Bullying, harassment and discrimination

Bullying, harassment and discrimination must be investigated and the person affected must be supported by the employer.

Workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination:

  • can affect staff morale
  • can lead to stress and impact employee health
  • can increase staff turnover
  • can damage relationships
  • can impact on productivity and profit
  • may lead to an employee taking action against the employer, causing a financial impact
  • can damage the organisation’s reputation as well as the reputation of the person whose behaviour is in question.

Employers are responsible for setting the example of what is acceptable in the workplace. Creating a workplace culture where all people are respected, and putting in place appropriate policies may reduce employer liability if an inappropriate behaviour happens. Employers need to remember that verbal attacks which harass or hurt an employee can be just as significant as physical threats or attacks.

Employers must ensure the health and safety of workers in the workplace as far as is reasonably practicable. Employees must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and make sure that their acts or omissions don’t have a negative impact on other people’s health and safety.

Migrant workers have the same minimum employment rights as New Zealand workers. You can report it to us if you or someone you know is being exploited in the workplace.

Migrant exploitation

General process

Preventing and dealing with bullying, harassment and discrimination.


Bullying at work is a serious health and safety breach. It is a form of misconduct and must be dealt with properly.

Racial harassment and other forms of harassment

Harassment of any kind should not be tolerated in the workplace.


The law protects all people from unlawful discrimination in the workplace.

Discrimination against transgender people

A person’s gender identity and expression is a part of who they are, not a lifestyle choice. Transgender people should be protected from discrimination in employment.

Exceptions to unlawful discrimination

There are a number of exceptions where it is lawful to treat people differently on the basis of a normally prohibited ground of discrimination.

Page last revised: 01 July 2021

Still haven't found what you're looking for?