and he urged people to be aware of bullying in the workplace.

"I suppose it's one of the few things in the world where there is no discrimination. Everybody suffers equally."

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Man dead at rowdy Auckland party

Police are investigating how a man at an Auckland party received the injuries that led to his death.

Police called to a "noisy party with possible fighting" found an injured man who later died.

Ardern fixes English's fallen sign

Jacinda Ardern put up her own, then fixed Bill English's.

When National's billboard fell during her unveiling, the Labour leader decided to play nice.

Masked men come forward

Video showed men masked and dressed in Mr Four Square costumes apparently attacking two teens on a train from Auckland's ...

The mother of one allegedly assaulted teen girl wants police to prosecute.

Auckland Zoo farewells tiger

Jaka, one of Auckland Zoo's three Sumatran tigers, was put down on Friday at age 17.

Zoo vets found an inoperable tumour in Jaka's intestines, which had spread to other parts of his body.

Wellington

Electric car runs on $10 a week video

Nathan Murrell says his Nissan Leaf is "dirt cheap" to run, and loves Wellington's hills.

Owner sings praises as electric vehicle numbers in Wellington double in a year.

Council ticket fiasco

A contractor to Wellington Water, which is partially owned by the Wellington City Council, was given a $60 infringement ...

Traffic control trailer gets $60 ticket - while working on Wellington council project.

Delays ease on Kapiti Coast

Traffic at the Plimmerton roundabout on State Highway 1 about 5.30pm. NZTA is warning of 40-minute delays in the area.

Weekend congestion finally over, after delays of up to 40 minutes earlier in evening.

National Standards slip

National Standards results have remained mostly static over the past three years, ministry figures show.

Figures show National Standards results aren't improving, despite Government targets.

Canterbury

Missing women, young girl found

Chris Coory, of LandSAR, with the rescued group, from left, Melissa Bowley, Lauren Rees, Meg Pidegeon and Skyla Bowley, ...

Light from phone screen helps helicopter find missing women and child in the early hours.

Couple left in cold video

John and Bona Sinclair have been trying to resolve suspension of John's pension payments leaving them $55 a week to live ...

Christchurch man who married US woman "disgusted" as pension is cut to $80 a week.

Ballantynes' rebuild details

18082017 news supplied
Supplied pics of Ballantynes Lichfield st rebuild. Embargoed still saturday 19 aug 2017.

 Ballantynes releases pictures of planned rebuild of part of its Christchurch store.

Experiment backfires

A source close to the school says parents are "ropeable" about what has happened.

Social media experiment designed to teach teens about cyber safety backfires on private girls' school.

Waikato

Political thoughts from Benneydale

Benneydale was a purpose-built government town.

Benneydale locals share their ideas on the upcoming general election.

Shops under siege

Police at the scene of a robbery on Rifle Range Dairy.

Manning the counter of the corner dairy these days merits combat pay.

The disappearance of the Fleets video

Raymond Fleet, left, and his nephew James both went missing from a Bay of Plenty township on Monday, August 7.

James Fleet answered a knock on the door. Ten days later, he and his uncle are found dead.

Council fraud inquiry

Waikato District Council chief executive Gavin Ion.

A report by KPMG on its investigation into a Waikato District Council department is due next week.

Taranaki

Slurry of mining applications in pipeline

Patea resident Hemi Ngarewa is hugged by his daughter Debbie Ngarewa-Packer after the decision to allow seabed mining in ...

Sea bed mining activists say more mining planned after South Taranaki application set precedent.

Unlikely to give up

Rollie Heke

She was his partner for eight years and fears Rollie Heke won't make it easy for the cops to catch him.

A Mt Messenger history

The section of windy, crash and slip prone State Highway 3 over Mt Messenger is due to be bypassed.

Taranaki's Mt Messenger road lives up to its challenging and isolating setting.

Giving peace a chance

John and Yoko had the right idea - let's give peace a chance.

OPINION: After four years of claim and counterclaim at Witt we need to turn the page.

