Submission to Select Committee on the Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment) Amendment Bill
FYI, our submission. You could do one too, due by 15 July.
We do not support this Bill for the following reasons:
(i) There is no good evidence that making complaints about sexual harassment deserves more time than that concerning all other grievances. Being harassed regarding race, physical disability or other matters can be just as humiliating and daunting to address as most forms of sexual harassment. It can be emotionally difficult and daunting to mount formal procedures concerning almost any grievance against an employer or employer’s representative because that person is in a position of power to damage, in various ways not easily proven or applicable to existing employee protections, one’s livelihood, career, reputation and/or mental health on the job. In many ways the same applies to work colleagues. The claim is spurious that a sexual component to a grievance somehow makes it so categorically different from many other grievances that it’s necessary to extend four-fold the time limitation for raising it.
(ii) The Bill increases the risk of grievance complaints being unfair and/or spurious, thereby wasting resources on investigations, hearings etc. If someone has truly felt sexually harassed or discomfited, that person will easily become aware of it within 90 days. The longer it takes for such awareness to develop, or indeed for a decision to be reached regarding making a formal complaint, the more likely the matter is to suffer from embellished or distorted memory. The fallibility of memory has become clear through research over many decades now (e.g. Roediger et al, 2012; Schacter et al, 2011). Memory distortions can alter recalled events so that they will seem, over the course of time, to have been harassment when earlier, more accurate memories did not see them as such. The longer the duration since some interaction, the more readily the memory of that interaction will be distorted to accommodate some unrelated displeasure. That distortion may or may not be consciously deliberate. In either case, the accused person’s ability to recall events, to provide an explanation and so forth will be unfairly reduced the longer ago the events were, the same applying to potential witnesses. Further, witnesses are less likely to be available due to having left the employment and so forth. The frequency and cost of unwarranted complaints to an employer, the Courts and the emotional well-being of the accused will be increased by the Bill and the justification for this is simply inadequate.
(iii) The Act that this Bill seeks to amend is flawed with respect to its definition of sexual harassment. The Bill will extend the harm caused by those flaws. Section 108 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 calls for an accused’s behaviour to be defined and judged according to whether it is unwelcome or offensive to a complainant such that it detrimentally affects the complainant’s employment, job performance, or job satisfaction. This defines and judges an accused’s behaviour on the basis of the subjective feelings and coping of a complainant. While for some types of behaviour it is reasonable to expect that people will know there is a risk of it being unwanted or offensive, in many other cases (and those are often the ones that arise) that expectation is not reasonable. The Act could easily and should provide a more objective definition such as examples of behaviours at the boundary of proper vs improper. Even a definition based on ‘what an average person would find unwelcome or offensive’ would provide better guidance for keeping to the law and protection against unfair consequences. Further, Section 108 specifically makes it clear there is no need for the complainant to have conveyed to the accused that a behaviour was unwelcome or offensive. That provision simply increases the risk of injustice towards accused people who were not intending to harass or offend and who had no reason to believe they were doing so. Someone’s own particular, unusual history may render his/her subjective feelings especially vulnerable and it is unjust to expect others to read that person’s mind and to behave with abnormal care around that person. Again, for blatant or more extreme behaviour there may be no need for a complainant to have stated the obvious, but in truth many cases involve trivial behaviour that was done in good faith. Where behaviour is trivial, socially normal or ambiguous in intent and meaning, there should be a requirement for an accuser to have made clear it was unwelcome or offensive, and only if the behaviour then continued should it be considered to have been harassment. Unless and until such changes to the Act are made, we oppose this or any Bill likely to amplify the risk of injustice caused by the Act.
