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Will the time to file a personal grievance for sexual harassment be extended?

Will the time to file a personal grievance for sexual harassment be extended?

Will the time to file a personal grievance for sexual harassment be extended?

Monday 21 February, 2022

Currently, employees wishing to raise a personal grievance for allegations involving sexual harassment only have the standard 90 days from the date that the alleged harassment occurred. In October 2021, the Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment) Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament.

The Bill proposes to extend the time available from 90 days to 12 months to reflect the impact this type of grievance can have on claimants and the difficulty that they may have coming forward.

The Bill’s Explanatory Note states that “90 days may not be enough as it can take people some time to consider what has occurred and feel safe to raise it with others. This deadline imposes an arbitrary deadline on victims of workplace sexual harassment and makes it less likely they can formally raise concerns about the behaviour of colleagues.”

The Bill is currently awaiting its first reading. As it is a Private Member’s Bill, it will only proceed to Select Committee stage if a majority of MPs vote in favour of the Bill.  The Auckland District Law Society Employment Law Committee currently supports the Bill in principle, and many committee members believe that the Bill should also cover personal grievances related to bullying, and potentially also racial harassment and discrimination.

This Bill could result in significant changes to the timeframes for bringing personal grievances in New Zealand. The Government has not yet indicated whether it intends to support this Bill, but our experts will keep you posted. 

 


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