Policies / Procedures
- MATES CODE OF ETHICS
The Code of Ethics of the MATES Trust NZ and the MATES Organisation broadly defines the conduct that clients and the general public can expect from Members of the Organisation. It also articulates the core principles and values of the Organisation and, in this way, provides a guide for responsible practice.
Inherent in this code are five principles which constitute the main domains of responsibility within which ethical issues are considered:
- Autonomy: respect for the client’s and the therapist’s right to be self-governing.
- Beneficence: a commitment to act in the best interests of the client.
- Non-maleficence: a commitment to avoid harm to clients.
- Justice: a commitment to the fair and equitable treatment of clients under the Treaty of Waitangi to Tangata Whenua, Pakeha, and Tauiwi.
- Interdependence: a commitment to maintain relationships of reciprocity and respect with all living beings including, the natural environment.
Central to the ethics of the MATES Trust NZ and the MATES Organisation in Aotearoa/New Zealand are the additional values of:
This Code of Ethics takes these as guiding principles, providing a positive model for the practice of MATES Programmes and Practices.
The MATES Trust NZ and the MATES Organisation recognizes the bi-cultural basis of New Zealand society and is committed to fostering the spirit and upholding the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. The Association further affirms that the mental health and well-being of clients is intimately related to the wider social context in which they live and seeks to promote this view in the community at large and to challenge actively those policies and practices that cause clients harm.
This Code of Ethics holds that MATES Trust NZ and the MATES Organisation’s primary obligation is to the welfare of clients. This first priority is followed by responsibility to self, colleagues, to the profession, the community and to the MATES Trust NZ and the MATES Organisation. The challenge of working ethically means that consultants and facilitators will inevitably encounter situations where there are competing obligations. This ordering of responsibilities is helpful in determining professional priorities and in resolving disputes involving conflicting interests.
The Code of Ethics is intended to encompass all spheres of best practice. Competent practice is the individual responsibility of every consultant or facilitator, whether working with clients, supervisors or trainees. By accepting this statement of ethics, members of the MATES Trust NZ and the MATES Organisation are committing themselves to engaging with the ethical challenge. Policies on supervision, training and implementation of the MATES Programmes and Initiatives are designed to assist this.
The Professional Code of Ethics of Mates Trust NZ broadly defines the conduct that all members involved, including Management, facilitators and participants are expected to abide by. It also articulates the core principles and values of MATES and provides a guide for responsible practise. Breaches of this code will be treated seriously and disciplined appropriately.
All concerned therefore agree to:
- Conduct themselves in all their dealings in a manner consistent with recognised values of personal and professional integrity.
- Abide by the Privacy Act (1993) by never divulging client information without their permission.
- Treat all participants and business contacts with due courteousness and professional respect.
- Maintain appropriate sexual boundaries.
- Refrain from promising results and outcomes that cannot be demonstrated within the legitimate bounds of qualifications and level of expertise.
- Refrain from offering any professional information that has not been verified or that breaches the rights of others; e.g. confidentiality.
- Notify Mates Trust NZ of any situations that may lead to litigation, conflict or adverse publicity.
- Enter into commercial relationships that are fair, legal and respect the rights and integrity of all concerned.
- Ensure that all advertising or promotional material is honest and does not make false or deliberately misleading statements.
- Abide by the laws of the land concerning all issues of copyright, intellectual property, trademarks and commercial contracts and agreements.
This code of ethics has been put in place for the safety and protection of all concerned and the various points listed are standard for all professionals regardless of any particular profession.
1. Responsibilities to Clients
1.1 Value client well-being. Consultants and facilitators shall hold the needs and well-being of clients as a paramount concern and accord priority to the therapeutic aspect of their relationships with clients.
1.2 Practise non-discrimination. Consultants and facilitators shall be sensitive to diversity and shall not discriminate on the grounds of colour, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, social class, religion or political belief.
1.3 Be responsive to cultural diversity and seek training and guidance to ensure competent and culturally safe practice.
1.4 Ensure informed consent. Consultants and facilitators shall seek to ensure that the client is willingly engaging in the MATES Programmes and initiatives and has an adequate understanding of the process to be undertaken.
1.5 Practise respectfully. Consultants and facilitators shall have respect for the uniqueness and dignity of clients and shall treat them with courtesy and fairness.
1.6 Maintain client confidentiality. Consultants and facilitators shall hold client information in confidence, taking the law into account. Since considerations of safety or legal obligations may on occasion override confidentiality, psychotherapists shall discuss these limits with clients. If conducting MATES Programmes electronically, Consultants and Facilitators shall notify clients of the inherent limitations to ensuring security of communications.
1.7 Respect client privacy. Consultants and facilitators shall respect the client’s right to privacy.
1.8 Practise in a safe context. Consultants and facilitators shall practise in surroundings that support safe practise.
1.9 Foster self-determination. Consultants and facilitators shall foster client self-determination and choice, except where these may cause harm to self or others.
1.10 Protect client well-being. Consultants and facilitators shall have regard for the needs of clients who are unable to exercise self-determination or to ensure their own personal safety and act to protect the clients’ best interests, rights and well-being.
1.11 Maintain client anonymity. Consultants and facilitators shall preserve the anonymity of clients when clinical material is used in education, training, research or publications, unless prior informed consent has been gained.
1.12 Facilitate client access to services. While Consultants and facilitators may exercise the right not to accept a client, they will ordinarily take reasonable steps to ensure that the client has information regarding access to colleagues or other services.
1.13 Practise impartiality. Consultants and facilitators shall strive to be impartial and offer their services without favouritism or bias when dealing with more than one party.
1.14 Practise safely. Consultants and facilitators shall take reasonable steps to ensure that clients, whether in individual, family or group settings, suffer neither physical nor psychological harm during the conduct of MATES Programmes, accepting that considerable distress may be an inevitable part of the process.
1.15 Practise non-exploitatively. Consultants and facilitators shall recognise the power imbalance in the therapeutic relationship and shall not abuse this power, nor exploit the relationship with the client for personal gain or gratification.
1.16 Maintain appropriate sexual boundaries. Sexual harassment and any behaviours or comments by Consultants and facilitators which might reasonably be interpreted as being sexually demeaning or as a sexual advance, are unethical.
1.17 Abstain from sexual relations with clients. The establishment of a sexual relationship between Consultants and facilitators and client is unethical.
1.18 Avoid sexual relations with former clients. Sexual relationships between Consultants and facilitators and their former clients are unethical when the dynamics of MATES Programmes and initiatives can reasonably be expected to influence the relationship in an ongoing manner.
1.19 Terminate MATES Programmes and Initiatives with care. Consultants and facilitators shall terminate their services to clients in a suitably professional manner.
1.20 Consultants and facilitators shall make provision for alternative professional care in the event of the Consultants and facilitators suddenly becoming unable to work.
2. Consultants and Facilitators’ Responsibilities to Self, Colleagues and the Profession
2.1 Uphold professional integrity. Consultants and facilitators shall aspire to high professional standards and conduct themselves in ways that uphold the integrity of their profession.
2.2 Acknowledge limits of practice. Consultants and facilitators shall acknowledge the limits of their skills and methodologies and refer clients or supervisees to others when appropriate.
2.3 Portray themselves honestly. Consultants and facilitators shall accurately portray their qualifications and experience.
2.4 Practise self-care. Consultants and facilitators shall have regard for their own health and well-being so as to ensure that their standards of practice are not impaired.
2.5 Continue professional development. Consultants and facilitators shall continue to develop their professional knowledge and skills, through clinical supervision as well as by other educational means.
2.6 Maintain participation in the profession. Consultants and facilitators shall, throughout their professional lifetimes, maintain participation in collegial activities.
2.7 Restrain commercial self-interest. Consultants and facilitators shall adhere to professional rather than commercial standards in conducting their practices, advertising services and setting fees, which shall be reasonable and commensurate with the services provided.
2.8 Be respectful of colleagues. Consultants and facilitators shall be respectful of colleagues, supervisees and trainees and shall treat them with courtesy and fairness.
2.9 Respect the practice of colleagues. Consultants and facilitators shall not solicit the clients of colleagues and shall not assume responsibility for another Consultants and Facilitators client without encouraging appropriate communication with the colleague concerned.
2.10 Respect collegial confidences. Consultants and facilitators shall respect the trust placed in them by colleagues, supervisees and trainees and not misuse information given in confidence.
2.11 Maintain appropriate boundaries. Consultants and facilitators shall be responsible for setting, monitoring and maintaining clear boundaries between therapeutic, supervisory, training and other relationships.
2.12 Consultants and facilitators shall seek to maintain the anonymity of supervisees or trainees when clinical material is used in education, training, research or publications, unless prior informed consent has been obtained.
2.13 Abstain from sexual relations with current supervisees/trainees. The establishment of sexual relationships between a Consultants and facilitators and his or her current supervisees or trainees is unethical.
