Ensuring all people have the practical opportunity to utilise the resources and facilities of their workplace as well as participate in activities and events associated with their work. 


Ageism is stereotyping and/or discriminating against individuals or groups of people based on their age.



Workplace bullying is unwanted and unwarranted behaviour that a person finds offensive, intimidating or humiliating and is repeated so as to have a detrimental effect upon a person's dignity, safety and well-being.

See our toolkit on harassment and bullying



Culture is the distinct ways people living in groups classify and represent their experiences, ways of thinking and systems of belief.


Designated groups

'Designated groups' is a term used to describe people who are more likely to experience discrimination and disadvantage in employment. These include Māori, Pacific Island peoples, other ethnic groups and migrants, disabled people, LGBTQI people, employees with family or caring responsibilities, women, and older or younger workers.


Disability the result of an impairment that can manifest as physical, cognitive, sensory, developmental, emotional or any combination of these.

Discretionary effort

Discretionary effort is the extent to which employees give their full and extra effort to their work. It is a behavioural outcome of employee engagement, which also involves a mental and emotional commitment to the job/organization.


Discrimination means basing workplace decisions or actions on issues which don't relate to the job, such as someone's personal characteristics, background or beliefs. Discrimination can be direct (e.g. refusing to hire women with children or Asian people) or indirect (e.g. holding a job interview somewhere that is inaccessible for wheelchair users).

For more information on indirect discrimination see unconscious bias. 


When an employee’s employment is ended by their employer.


Diversity is the inclusion of different identity groups, having a variety of cultures, religions, genders, abilities and ages present in a group.

Versatile workplaces tap into the potential of the diverse population to improve productivity and develop better customer relations.

Diversity Awards

The ANZ & EEO Trust Diversity Awards (formerly the EEO Trust Work and Life Awards) have been held since 1998 to champion and celebrate best practice in New Zealand workplaces. Every year, the entrants and winners are profiled in a substantial publication. See the Diversity Awards section for more information.


EEO/Diversity Co-ordinator

An EEO/ Diversity Co-ordinator can help drive the development and implementation of EEO within an organisation to ensure it makes the most of the diverse population. The co-ordinator may provide: EEO planning, EEO training, EEO data collection and monitoring, EEO auditing and reporting systems, evaluation and reporting of EEO programmes, sharing information, identifying problems and trouble-shooting.

EEO Library catalogue

The online EEO Library catalogue has about 5,000 items. Some are electronic references that anyone can access and others are publications that EEO Employers Group members can borrow. Items in the catalogue include New Zealand and international articles, books, reports, workplace guides, journals, videos and websites covering a wide range of EEO/diversity and related topics. 
Go to the EEO Library catalogue.

EEO Members

More than 400 New Zealand employers are members of the EEO Trust. Members represent all sizes of organisation and sectors of employment. Members are entitled to use the EEO member's logo in their communications and branding, in recruitment advertisements and organisational materials as per the membership agreement. 

EEO Trust

The EEO Trust is tasked with raising awareness and supporting businesses to achieve success through managing diversity. For more information.

Employee engagement

An engaged employee is someone who is fully involved and enthusiastic about their work and actively tries to further their organisation’s interests.

Employee turnover

Employee turnover is the exiting of employees from an organisation and their replacement. Employee turnover is a feature of all workplaces, with employees moving on to other jobs, further training, education, life events, retirement and so on.

High turnover is costly, as organisations lose the skills, experience and knowledge of departing staff, and have to recruit and train new employees. Low turnover can also be problematic if employees are staying for the wrong reasons, for example if they stay in their roles due to the perceived inability to find other work, despite unhappiness in their current role.

For more on the business benefits of EEO/diversity management.


Employment is to be engaged in service(s) for a person or organisation in exchange for money.

Employment Relations Act 2000

The Employment Relations Act 2000 is a piece of legislation that governs New Zealand workplaces. Its primary objectives are to build productive employment relationships through the promotion of good faith and to abide by international labour agreements. 

To find out more on the Employment Relations Act and its implications for workplaces, contact the Employment Relations Service or on 0800 800 863.

Employment Relations Service

The Employment Relations Service is part of the Department of Labour. It offers advice on the Employment Relations Act and other employment legislation. Its information line number is 0800 800 863 or visit its website.

