Sexual harassment in the workplace – what to do?

The Employment Relations Act 2000 (“ERA”) and the Human Rights Act 1993 (“HRA”) cover the in-depth processes, remedies and forms of general and sexual harassment in the workplace for New Zealand employees.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has listed the conduct that is defined as “sexual harassment” in the workplace, and a number of examples of forms of sexual harassment on their website.

If you are subject to sexual harassment in the workplace then you can seek to have this resolved either formally or informally. In either case, we suggest that if you are faced with the situation where you are sexually harassed, you try to record (as soon as possible after the incident) a detailed account of times, dates, what was said and what was done.

If you wish to raise a personal grievance or complaint against your employer or colleague for sexual harassment under the ERA, you have a period of 90 days from the incident in which to raise a complaint (mitigating circumstances can sometimes be taken into consideration for any delays).

If you wish to raise a complaint under the HRA with the Human Rights Commission, you have a period of 12 months to do so from the incident.

Kirralee Fisher

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