Personal grievance

What is racial harassment under the Employment Relations Act?

When a complaint of racial harassment occurs within an employment relationship, it can be grounds for a personal grievance. 

Contact NZSTA in the first instance.

Racial harassment is where the employer or their representative:

  • expresses hostility or ridicules the employee on the ground of race, colour, or ethnic or national origin; and
  • is hurtful or offensive to the employee; and
  • either by nature or repetition has a detrimental effect on the employee's employment.

View the relevant section of the Employment Relations Act – Legislation website

Harassment can come in the form of language, visual material or physical behaviour.

If an employee makes a complaint about harassment from a person other than the employer or the employee, then there are specific requirements on the employer to investigate and take practicable steps to stop such harassment from happening again.

Find out more about racial harassment on The Human Rights Commission website:

What can I do if I experience racism or discrimination? 

Racial harassment guide (PDF)

Updated: June 2017

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