2.14 Assist unwell colleagues. Consultants and facilitators who become aware of a colleague’s ill-health compromising the care of clients, supervisees or trainees have a duty to assist the colleague to receive appropriate help.
2.15 Act upon unethical behaviour. Consultants and facilitators shall have a responsibility to clients and to the profession to initiate appropriate action if they become aware of unethical behaviour by a colleague.
2.16 Maintain knowledge of relevant law. Consultants and facilitators shall be familiar with current law affecting their practice.
3. Consultants and Facilitators Responsibilities to the Community
3.1 Honour the Treaty. Consultants and facilitators shall respect the values and beliefs of the Tangata Whenua and shall equip themselves to understand how the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi can influence and guide the practice of MATES Programmes and Initiatives.
3.2 Be legally responsible. Consultants and facilitators shall practise within the law.
3.3 Promote non-discrimination. Consultants and facilitators shall seek to promote non-discrimination in the wider community.
3.4 Promote equity. Consultants and facilitators shall seek to improve social conditions through the fair and equitable distribution of community resources.
3.5 Encourage social justice. Consultants and facilitators shall encourage socially just practices in their professional relationships within the community.
3.6 Encourage social debate. Consultants and facilitators shall encourage debate in the shaping of social policies and social institutions.
4. Consultants and Facilitators Responsibilities to Employing Institutions
4.1 Uphold professional standards. Consultants and facilitators shall avoid compromising their professional standards when these conflict with institutional requirements.
4.2 Promote quality services. Consultants and facilitators shall seek to maintain and improve the policies and quality of service in institutions or agencies in which they work, using as a guide the standards of practice expected by the MATES Trust NZ and the MATES Organisation.
- Confidentiality Policy
The MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation care about protecting clients' privacy, and believe that our programmes are most effective when clients feel comfortable speaking openly and authentically in a supportive environment.
In the usual course of events, the process is completely private. This means that, without written permission, no information about clients is available to anyone outside of the MATES /client relationship. 'Anyone' includes MATES personnel, parents, family members, friends, or outside agencies.
For the sake of safety, and adhering to the concept of 'duty of care' there are certain exceptions, however only specific, pertinent, and important information may be shared at any time, and only to specific, pertinent persons.
The MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation acknowledge the importance of establishment of a trust, which helps provide a safe forum; encouraging all participants to share what they need to, by agreeing to abide by the strictest confidentiality in relation to any personal content conveyed at meetings and to also be aware of the honour of being able to witness the courage sometimes needed to share.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
• If appropriate, MATES may consult with your treating physician or other healthcare provider at the to coordinate your care.
• If you pose a threat of harm to yourself, to another person, or to the community, we will take whatever steps are required by law, or permitted by law, to help prevent the potential harm from happening. This may include contacting your family and/or other relevant organisations.
• In the event of a psychiatric hospitalization;
• If you report information indicating that a child, disabled, or elderly person is suffering abuse or neglect;
• A court order, issued by a judge, could require us to release information contained in your records, or could require a therapist to testify;
• If you have been mandated by a appropriate MATES Administrator to seek an evaluation.
- Complaints Procedure
The MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation and its member centres are to be committed to addressing and resolving complaints in a prompt, efficient, and fair way and to ensure that there is a procedure to manage any complaints in an effective, safe and equitable manner and we commit to handling any complaint quickly, seriously and confidentially.
A formal complaint is an attempt by one or more individuals to seek redress for an alleged breach of a member Centre and/or MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation policies, and/or of MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation's Code of Ethics.
A complaint may be made against a trainee, consultant, supervisor, Board/Management Committee member or a staff member employed by MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation (the complainant).
Except where the complaint is made to the MATES Trust NZ Board against one of its employees, all complaints must have had an attempt at being resolved through the Complaints Procedure outlined below at the local/member Centre level.
A complaint may be made by a client, trainee, consultant, supervisor, Board/Management Committee member of any member Centre, and/or any staff member employed by MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation.
The purpose of the Complaints Procedure includes:
To ensure a procedure is in place to resolve breaches of a MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation member Centre and/or MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation policies, and/or breaches of MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation Code of Ethics.
To bring complaints to resolution in a manner that is fair, transparent, timely and is cost effective.
- Records, notes and/or reports will be kept confidential unless there is disciplinary or legal action.
The Complaints Procedure is not intended to supercede or override any legal remedy a complainant may have in court or specialist tribunal proceedings. It does not purport to provide remedies for employment disputes and alleged breaches of copyright, intellectual property, or human rights. For example, employment disputes must be resolved in accordance with the Employment Relations Act 2002.
- Verbal complaints will be treated seriously by Mates Trust Board/Trustees and a time will be arranged for the complainant to be heard fully.
- Fairness/impartiality for all is paramount in dealing with any complaints.
- If a verbal complaint cannot be resolved the person is encouraged to document their concerns and forward this to appropriate personnel.
- Mates Trust Board CEO will investigate the issue and see if the complaint needs to be directed to the Trust Board Management and if mediation is required.
- A meeting will be arranged for all concerned parties to openly address the issues raised. This will be done in a supportive, respectful, resolution focused and inclusive manner. Support persons for all parties are welcome to attend.
- If a suitable resolution is not available, an independent mediator approved by all parties will be appointed.
- The decision of such a mediator will be considered binding on all concerned.
- If the complaint concerns a legal issue it may be necessary to ask the relevant legal authorities to intervene and/or investigate.
Complaints to the MATES Trust NZ Board are dealt with in the 'Complaints to the National Board policy'. In all other instances, any person who considers that they have grounds for a complaint may make a written complaint in one of the following ways:
Complaints against trainees, consultants, supervisors or others should be addressed to the clinical manager/director of the MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation.
Complaints against the clinical manager/director of MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation should be addressed to the relevant Centre Chairperson of the Board or Management Committee. Complaints against Board/Management committee members should be addressed to the relevant Centre Chairperson of the Board or Management Committee.
- All complaints must be in writing and must adhere to the following procedures:
- The person to whom the complaint is made to is referred to as “the officer” below.
- The written complaint shall set out:
- The nature of the complaint;
- The facts giving rise to the complaint, including the date and time (as near as possible); and
- The remedy sought.
A complaint shall be submitted as close as possible to the day on which the alleged breach occurred. A complaint may not be dealt with by the governing body if the delay, taking into account all the relevant circumstances, is considered by the officer to be unreasonable and without just cause.
All complaints are dealt with in the following way:
The subject of the complaint is to be given a copy of the complaint and a reasonable opportunity to respond in writing to the allegations. A period of 14 days to respond to the allegations is reasonable.
The complainant is to be provided promptly with a copy of the response.
Where appropriate the officer to whom the complaint has been made is to attempt to resolve informally the complaint by convening a meeting between the complainant and the respondent.
Where an informal attempt to resolve the complaint is unsuccessful or is considered inappropriate by the officer to whom the complaint has been made, the parties may agree to mediate with a mutually agreed mediator.
In the event that no agreement can be reached regarding a mediator, a mediator shall be appointed by the relevant centre Board.
Mediation should be convened within 30 days of the complaint having been made.
Except by agreement of the parties, the terms of resolution reached at mediation is to be confidential as between the parties and the mediator shall notify the officer to whom the complaint was made that the complaint has been resolved.
Where there are steps to be implemented which the parties have agreed are not to be confidential, the officer is also to be advised and the officer shall assist with the implementing those aspects of the settlement.
Where resolution of the complaint has not been achieved at mediation, the applicable member Centre's Board:
- shall be provided with a copy of the complaint and the response (and any other supporting documents supplied by the parties);
- and shall make a determination at the next Board meeting as to how the complaint is to be resolved.
Both parties shall be promptly notified of the outcome of the Board meeting and what remedies, if any, the Board of the applicable member Centre has determined appropriate.
Complaints to the MATES Trust NZ National Board Policy
If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the applicable member Centre's Board determination and only where the complaint relates to a breach of MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation policies and/or of MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation Code of Ethics, the complainant may then make a formal written complaint to the MATES Trust NZ Board who will:
Ensure the written complaint provides sufficient information about the alleged breaches of New Zealand’s policies and/or of MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation Code of Ethics;
Investigate the complaint including providing the respondent with copy of the complaint to the MATES Trust NZ Board.
- A period of 14 days to respond to the allegations is reasonable;
- Make inquiries as it considers necessary;
- Facilitate a mediation where appropriate;
Make a determination as to whether the complaint has been substantiated and if so, what the consequences are for the breach.
Where a complaint is made to the MATES Trust NZ Board against MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation volunteer, the process to be implemented shall be that outlined under “Process” with all necessary modifications above.