Employment Status

Employment status is the state of a person relative to their employment or lack thereof. (i.e. employed full time, employed part-time, employed causally, unemployed, etc.)

Equal Employment Opportunities

Equal employment opportunities (EEO) means ensuring that all job-seekers and employees are considered for the employment of their choice and that they have the chance to perform to their full potential. EEO is about creating a versatile workplace that enables people to be productive and effective at work. It is based on fairness, merit, cost-effectiveness, active employee involvement and good business planning.

  • EEO is about ensuring employers get the best person or team for the job
  • EEO is about removing barriers so all employees have the chance to perform to their best
  • EEO is about maximising the potential of New Zealand's diverse population
  • EEO is about valuing people and respecting their abilities, backgrounds and talent

Ethical belief

Ethical belief is the belief in a principle or set of principles that make up a moral code.


An ethnic group a group of people who identify with each other based on shared social experience or ancestry.

Exit interviews

Exit interviews are held with people who are separating from an organisation. employees who are leaving an organisation. The purpose is for the organisation to receive feedback. This information is most often used to identify the reasons why the person is leaving and what can be done to avoid other departures for similar reasons.


Family-friendly workplaces

Family-friendly employers assist their employees in balancing their work responsibilities with their family-based commitments. This can be done through flexible work policies (such as working from home or compressed hours), on-site childcare, or other alternatives that suit the employee and employer.


Fatigue is a feeling of extreme tiredness, usually resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness. 

Employment-related causes of fatigue include overwork, long hours, shiftwork and stress. Stress and fatigue cost business by lowering productivity and performance. They can increase mistakes, accidents and near-misses as well as staff turnover, absenteeism and sick leave.

Flexible working

Quality flexible work gives people options to manage their working life and their life outside work. It covers flexibility around working hours and locations, and includes a wide range of possibilities:

  • Compressed working week - eg. 4 x 10 hour days.
  • Flexible leave provisions - including career break schemes, domestic leave, study leave etc.
  • Telecommuting/teleworking.
  • Flexible starting and finishing times.
  • The ability to leave work suddenly to deal with family emergencies.
  • The ability to take time off for appointments and make it up later.
  • Job-sharing - where two or more employees share a job.
  • Job-splitting - where one job is split into two or more part-time positions.
  • Part-time work - permanent part-time work is an ongoing contract of employment, which means employees accrue cumulative benefits such as annual leave and sick leave.
  • Phased retirement - a reduction of work hours or responsibilities.
  • Temping.
  • Casual work.
  • Term-time working - where a carer stops work during school holidays.
  • Time banking.
  • Virtual teams (e-teams).

The following article from the June 2008 issue of Employment Today gives guidance for employers on working within the flexible working arrangements legislation.

Flexible working guidelines (349K pdf) >>


Gender Identity

One’s sense of oneself as male, female, or transgender. When one’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category.

Gender Pay Equity

The ideal that people should be paid equally for equal tasks; pay should be determined by merit rather than other factors such as gender. See gendered wage gap.

Gendered wage gap

The wage gap is the disparity between male and female earnings, often expressed as a percentage of male earnings. It is a means of expressing the lack of gender pay equity and its level of seriousness.

Gradual retirement

Gradual or phased retirement is the reduction of work hours and/or responsibilities of a worker as a means to transition them into full or partial retirement.

This enables organisations to retain older workers' skills, knowledge and experience for longer while allowing their older employees more time to spend on other life pursuits.

Gradual retirement options include initiatives such as part-time work and job-sharing, contract or project work, special leave options and mentoring.



Harassment is any unwelcome comment, conduct or gesture which is insulting, intimidating, humiliating, malicious, degrading or offensive, and is either repeated or an isolated incident which is so significant that it adversely affects someone's performance, contribution, work environment or wellbeing

Harassment is closely relates to bullying.

Human Resources

Human resources are a group of individuals who make up the workforce on an organisation.

Health and Wellbeing

To be in good health is to be free from illness, injury and pain and is a component of wellbeing, which is to be in a contented state of happiness, health and prosperity.

