Shayne Mathieson,
Partner, Top Drawer Consultants; Board Member, International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment
9.10AM Opening session: The scale of workplace bullying in New Zealand and why it needs to be tackled

Workplace bullying is an issue that affects all industries, genders and ages. According to WorkSafe New Zealand, between one in five and one in three New Zealand workers report bullying or harassment annually. We open the conference with a look at the scale of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination in New Zealand, the harm it causes, some key causal factors, and why we need to do more to tackle the issue.

Shayne Mathieson, Partner, Top Drawer Consultants; Board Member, International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment
9.30AM How are the courts responding to workplace bullying?

With more workplace bullying incidents being reported, more cases are coming before the courts. Samantha looks at the various pieces of legislation that workplace bullying may fall under, reviews key recent cases, and identifies trends in decisions and penalties.

Samantha Turner, Partner, Simpson Grierson
10.00AM Case study: Everyone in one canoe, with no exception

When Fire and Emergency formed in July 2017, bringing together 14,000 people across nearly 40 different organisations, an agreement was co-signed with unions and associations to work together to protect the health & safety of its people. Their guiding whakatauki is 'he waka eke noa' - everyone in one canoe with no exception. Following the organisation's formation, Chief Executive Rhys Jones commissioned an independent review to give direction on how to lead a safe and inclusive workplace, free from bullying and harassment. The report, released in Jan 2019, clearly highlighted a need for change. Elizabeth Church from FENZ will share their journey so far, and the work they are doing to ensure they continue to focus on what they do best - keeping New Zealanders safe.

Elizabeth Church, Programme Lead - Positive Workplace Programme, Fire and Emergency New Zealand
11.00AM In-conference workshop 1: The anatomy of an effective – and legally defensible – investigation

The investigation process can be fraught with traps for the unwary. They can be much more complex and time consuming than initially thought, often with no clear outcome at the end of the process. This in-conference workshop covers the key principles of an effective investigation. Material covered includes:

  • When is a formal investigation required?
  • Insourced or outsourced? When to bring a third party in to conduct the investigation
  • The evidence gathering process
  • The importance of record keeping
  • Managing difficult or reluctant witnesses
  • Navigating ‘he said, she said’ issues
  • Preparing a report and making a final decision and outcome
  • Legal risks and what a legally defensible investigation and outcome looks like
Andrew Scott-Howman, Barrister, Port Nicholson Chambers; Australasian Advisory Committee Member, Association of Workplace Investigators
1.10PM In-Conference workshop 2: Investigative interviewing techniques

Interviewing in an employment investigation context is unlike other kinds of interviews. You’re often dealing with an interview subject that is stressed, emotional, or refuses to co-operate. Getting to the truth can be extremely challenging. In this in-conference workshop, our facilitator will go through some key interview techniques used by police investigators that you can apply, including:

  • How to plan and structure your interview
  • Structuring and phrasing questions to elicit the most detailed responses
  • Strategies to elicit recall without ‘leading’ your interview subject
  • How to manage and control conversations
  • Dealing with difficult interviewees and support people
  • Assisting vulnerable interviewees
  • Record keeping and management
Lance Burdett, Consultant and Coach, WARN International
2.10PM Creating a culture of accountability and responsibility to prevent bullying behaviours

Prevention – as they say – is better than cure. Especially so when considering workplace bullying and negative behaviours. This involves creating a work environment where bullying is less likely to occur, where it’s safe for complainants to speak up, where managers have the resources and competencies for intervention, and workplaces where a just culture is enabled. In many cases, this is easier said than done. This session describes how some of these quite challenging issues can be addressed.

Natalia D’Souza, Lecturer and David Tappin, Associate Professor, Healthy Work Group, Massey University
3.10PM To mediate, or not to mediate?

Mediation is a popular form of alternative dispute resolution that is often employed in cases of bullying and harassment. Although the process may not be appropriate for all disputes, it does have a number of advantages. Paul will explain the mediation process, when it should and should not be used, and how to navigate common challenges in the process.

Paul Hutcheson, Mediator and Facilitator
3.50PM Looking after the complainant

In the act of trying to get to the truth of an allegation of inappropriate behavior, it can be easy to forget that there is a survivor who may be struggling to cope with the stresses of the process. In many instances, an investigation can have a retraumatizing effect. This is particularly true in allegations that have a sexual element to them. This session discusses how such issues should be managed, but without prejudicing the investigation in process or substance.

Steph Dyhrberg, Partner, Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law
4.30PM Closing remarks and end of conference
Click here to view COVID-19 Information for attendees, speakers or sponsors
Due to the significant impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on all businesses, we have decided to cancel or postpone our events programme out to the end of July.

We will continue to monitor the situation and review this guidance on a daily basis. Please rest assured, the wellbeing of our customers and staff will always be our primary concern, and we will be in contact with delegates with any further updates.

If you have any specific event questions, please contact us directly via email to

Dates & Locations

Auckland: 17 March 2020
Crowne Plaza

Wellington: 18 March 2020

Full Price

$695 + GST

Conference attendance earns 6 CPD points


For any attendee or sponsorship enquiries please email