Where a complaint is made to the MATES Trust NZ Board against MATES Trust NZ and MATES Organisation employee, it shall be dealt with by the MATES Trust NZ Board in the manner appropriate and complicit with all relevant employment laws.
The Complaints Procedure is not intended to supersede or override any legal remedy a complainant may have in court or specialist tribunal proceedings. It does not purport to provide remedies for employment disputes and alleged breaches of copyright, intellectual property, or human rights. For example, employment disputes must be resolved in accordance with the Employment Relations Act 2002.
- MATES Child Protection Policy
Due to the nature and scope of the MATES Organisation’s Programmes, it is noted that work directly with a child (Under 14 years) does not occur at this stage of operations and that we predominantly work with Adults (over 18 years). However, on occasions the MATES Programmes and activities will involve Young People (15 – 18 years) only when under the care of a Parent or Guardian.
Even so MATES is committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people under the age of 17 yrs and there are many times where relevant information is given to the MATES’s staff which involves duty of care to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people under the age of 17yrs. It is therefore imperative that this Policy and any Guidelines / Information relating to it be strictly adhered to and implemented without delay and in a serious and appropriate manner.
This policy provides MATES’s staff with a framework to identify and manage actual and/or suspected child abuse and/or neglect. All staff have an important part to play in detecting and managing suspected child abuse and/or neglect, as well as early recognition of children at risk of abuse and adults who may be at risk of abusing children.
The safety, welfare and rights of the child/tamariki, or young person/rangatahi are of paramount importance.
Adults are responsible for ensuring that children and young people are cared for an protected from any form of abuse and neglect.
Inclusion of the family/whanau, hapu and iwi in any decisions affecting the child/tamariki young person/rangatahi, unless this places the tamariki child/young person at further risk.
Staff are conscious of all indicators of potential or actual abuse and/or neglect.
MATES will work collaboratively with other agencies in the event of identifying any cases of suspected or actual child abuse or neglect.
This policy applies to all MATES staff involved in the delivery or support of services – i.e. be they paid employees, volunteers, or in a temporary position within the organisation.
The policy will be applied by staff in any instance where abuse or neglect is suspected or certain, irrespective of whether the child is receiving a service from MATES.
Child Protection Policy
This policy outlines the MATES Trust NZ commitment to child protection and recognises the important role and responsibility of all our staff in the protection of children. It includes the board’s expectations when child abuse is reported or suspected by us.
All staff members (including contractors and volunteers) are expected to be familiar with this policy, its associated procedures and protocols and abide by them.
The board of trustees has an obligation to ensure the wellbeing of children in our care so they thrive, belong and achieve. We are committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect and to the protection of all children. The safety and wellbeing of the child is our top priority. Advice will be sought through appropriate agencies in all cases of suspected or alleged abuse.
In line with section 15 of the Children, Young Person and Their Families Act, any person in our school/kura who believes that any child or young person has been, or is likely to be, harmed (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually) ill-treated, abused, neglected, or deprived must follow school procedures and may also report the matter to a social worker or the local police.
Although ultimate accountability sits with the board, the board delegates responsibility to the principal to ensure that all child safety procedures are implemented and available to all staff, contractors, volunteers and parents. Therefore, the principal must:
- Develop appropriate procedures to meet child safety requirements as required and appropriate to the school
- Comply with relevant legislative requirements and responsibilities
- Make this policy available on the school’s internet site or available on request
- Ensure that every contract, or funding arrangement, that the school enters into requires the adoption of child protection policies where required
- Ensure the interests and protection of the child are paramount in all circumstances
- Recognise rights of family/whanau to participate in decision-making about their children
- Ensure that all staff are able to identify the signs and symptoms of potential abuse and neglect, deal with disclosures by children and allegations against staff members and are able to take appropriate action in response
- Support all staff to work in accordance with this policy, to work with partner agencies and organisations to ensure child protection policies are understood and implemented
- Promote a culture where staff feel confident they can constructively challenge poor practice or raise issues of concern without fear of reprisal
- Consult, discuss and share relevant information, in line with our commitment to confidentiality and information sharing protocols, in a timely way regarding any concerns about an individual child with the board or designated person
- Seek advice as necessary from NZSTA advisors on employment matters and other relevant agencies where child safety issues arise
- Make available professional development, resources and/or advice to ensure all staff can carry out their roles in terms of this policy
- Ensure this policy forms part of the initial staff induction programme for each staff member
Staff receive training and are aware of the child protection policy.
Staff are offered adequate regular supervision and coaching in relation to the principles in this policy.
Mates recognises the need to create a culture where staff are confident to challenge poor practice, and feel able to raise any concerns without fear of reprisal. .
MATES employees know they all have a responsibility for the management of suspected abuse and neglect
All staff are familiar with the Child Protection Policy of MATES.
Staff are able to take action when abuse or neglect is suspected or identified.
Staff attend training and are given regular updates in relation to Child protection, that is relevant to the nature of their particular roles.
MATES will comply with all contractual standards.
These standards include:
• Vulnerable Children Act 2014
• Children, Young Persons, and their Families Act, 1989
• Care of Children Act 2004
• Domestic Violence Act 1995
• Privacy Act 1993
• Victims’ Rights Act 2002
• The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC)
Review schedule: Within 1 year
Related documentation and information
- Further information including frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) are available on the NZSTA website www.nzsta.org.nz
- Ministry of Education website www.education.govt.nz
- Vulnerable Children Act 2014
- Further information including sample child protection templates are available in the Children’s Action Plan guideline Safer Organisations, Safer Children: http://www.childrensactionplan.govt.nz/assets/CAP-Uploads/childrens-workforce/Safer-Organisations-safer-children.pdf
- Bullying and Harassment Policy
MATES is committed to encouraging and maintaining good employee relations. Everyone within MATES and those associated with it, has a responsibility to maintain good relationships, and to avoid using words or actions that may negatively impact on the wellbeing of others. In addition to legal and ethical frameworks, MATES believes everyone has the right to fair treatment, consideration, fairness, dignity and respect. Everyone is entitled to feel safe and work in a supportive environment free from bullying or harassment.
This policy applies to all staff of the MATES organisation, including paid, voluntary and temporary or casual staff. The policy also applies to the behaviours of MATES staff outside of normal working hours which may impact upon work or working relationships.
MATES provides a culture where everyone is treated fairly, and where staff can expect to work free from harassment or bullying. Additionally, staff can expected to be free from any forms of unwanted behaviour including intimidation or discrimination on the basis of gender, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or belief, age, trade union membership or any other marker of difference.
- Everyone has a responsibility for their own behaviour and conduct being aligned with the principles set out in this policy.
- Each person also has a responsibility to report any instance of bullying or harassment which they either witness or which comes to their attention.
- Employees are role models, and as such, they need to be proactive in addressing instances of bullying and harassment.
1. Definition of Bullying and Harassment: (Bullying defined)
- Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.
- Repeated behaviour is persistent and can involve a range of actions over time.
- Unreasonable behaviour means actions that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would see as unreasonable. It includes victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening a person.
- A single incident of unreasonable behaviour is not considered workplace bullying, but it could escalate and should not be ignored.
Harassment takes place when someone directs one or more specified acts at another person (including watching, loitering, following, accosting, interfering with another person’s property or acting in ways that causes the person to fear for their safety) at least twice in a 12-month period. Harassment has the potential to cause humiliation, offence or intimidation. It’s usually repeated behaviour but even one instance may cause reasonable concern.
- Unwanted by the recipient
- Considered objectionable
- Causes humiliation, offence, distress or other detrimental effect.
Harassment may be an isolated occurrence or repetitive: it may occur against one or more individuals and may be, but is not limited to:
- Physical contact – ranging from touching to serious assault, gestures, intimidation, aggressive behaviour.
- Verbal – unwelcome remarks, suggestions and propositions, malicious gossip, jokes and banter, offensive language.
- Non-verbal – offensive literature or pictures, graffiti and computer imagery, isolation or non-co-operation and exclusion or isolation from social activities.
Harassment and Bullying can be summarised as any behaviour that is unwanted by the person to whom it is directed. It is the impact of the behaviour rather than the intent of the perpetrator that is the decisive factor in determining whether or not harassment or bullying has occurred.
If any employee feels they have been the victim of bullying, harassment, or discrimination they can choose to raise any concerns informally initially.
Complainants are encouraged to try, if they feel able to do so, to resolve the problem informally by making it clear to the alleged harasser that his/her actions are unwanted and should not be repeated. This may be done verbally or in writing in which case the complainant should keep a copy of the documentation and, where possible, the times and dates of incidents should be recorded.
If the complainant feels unable to approach the alleged harasser, a work colleague, or Trade Union representative could be asked to speak to the alleged harasser on the complainant’s behalf. A note should be made of the action taken and the matter notified to Human Resources.
