Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell to return to work, having been cleared of bullying

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell will return to work on Thursday after being on leave since December 2018 due to accusations of bullying.

Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi ordered the investigation into Maxwell's behavior after two written complaints were received, alleging bullying behavior.

The report has found 16 out of 24 former employees alleged seeing or experiencing bullying behavior from Maxwell.

According to the report, the allegations involved belittling employees, as well as incidents of aggressive and isolating behavior.

The investigation found some of these incidents did occur, but they were assessed using the Commission for Financial Capability and WorkSafe NZ definitions of bullying - which require the behavior be "repeated" in order to be considered bullying.  

"Applying these definitions of bullying, this investigation has found that Ms Maxwell has not bullied current or former staff of the Retirement Commissioner," read the report.

Maxwell has released her own statement in response to the report, saying she is looking forward to returning to work. 

"I am pleased that the report found that bullying conduct had not occurred and I am looking forward to returning to work," said Maxwell on Wednesday.

She also addressed the "difficulty in communication style".

"While the report made a finding of no bullying, it did indicate that some previous staff had difficulty with my communication style. I have reflected on the points made and will ensure that my communication style is professional, courteous and respectful to all staff," she continued.

Although Maxwell will return to work on Thursday - it won't be for long.

After she was accused of bullying in late 2018, Faafoi told Newsroom her contract would not be renewed past two terms.

"Two terms is a significant commitment and after two terms it is appropriate to go to the market to re-appoint for the next term," he said.

Maxwell's two terms will come to a close in June.



Contact Newshub with your story tips: