Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Is the Personal Grievance Process Adequate?

31 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2020

See all articles by Liesbet Vercruyssen

Liesbet Vercruyssen

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: September 2, 2019

Abstract

Sexual harassment infiltrates many workplaces across New Zealand. In recent years, the issue has received growing media coverage and public discussion. Due to the destructive nature of sexual harassment, the New Zealand legal system needs to have strong protections in place for victims. The personal grievance process offers one avenue for an employee to seek recourse against their employer for sexual harassment they suffered during employment. This essay examines whether the current personal grievance process under the Employment Relations Act is fit for dealing with instances of sexual harassment that occur in the workplace. Significant flaws in the process are identified and reform is proposed. The current dispute resolution options available to victims of workplace sexual harassment are also problematic. Mediation may be inappropriate for resolving many cases of sexual harassment in the workplace. The investigative role of the Employment Relations Authority has the potential to provide a better dispute resolution option for employees who suffer sexual harassment. In sum, the current personal grievance process, including dispute resolution options, are inadequate for dealing with cases of workplace sexual harassment in New Zealand and reform is needed.

Keywords: sexual harassment, personal grievance, employment, dispute resolution

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Vercruyssen, Liesbet, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Is the Personal Grievance Process Adequate? (September 2, 2019). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 1/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3550839 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3550839

Liesbet Vercruyssen (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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