(iv) We believe that the basis of this Bill is sexist, in intention as opposed to wording. Due to biological as well as social factors, sexual harassment will be experienced or perceived overwhelmingly by women as being committed by men. Other forms of harassment may be as harmful or more harmful, but it seems that because men more equally may suffer those forms of harassment they are treated in the Bill as not meriting a four-fold increase in time to report them. Further, the Bill will function as another step-wise change in the law enabling women to attack men with either valid or ulterior motives. There is nothing in the Bill or in the Act it seeks to change that protects against or discourages unfair or false complaints. Men are already committing suicide at two to three times the rate of women and are joining antisocial gangs at increasing rate where they can feel a sense of being valued and respected. It is unwise and unjustified to keep making laws that can easily be used unfairly as weapons by women against men.
Roediger H and McDermott KB (2012). Distortions of Memory. The Oxford Handbook of Memory, Tulving E and Craik F (eds), Oxford University Press 149-161
Schacter DL, Guerin SA and St Jacques PL (2011). Memory distortion: An adaptive perspective. Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 Oct; 15(10): 467-474
With respect to the detail and reasons backed up by research, statistics and examples. I don’t know why submissions are even necessary. Particularly with this government who is hellbent on their agenda with absolutely no regard or any mandate from the public.
From what I can see any submission that the public makes to parliament may as well be written on a soft roll of paper for all it’s going to be used for. There is absolutely no requirement to even respond to a submission. It really just seems to be a formal requirement to allow these submissions.
The New Zealand government has zero consideration for the well-being of men. Year after year they continue to churn out legislation that seriously damages the mental health of men. You could arguably say it is intentional to create total devastation to her intended victim.
A typical scenario I think of is banter in the office that was openly and wilfully reciprocated at the time, can very easily be turned on its head and used against male victims. The penalties are severe. Losing employment, unable to regain employment. No conviction or formal independent process, no independent jury. Loss of career, loss of income, maybe unable to pay to keep a roof over their head. It could very well lead to loss of credit rating. Where do you think that might lead these men?
Feminists making laws that are gender based for the sole purpose of allowing women to seriously inflict overwhelming ongoing hurt to men.
I think of tens of thousands of men who have been put on trial for alleged sex crimes, found not guilty. No compensation, yet still continue to have mental health problems, suicidal thoughts and very serious ongoing financial problems that limits their ability to get on with their life.
This brings me to the totally dysfunctional police complaints authority. A separate court that does not have any power to criminally convict perpetrators of perjury or serious assault. A system that was created to give a free pass to those police who really need to face a criminal trial and incarceration. The police should be overwhelmingly confident that their staff be able to pass a real criminal test. The sad truth is, they are not.
It is long past time the crimes act 1961 to include specific reference to false allegations of any nature and penalties that are at the very least equal to penalties that would have been incurred should the perpetrators be successful. Why does NZ need this? It needs to be recognised that such crimes are intended to cause the death of a person.
#1. Yes, we expect our submissions to be disregarded and the government, especially this Marxist, feminist, racist one with a simple majority in parliament that will press ahead with its destructive aims (but just wait until it’s a coalition between Labour, Greens and Maori Party…). However, at least some bureaucrats will read the submission and summarize it for the Select Committee, and there is a possibility that some relevant people will be exposed to our challenge and/or know that some of us can see through their mischief.
Your points and suggestions are well made within this echo chamber. If a larger number of people made such points to Select Committees the impact would undoubtedly be greater although, as you point out, unlikely to stop them at least regarding a current law change. However, it’s not true that submissions don’t need to be responded to. Any submitter can tick that they want to appear and be heard by the Select Committee before they are disregarded!
It would be good in our opinion if those supporting men in whatever fashion were more encouraging of each other’s efforts rather than so quick to criticize, discourage or dismiss.
“It would be good in our opinion if those supporting men in whatever fashion were more encouraging of each other’s efforts rather than so quick to criticize, discourage or dismiss.”
This was an issue 25 years ago and I’m not surprised it still is. We all like to think what we are doing is productive, effective and worthwhile, … and will solve the problem.
A. As far as select committees go, if you are not speaking in support of a submission you have effectively wasted your time.