An individual who is made aware that their behaviour is unacceptable should:
- Listen carefully to the complaints and the particular concerns raised.
- Respect the other person’s point of view.
- Understand and acknowledge that it is the other person’s reaction/perception to another’s behaviour that is important.
- Agree the aspects of behaviour that will change.
- Review their general conduct/behaviour at work and with workplace colleagues.
If the alleged harassment continues, or the complainant feels unable or unwilling to deal with the matter informally, the complaint should be raised formally with the employer.
- The employee needs to submit the complaint in writing to their manager.
- The manager needs to acknowledge receipt of complaint, and begin investigation as soon as is practicable, or immediately if the nature of the complaint warrants immediate action.
- The manager must contact the alleged perpetrator so they can comment on the allegations against them.
- The manager must keep all parties informed of expected timescales, and inform all parties in writing of the outcome and any action that may be required.
Any investigation needs to be objective and fair. Consequently, if through the course of the investigation evidence demonstrates that the allegation has been made frivolously, maliciously, or for personal gain, then the individual making the complaint will be subject to Disciplinary proceedings as outlined in the MATES Disciplinary Policy.
All matters relating to the investigation of complaints of harassment or bullying will be treated in strict confidence. It is necessary to inform any alleged perpetrator that an allegation has been made against them, and the name(s) of those making the allegations together with the name(s) of any witnesses.
No employee will be victimised or suffer detriment for making a complaint of harassment or Bullying. Also, no manager shall threaten either explicitly or implicitly that an employee’s complaint will be used as the basis for decisions affecting that employee. Such conduct will be treated as a very serious disciplinary offence. Similarly, managers are required to act on any complaint of harassment or bullying. Failure to do so will be regarded as misconduct which if proven, will result in disciplinary action.
All complaints of harassment or bullying whether raised formally or informally must be notified by the recipient of the complaint to Human Resources for recording in accordance with the requirements of the Equality and Human Rights legislation. This legislation requires such records to be maintained and the incidence of bullying and harassment to be monitored.
All reported cases of bullying and harassment will be investigated by MATES.
Bullying and harassment is regarded as a serious breach of conduct and may result in disciplinary action being taken, up to and including dismissal
The Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA), The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE ACT), The Human Rights Act 1993 (HRA).
Appendix and links:
Preventing and responding to workplace bullying (2014): Worksafe NZ:
- Individual purpose – talents / full potential
- Group Purpose – Alignment / Relationships (aha moment)
- Group Agreement – Structure / Framework ( Flexibility within)
- Facilitator Role – Guardian / Guide
Processes are useful steps or means of achieving purpose
Purpose = Clarity, Certainty, Transparency, Safety, Trust
- Group purpose gives the facilitator authority to help the group toward a common direction
Draft Purpose – Feedback / What lights people up? / Purpose + Direction / Culture + How
- What are the qualities of the group agreement that resonate or are important to participants?
- Taking responsibility for your own development
- Covering up - Mask – What are you not ok with?
- Growing , Developing, Training, - not fixing up, compensating for something that is wrong – Acceptance
- Environment = Empowerment / Responsibility = Empowerment / Empowerment = Choice
Consciously choose to alter your behaviour
- What am I choosing to accept now? Am I choosing to be sad, angry, upset, ill, what can I learn from this?
- Where are others choosing to be?
- Looking at past upsets, baggage, beliefs
Expand – Give – Contribute – Appreciate – Love
Contract – Take – Pull Back – Criticize - Die
Facilitation: Takes place in a group setting and involves one-to-one interaction
Coaching: Is one-to-one facilitation (usually in private) where the person being coached (the coachee) is focusing on exploring and clarifying an issue or achieving an objective or goal.
- Is a relationship that addresses such deep seated conditions as trauma or depression.
- Sometimes there will be a cross-over between coaching and therapy, so it is important to be on the alert for this and to know the level of your own knowledge and expertise.
Facilitation is not giving advice…
It is easier to see other people’s patterns and blocks than to see your own…
Advice is not facilitative, especially if it is not requested –telling someone what you think they ought to do “I know better”…
Facilitation recognizes that each person is perfect just as they are, including problems / challenges and difficulties as all other human beings.
No judging, coming from an attitude of respect and honor and acceptance.
If you can be with another person with respect and honor – not wanting to make them different or better, or fix them up – you are ready to learn about facilitating others.
Other people’s life experience (including culture, gender, sexual orientation, communities of interest and place, family, schooling, friends, age, work, recreation, values and beliefs) will always differ from your own.