Human Rights Act

Employment is one of the five areas covered by the Human Rights Act 1993. Thirteen grounds for discrimination are covered by the Act. This means that employers (or those acting on their behalf, eg recruitment consultants) cannot discriminate against jobseekers or employees on any of the following grounds:

  • sex
  • marital status
  • religious belief
  • ethical belief
  • colour
  • race
  • ethnic or national origins
  • disability
  • age
  • political opinion
  • employment status
  • family status
  • sexual orientation.

The Act also covers harassment of jobseekers and employees on any of the above grounds.

For more on the Human Rights Act and its implications for workplaces, contact the Human Rights Commission on its helpline 0800 496 877. 
A legislation overview is available here.

Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission is a statutory body that administers the Human Rights Act 1993. The Commission's primary functions are:

  • to advocate and promote respect for, and an understanding and appreciation of, human rights in New Zealand society; and
  • to encourage the maintenance and development of harmonious relations between individuals and among the diverse groups in New Zealand society.

The Commission also has the power to resolve disputes relating to unlawful discrimination. The Act's intention is to help ensure that all people in New Zealand are treated fairly and equally.

For more on the Human Rights Act and its implications for workplaces, contact the Human Rights Commission on their helpline 0800 496 877.



An induction or orientation process welcomes new employees. This process could include a checklist of what the new employee needs to know, a 'buddy' to help them settle in and show them around the workplace and its facilities, and a pack of relevant workplace policies and plans.



A period of time spent away from one’s place of work while maintaining the status of an employee. It can be paid or unpaid, depending on the terms of employment and reason for employee absence.


Literacy is the ability to read and write. Adequate literacy can reduce workplace accidents, improved staff retention and improved productivity.

For more information on workplace literacy programmes, contact Workbase or Literacy Aotearoa.



A system in which people progress based on abilities, talents and past performance. 



Numeracy is the ability to apply numerical concepts in everyday situations; being able to understand the fundamental principles of math such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.


Paid Parental Leave

Paid parental leave is a government-funded entitlement paid to eligible working parents when they take parental leave from their job to care for their children under the age of 6.

Statutory paid parental leave was introduced in New Zealand in July 2001. The Act has recently been amended to include self-employed people. Many employers top-up the statutory scheme to help attract, retain and reward valuable employees.

For more on paid parental leave, including the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, see Employment Relations Service information.
For an overview of the legislation.

Personal and Professional Development

Personal and professional development is the acquiring new skills and knowledge both for oneself and for career advancement.

Political opinion

Political opinions is the personal beliefs or opinions a person has pertaining to the moral value of different systems of governance.

Privacy Act 1993

The Privacy Act 1993 is a piece of legislation designed to protect the private information of people in New Zealand.

The Privacy Act 1993 must be complied with when collecting and using personal information about employees and jobseekers.

See The Privacy Commissioner's website - info for employers.



Recruitment is the process by which organisations determine which people they will engage in employment. This includes the entire hiring process from the creation of the employment opportunity through to filling it.

Using the EEO members’ logo in job advertisements indicates to jobseekers that companies are committed to EEO and diversity.

In order to appoint the best person employers must ensure that:

  • the selection criteria are based on the requirement of the job, and
  •  everyone involved in recruitment is trained in EEO and the Human Rights Act and appreciates the benefits of assessing and hiring people solely on the basis of merit

View our toolkit on recruiting and selecting talent


Redundancy is when an employee is laid off permanently because their role is no longer required by the organisation they work for.

Relevant merit

Relevant merit means having skills and experiences that will enable a person to do their job well.

Making recruitment decisions on the basis of relevant merit means selecting the person who is best able to carry out the requirements of the job. It provides a good basis for all employment decisions including recruitment, training, promotion and remuneration.


Remuneration is payment given to a person in exchange for their labour. It includes money and non-cash benefits provided to employees by their employee for carrying out their work.

Remuneration can be a flat-rate or variable eg. performance related. 'Equitable remuneration' is both fair and effective.

The HRINZ website includes tools for assessing employment and pay equity developed by the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women.

Reverse discrimination

Reverse discrimination is when a person is given beneficial treatment based on a characteristic that has nothing to do with their work performance. It is usually a characteristic that they could face discrimination for in other settings.

An example of reverse discrimination would be giving a less able candidate a job simply because they were, for instance, female, disabled, or Māori.

Reverse discrimination is against the principles of EEO as it essentially means replacing one form of discrimination with another.


Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation refers to the sex of those to whom one is sexually and romantically attracted. It is not necessarily fixed, and can be fluid over a one’s lifetime.

For more info see gender identity.


A mentally and/or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting mental and physical health. 

Employment-related causes of stress include overwork, unrealistic workloads, bullying and harassment, and lack of control over work content, scheduling or environment. Both stress and fatigue cost businesses, for example by lowering productivity and performance; increasing the number of mistakes, accidents and near-misses; increasing employee turnover; increasing absenteeism and sick leave; and lowering motivation and commitment. See Occupational Safety & Health Service.

Succession planning

Succession Planning is creating a plan for what will happen in the event of employee movement and/or turnover.

Examples of this practice include having retiring employees participate in mentoring and training programmes for younger employees, or an employee being seconded into a new role on a trial basis while the post-holder is on a career break.

Good succession planning does not assume that all employees are keen on promotion to a higher grade or level, but considers a wide range of work options.


Unconscious bias

Bias is defined as an inflexible positive or negative belief, held about a particular category of people. Unconscious bias is when the person who holds a bias is unaware of it and its impact on their thoughts and actions.


Versatile workplaces

Versatile workplaces set aside preconceptions and habit in order to maximise available talent. They regard people as a critical strategic asset and create environments where people can reach their full potential at work.

You can download our publication Versatile Workplace - Business Success (1.3Mb pdf)


Whānau interviews

Whānau interviews enable job applicants to bring along family, friends or colleagues to the interview, to offer support and share their views of the person's ability. This is especially useful for people from cultures that discourage individuals from singing their own praises. Evidence from workplaces suggests it is a very successful way of assessing job applicants.

See our publication Making a difference:Why and how to employ and work effectively with Māori.

Work-life balance

Work-life balance is about effectively managing paid work in conjunction with other activities that are important to us - including spending time with family, taking part in sport and recreation, volunteering or undertaking further study.

Work-life initiatives recognise that employees have rich lives outside work including family, friends, community, sports and other interests. Work-life support can improve recruitment and retention, increase morale and commitment, improve productivity and performance, and reduce absenteeism and turnover. Versatile workplaces offer staff options such as flexible working and family-friendly initiatives. For more on work-life initiatives, see the EEO Trust Work and Life Awards.

Workforce profile

Collecting and analysing information on a workforce profile is a key part of developing EEO policies, procedures and action plans and other workplace change. Analysing this information enables an organisation to identify differences based on gender, ethnicity, age etc. Organisations should always ensure they are complying with the Privacy Act when compiling workforce profiles. Employees need to understand that providing the information is voluntary.

Workplace culture

A collection of unwritten rules, codes of behaviour and norms by which people operate in the workplace. 

An organisation's workplace culture can act as a key recruitment and retention incentive, or a cause of people moving on. One way to assess a workplace culture is to carry out a workplace survey, or use exit interviews to find out what employees think about the workplace. A workplace culture may be more sympathetic or appealing to some groups of employees than others so it is important to identify and act on these differences.

Workplace survey

Workplace surveys gather and examine information about a workplace. They can be used to gather numerical (quantitative) or some qualitative data about employees' circumstances, views, experiences and ideas.

They are most effective in workplaces where employees are used to writing/using computers.

Workplace taskforce

Developing and implementing workplace change is likely to be more effective if employees are involved in the whole process. Workplace taskforces help ensure that responsibility, workload and ownership are shared across the organisation and that any developments are informed by diverse views and interests. Taskforce members could include employees, union/employee association delegates, managers/supervisors, members of designated groups and facilitators/consultants.

Workplace wellness

Workplace wellness policies are designed to improve health outcomes so that employees can be their best selves at work. This helps increase productivity and performance, decrease absenteeism and sick leave, improve morale, and decrease workplace mistakes, accidents and near-misses. 

Workplace wellness helps increase productivity and performance, decrease absenteeism and sick leave, improve morale, and decrease workplace mistakes, accidents and near-misses. Promoting wellness is not just about avoiding ill-health, but about proactively improving employee health and wellbeing. Wellness initiatives should examine both the causes of ill-health (eg long hours, shiftwork, fatigue) as well as its effects (eg breathing problems, poor fitness, absenteeism, workplace accidents).

It is an equal employment issue as having a healthy workforce levels the playing field so that all workers can be at their best at work.