One in 10 workers harassed, discriminated against or bullied - Stats NZ

More than 10 percent of workers admit they've been harassed, but an expert believes the actual numbers are higher.

A Stats NZ survey shows 11 percent of workers feel they have been discriminated against, harassed, or bullied in the past 12 months.

But CultureSafe director Allan Halse is casting doubt on the survey, saying the numbers are too low because people don't realise they're being bullied.

"What I know from my experience going back 10 years around workplace bullying is that a lot of people don't know is happening to them is actually bullying."

Halse believes as many as one in every five workers faces bullying in the workplace, and he doubts that number will change anytime soon.

"Nothing will change until... there's accountability and consequence for employers who allow bullying in their workplace. "

The UN's International Labour Organisation voted to adopt a treaty forcing stronger protections for workers facing bullying, harassment and discrimination on Friday.

Governments will need to take measures to protect workers from violence and harassment, provide enforcement mechanisms for victims and ensure inspections, investigations and protection from retaliation.

States will also have to identify high-risk occupations and sectors and take measures to protect those workers.

New Zealand was one of the states involved in advocating for stronger protections. The treaty comes into force one year after two UN member states have ratified it.