Projection: Projecting your world (your past experiences) onto other people and situations. Constantly playing your old movie over what is happening now and connecting it to the past. Relating to projected people rather than the real one who is with you.
Listening : Communication is often described as 80% listening and 20% speaking. Listening can be full of assessments and judgments about the person being listened to, or it can be a period of time out from speaking yourself during which you may mentally rehearse your own lines or fantasize about other things triggered by the conversation.
Listen be fascinated, what is being said and what is not, from the heart or the head, complaints, blaming, self-criticism and descriptions of events or creating a vision or a dream and opportunities to have this happen through action?
Interrupting dis empowering Conversations:
- More empowered language
- Should to Could = Choice
- Blaming – dis empowering others
Encourage lightness - humor (sensitivity)
Ongoing coaching, support, LCC
Surface Structure to Deep Structure
Group Work – Fear of losing identity, autonomy, free will, contribution beyond limits (don’t know where there are)
- Peer Pressure – Reaching Agreement
- What does it take being comfortable with a group?
- Self-Awareness – Group Awareness
- Commitment to the group – fulfilling its purpose
- Trust – Respect – Honor
- Safety – Group Focus – Adaptable / Creative
Everything that occurs is relevant. Be Present, Awake, Aware…Prepare
- Be yourself – Express your unique gifts
- Note, be aware of your triggers – don’t react or allow yourself to be triggered
- Time Focus – Respect process / participants
- Questions, suggestions, contracts, negotiations
- Sensitivity to “Cultural” differences
Create Space – Energetic, Encouragement, Acknowledge, Affirm, Praise. Keep Intervention to a minimum:
- Only interrupt behaviour that is:
- Impeding group progress
- Closing room
- Off Track – Baggage
- Physically Dangerous
- Undermining Group Synergy
Monitor Group Energy – Concentration, focus, exercises. Seek agreement and alignment – Collective decision making. When in doubt check it out – ask – suggest
- Trust the group – Invite Feedback
Facilitator – Intervention through listening / speaking
- Listen to spoken and unspoken conversation
- Speak from heart not head – No scripted language
- Trust process, yourself – training and experience
- Raise energy levels – process of group
Energy Levels :
- Physical – Comfortable environment, cares looked after
- Mind – Exploration, sharing ideas, brainstorming
- Emotions – Speaking to “open room”
- Intuitive – Group Wisdom – Listening for Group
- Energy – Posture, Physiology, Body Language
Stories / Dialogue
- Respectful, accepting culture
- Deep embodied listening, ability to be in silence together
- Willingness to speak from one’s own experience and knowing
- Willingness to suspend judgements
- Opportunity for each person to share something of themselves within the context of the group purpose
- Asking obvious questions through deep listening that some are afraid to ask for fear of ridicule
- Deep listening being beyond one’s preconceptions and historical ways of making sense
- Consciously participating in a larger field of change
- Change your story – change your life
- Everyone involved actively in all decisions
- Emotional Honesty – true motivation beyond fear of judgement and alienation. Encourage self-expression
- Listening for agreement – maybe dismissed / not heard by group
- Speed of group consensus – indication of group synergy
- Include non-proactive, passive participants
- “I” statements – not making assumptions of what the group wants
Attend to Conflict as soon as possible:
- Clear Purpose, group culture, conflict gone underground reflected in lack of energy, indirect attacks, sarcasm, low levels of cooperation, subversion of others efforts
- People in conflict need to be:
- Held: Safe space to address conflict
- Heard: Deep Listening
- Healed: Usually from first two processes – from within
- Lack of responsibility for actions – acting out individual distress in group
- Other members can be hooked in through rescuing and punishing
- What is really going on?
- Listen – Clarify – Reflect
- Recommit or revoke promise – encourage group for support
Blaming and Scapegoating:
- Scapegoating – cover-up for widespread feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness in group
- Programming – “Something is wrong – Who’s to Blame?”
- Co-operacy, with its collective decision-making
- Whole groups wisdom is sought and listened for
- Facilitator to set up process eg: round; enabling a level of trust and safety to be maintained so behaviour is challenged rather than the person!
- Heart-felt challenge for the betterment of the group and individual
- Challenges to the facilitator – listen, reflect, clarify, ask the group for their insights and opinions
- Creative Genius – a new response to an old situation
- Notice first inklings of experience in any given situation and with full conscious awareness, explore and change your patterned behavior – you are empowered to change through awareness and observation.
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