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Anti-harassment and bullying policies must be ‘living documents’ says employment lawyer

22 March 2018 - By Craig Stephen

A presenter at the upcoming webinar on Preventing and Dealing with Harassment and Bullying says having policies in place and having an open environment can help to nip issues in the bud.

The New Zealand Law Society CLE-hosted webinar will take place from 11am to 12.30pm on Wednesday, 4 April. It will identify and discuss environmental red flags – the work hard/ play hard mentality, power imbalances, and what should ring alarm bells.

Hamish Kynaston, a partner in Buddle Findlay’s employment and health law team, is one of three presenters, along with Steph Dyhrberg of Dyhrberg Drayton Law  and Susan Hornsby-Geluk of Dundas Street Employment Lawyers.

Mr Kynaston will talk on identifying issues – ideally before they become signficant issues – and preventing bullying and harassment in the workplace through steps to address issues and minimise the risk.

“Good policies are important, but even more importantly, and this is what I will focus on, is creating an environment where there are good and open discussions and relationships at all levels,” he says.

“The key thing is that you can’t just have a policy that is a bottom-drawer document, it has to be a living document where you put the policies into practice, and you have an environment where people feel able to speak up, raise concerns and address low-level behaviours before they become an issue.

“It’s about having a really strong and open culture where it’s clear that unacceptable behaviours will not be tolerated, and people are encouraged to speak their minds.”

Identifying red flags

Ms Dyhrberg will open the webinar discussing WorkSafe guidelines, the legal framwork, definitions and obligations before identifying red flags.

Ms Hornsby-Geluk will follow Mr Kynaston and focus on a number of subjects, including why investigations into allegations of potential sexual harassment are so critical for employers, and dealing with anonymous complaints, gossip and rumour.

She will also discuss undertaking an investigation process that is fit for purpose and meets legal requirements for all concerned, possible complaint outcomes; the intersect between employment and criminal law where an allegation involves potential criminal offences; and reporting misconduct to the Law Society – where does suspected and substantiated sexual harassment fit in with those obligations?

Registration for the webinar is free but must be done before 3pm the previous day. Email CLE to register

To register more than one person Click here

An electronic paper and PowerPoint slides will be emailed out to everyone who has registered in time. For information on what is required to participate, click here

View PDF brochure and registration form here.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019