Manawatu

Adapting to life after a crash video

Lani Rongokea, 7, is running free again - but is very wary of crossing the road.

Lani was just 6 when she was hit by a truck and now she's adapting to life and looking both ways.

Water a hot topic

Labour Party candidate Rob McCann, left, brought a cardboard cutout of Jacinda Ardern on stage. Seated behind is Nathan ...

Warm homes also key issue for voters as candidates front up in Horowhenua.

Mother hoping for son's return video

Police dive squad have joined the sixth day of the search for two men missing in Tongariro National Park.

Dive squad called in as search for missing men enters its fifth day.

Pledge against violence

Turbos Kurt Baker, left, and Nick Crosswell train before Sunday's game.

Women take to the rugby field as the Turbos take an anti-violence stand.

Nelson

Bennett in back-up role at Vuelta

George Bennett became the first Kiwi to achieve a top 10 finish on a Grand Tour when he placed 10th at the Vuelta last year.

Nelson cyclist given support role for Vuelta a Espana after illness hampers preparations.

Richmond on the rise

Andrew Spittal says he expects the first stage of The Meadows residential development will have either 66 or 80 sections.

A whole new community will spring up in Richmond, with more than 1000 homes and a new school.

Canterbury too good for Tasman

Fullback George Bridge scored the first of Canterbury's tries against Tasman.

Tasman are outclassed in their first NPC game of the season at Nelson's Trafalgar Park.

'Baby step' for bypass

Woolshed Corner on SH60 north of Motueka. River Rd is to the left and has been floated as a possible joining point of a ...

It might take some time, but plans for a heavy-vehicle bypass in Motueka are under way.

Marlborough

Her brain said they wouldn't survive

Dan and Andrea with son Andre and daughter Yasmina. The Nelson family are recovering from the impact of a serious road ...

Andrea screamed "like a banshee" as the car ploughed into her family at 100kmh. Then, a moment of reason.

Man named after logging death

The fatal accident happened near Blowhard Ridge in the Wairau Valley, about 40 kilometres west of Blenheim.

The Marlborough man who died in a logging accident has been named by police.

OK children, back in your couches

Whitney Street School pupils, from left, Paige La Frentz, Mason Moffatt, Blake Shefford and Danae Perkin work at a group ...

Gone are traditional desks and chairs, it's all stools, cushions, teaching tables and group desks these days.

Family wins $1 million

The winning ticket for Wednesday's draw netted a Blenheim family syndicate $1 million.

Playing the same lottery numbers week in, week out for 30 years finally pays off for family syndicate.

South Canterbury

Timaru man eyeing Tai Chi gold video

David Thew will be attending the World Kung Fu Championships in China this November.

A Timaru man has his eye on bringing home his third gold medal when he competes at the World Kung Fu Championships in China.

Hospital services key 

Timaru Hospital.

Services key to Timaru Hospital rebuild, observers and sector groups say.

Pye Group supreme winner

South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wendy Smith said the Business Excellence Award finalists were named ...

South Canterbury businesses recognised at gala awards function.

480 pieces of plan feedback

People were given the opportunity to comment on the Timaru District Council's future spending commitments, what kind of ...

Instead of formal submissions to Timaru's long-term plan, residents were invited to answer an online survey entitled "Our Place, Our Future?"

Southland

Robotic seal helping dementia patients

Enliven Southland quality of life co-ordinator Shannon Tokona and nurse Julie Worner with Paro the robotic seal, who is ...

Meet Paro, the robotic seal helping elderly dementia patients.

Teen murder accused can be named

Name suppression has been lifted for teen accused of murder in Invercargill.

An Invercargill teenager accused of murder can now be named.

Bottled water improvisation

Invercargill woman Christine Brown, with husband Lee, before her face reconstruction at Dunedin Hospital on Tuesday.

Surgeons reconstructing Christine Brown's face were thrown curveball when operating theatre's water was contaminated.

Railway heritage value questioned

The Wairio Terminus.

 Western Southland locals are urging officials to take steps to preserve a newly designated heritage railway site in the district.

Ad Feedback