Companies warned to “de-Suttonise”

“Poor” Roger Sutton.  He’s had his name turned into a verb.  Yesterday we saw the rise of “Doing a Sutton”, and today we see pleas for people to “de-Suttonise” their behaviour.

Employers have been told to take an “arm’s length” approach with staff this Christmas to avoid employment disputes in the new year.

The warning comes after the high-profile Roger Sutton case raised questions about behaviour in the workplace.

Employment Law Institute president Mark Nutsford sent a message to employers advising them to “de-Suttonise” their behaviour at end-of-year parties.

A State Services Commission inquiry found the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive committed serious misconduct for behaviour that amounted to sexual harassment.

Sutton admitted to hugging employees and calling women “honey” and “sweetie”.

Doesn’t sound so bad when you put it that way.  How about “women were momentarily restrained without warning and against their will while Sutton forced himself on them with an unwanted embrace”?    

Nutsford said the Sutton case made many employers think about their own behaviour and he hoped there would be fewer reported cases this January.

The institute was “besieged” by calls for legal help at this time of year, when end-of-year parties could get out of hand, he said.

One incident reported at the weekend involved a boss being accused of sexual harassment for giving a female staff member a congratulatory Christmas kiss.

“Indiscretions committed in a fit of festive frivolity during December come back to haunt people and make January a very bad start to the year,” he said.

“What used to be fun hijinks in the past is no longer acceptable.

It never was acceptable.  There is just a move, rightly so, that highlights the fact that using your position of power in an employment situation to be a lecherous creep

“Sometimes it’s simple thing that upset the apple cart,” Nutsford said.

“Mind your Ps and Qs at all times.”

Messages had been sent to employers reminding them to practise a more, arm’s length relationship with their staff, Nutsford said.

It’s not rocket surgery.  Treat people with respect, and don’t touch them at all, especially uninvited hugs, kisses or touching of body parts that have nothing to do with getting the job done.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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