B. If your submission was any threat to the predetermined outcome of the legislation the committee clerk wouldn’t be talking to you, your submission would be in the bin, and you like other people you see would have an expensive legal and media battle on your hands to obtain an alternative position – still very much the case for men’s issues – (Some of us have put our money where our mouth is, to the tune of 6 figures, if you want to try that yourself)
That aside, our select committees no longer perform the investigative process they were designed for, to advise parliament, about the legislation that is before the House.
Instead we have a weeding out process that assists the predetermination of parliament’s end result.
Media pay very little attention to select committee hearings unless there’s clicks in it for them – there isn’t the depth of understanding in our media nowadays to know when they should be there and they are more inclined to turn up in response to political advise and prompts.
Rather than an Upper House that we formerly had that could veto wayward parliaments we now have mini-parliaments manipulating an upper house which is also manipulated by a Law Commission.
Many things can be good in principle if they work according to their purpose but as we see in the slow creep of dysfunctional governance it only gets worse once the rot has taken hold.
Those of us who recognised this way back then and did something about it, were labelled in many ways and far worse than unsupportive. We are often reminded that we didn’t solve “the problem” but we did interrupt a serious out of control machine that Piglet Mahoney had lost control of and you’ll never quantify what might have otherwise happened.
In the end it comes down to the same one thing – that you alone will not make a difference. Until you get together, organise yourselves, work together and produce a result, all you are doing is feeling good about what you’ve done, whether that’s pushing paper or pointing out the futility of others’ efforts – and I can say that with the benefit of experience.
What will happen otherwise? Men will continue to be the casualties of peace, we will lose our democracy, and we will once again need to be rescued by organised religion.
#3. I’m sure you’re largely correct. However, it’s not correct that submissions will ‘be in the bin’. They all get published and can be read on the parliamentary web site. There one’s submission can carry on making enemies of those who disagree with it! Also, they are read by minions who provide a summary of all the submissions to the members of the Select Committee regarding numbers for and against and the main points that were made by both sides, often repeated across the submissions using different words. So at least someone will read a submission. If opinions are not put forward they will never be heard. And we like to think that a submission that’s well-written and/or hard-hitting could have a bit more impact over all. Good work Ministry of Men’s Affairs!
If a committee doesn’t want to accept a submission, it won’t.
How often that happens, or whether it still happens may be up for debate but that it never happened is not.
The minions effect, one realises after some time is what promotes narrative responses. In that respect a “good submission” will produce a negative propaganda outcome that reaches the minds of far more people.
It’s self-defeating, in its outcome but in the trail of destruction it shows the pattern of behavior that submissions are confronted with rather than the intellectual process that is meant to happen.
Tiny law, by tiny law.
Little bit, by little bit.
A bit more, by a bit more.
An increase here, and an increase there.
Extra punishment here, and extra punishment there.
More reward here, and more reward there.
Slowly but certainly, the goal posts are shifting.
a tsunami of submissions would be better,, it would have to be at least noted then, surely.
It is laughable to think a man would be able to utilise such a law. What Men need is a voice, a spokesperson to speak on television. The best ‘Ultimately’ the Parents of men who have languished in the family caught and especially those who have taken their own life want to add their voice, hopefully that person, persons will get an ear through e_posure,, we just wait,,,,
To be honest, they couldn’t cope with honesty.
People can’t cope, when set beliefs are mocked.
A man and women, fight for custody.
The judge finding, in favour of the mother.
As they judge the mother, as the better parent.
The father has another child, and fights for custody.
This time he is judged, as the better parent.
All along, he was an acceptable parent.
So in conclusion, humans are stupid.
They pay thousands, for inherently corrupt judgements.
And play pretend, that they live in an equal society.
Is this what democracy, has divulged into.
That it’s necessary, to have the numbers of submissions.
Only those with numbers, are considered.
If so all hope of democracy, is lost.
If a single submission, is the most correct but is ignored.