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Bullying and harassment an issue in a third of NZ workplaces

Wednesday, May 24, 2017, by Sheryl Blythen

Bullying and harassment are rated as important issues in more than a third of New Zealand workplaces, according to recent research. Almost 36 per cent of respondents to last month’s New Zealand Diversity Survey identified bullying and harassment as a significant issue, up from 26 per cent in October 2016. As New Zealand prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pink Shirt Day on Friday, May 26, Diversity Works New Zealand chief executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie says it’s important to remember bullying is not an issue affecting only young people. Launched in Canada in 2007, Pink Shirt Day aims to create schools, workplaces and communities where all people feel safe, valued and respected. “Conflict in the workplace is inevitable and it can help promote new ideas and innovation,” says Cassidy-Mackenzie. “However, it can escalate into bullying, harassment or violence, which has serious impacts on individuals and organisations.” Organisations across New Zealand are becoming more aware of the business benefits of creating an inclusive workplace culture, but allowing bullying and harassment to continue unchecked will undermine their efforts in this area, she says. Just under 30 per of respondents to the Diversity Survey reported that their organisation had recorded incidents of bullying and harassment in the past 12 months. Reporting occurred more frequently in public-sector organisations, where the figure was 37 per cent, compared with 23 per cent in private-sector workplaces. Large organisations were more likely to have recorded incidents (45 per cent) than medium-sized (38 per cent) or small organisations (nine per cent). To get more information on preventing bullying and harassment and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment, download our Top Tips resource.

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