Code of Professional and Ethical Behaviour
Jump to Section:
- The Code's Purpose
- Areas of Competence
- Standards of Professional and Ethical Behaviour
- General Principles
Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) is the professional body for those involved in the management and development of people.
- To encourage and support the development of professional knowledge and competence and high standards of performance among its members;
- To promote understanding of all aspects of Human Resources management and development and its contribution to the performance of individuals and organisations; and
- To provide an authoritative and influential viewpoint on all matters affecting its members and the management and development of Human Resources.
The members of the Institute commit themselves to these objectives and to the Institute's policies and statements on professional and ethical behaviour and practice, and are concerned to see the development and maintenance of good practice in all areas of Human Resources management.
HRINZ members accept fully that their responsibility at work is to their employer and, within that commitment, to the organisation's employees or clients.
The Code was first adopted by HRINZ's (formerly IPMNZ) National Council in February 1993.
The Code's Purpose
This Code sets out for HRINZ members and for the information of employers, clients and others, the areas of professional technical knowledge and skills which HRINZ members should have for effective HR management and the standards of behaviour and ethical conduct that might reasonably be expected of them.
Areas of Competence
Some HRINZ members will specialise in one or more areas of Human Resources management and development, while others will be involved across a broader range. This is a matter of individual choice as well as organisational need.
HRINZ practitioners are expected to have some knowledge of all aspects of Human Resources management.
Consultants will be able to identify the Human Resource issues raised by the client and provide appropriate, expert and practical advice in a timely fashion.
The professional members of the Institute - those graded MHRINZ, SHRINZ, AFHRINZ, FHRINZ or LFHRINZ - have demonstrated their professional competence and experience. View the HRINZ HR Competencies.
Standards of Professional and Ethical Behaviour
HRINZ believes that managing people is a part of every manager's responsibilities. The role of HRINZ members is to provide professional knowledge, advice and support to their employer on the most effective use of the organisation's Human Resources. HRINZ members are concerned with the achievement of the goals of the organisation as an industrial, commercial, educational, or public enterprise and as a social entity.
HRINZ members should have a clear understanding of the economic, financial, political and other factors which influence an organisation's success so that, as members of the management team or as professional advisers to management, they can take an active part in decision making at both strategic and operational management levels.
In the public interest and in the pursuit of its objects, HRINZ is committed to the highest possible standards of professional conduct and competency. To this end, members are required to exercise integrity, honesty and appropriate behaviour in all their business, professional and related personal activities.
HRINZ members must act ethically, within the law and must not encourage, assist or act in collusion with employers, employees or others who may be engaged in unethical or unlawful conduct. HRINZ members working within an organisation should ensure that they work first and foremost for the organisation and not for any one individual.
In particular, HRINZ members are expected to adhere to the following standards of professional and ethical behaviour.
HRINZ members will respect the need to ensure appropriate confidentiality for all information entrusted to them, including information about past, present and prospective employees or clients' employees.
They will also ensure the confidentiality and privacy of any personal information to which they have access or for which they are responsible, subject to any legal requirements for disclosure and any rights that employees might have to gain access to personal information about themselves.
HRINZ members working within an organisation should carefully consider potential implications before accepting confidential communications from staff, especially where any such communications could create a conflict between the member and the organisation. Those with whom they are communicating should be advised of this obligation.
HRINZ members will promote sound Human Resources policies and practices, which are in accordance with current law and which promote equal opportunity and non-discriminatory treatment for all people in all aspects of their employment.
Equity and Fairness
HRINZ members will seek to establish and maintain fair, reasonable and equitable standards of treatment of individuals by their employers, through their own behaviour and through the policies and practices of their employers.
HRINZ members will keep their skills and knowledge up to date with regard to professional, legislative and other developments in the fields of Human Resources management, and the impact of technical, economic and social change on people at work.
Development for Others
HRINZ members will encourage people to achieve the fullest possible development of their capabilities, to meet the requirements of the organisation as well as their own personal and career development needs.
Advice and Information
HRINZ members will maintain high standards of accuracy in the advice, information and guidance they provide both employers and employees. They will take a professional responsibility for the quality and accuracy of the advice and information they provide in areas where others might reasonably expect to be able to rely on the appropriateness and accuracy of their guidance.
HRINZ members must within their own or any client organisation and in whatever capacity they are working, seek to adopt in the most appropriate way, the most appropriate people management processes and structures to enable the organisation to best achieve its present and future objectives.
HRINZ members will be prepared either to act in a counselling role for individual employees in areas where they are competent, or to refer employees to other professional or helping agencies as appropriate. HRINZ members must seek to recognise the limitations of their own knowledge and ability and must not undertake activity for which they are not yet appropriately prepared or qualified. HRINZ members should refrain from personally counselling someone where the member is also providing advice to the employer in regard to that particular employee and should therefore avoid counselling where any conflict of interest might arise.
HRINZ members will act at all times in accordance with this Code and the duties they owe their employers, employees and clients. If there is a conflict between those obligations, the member will make all efforts to resolve that conflict, (e.g., seek confidential guidance from a senior Professional Member of the Institute; seek legal advice) and if necessary, where a resolution cannot be reached, will consider whether they should continue acting in that role.
Consultants and other advisors in the Human Resources management field will take particular care to maintain the confidentiality and separateness of their relationships with different employer or employee clients.
HRINZ members will not act or advise in any way that would knowingly countenance, encourage or assist in unlawful conducted by either their employer or employees.
Professional and Ethical Behaviour
HRINZ members will at all times act in a manner consistent with the good reputation of the profession and refrain from any activity which might bring discredit to the profession or to the Institute. Behaving in accordance with the Institute's constitution and code is a requirement of HRINZ members. Where a member is alleged to have acted or be acting in an unprofessional or unethical manner, the Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure shall apply.
Social / Environmental
HRINZ members will act in a socially and environmentally responsible manner and will encourage employers, employees, and clients to do the same.
Any person, whether or not a member, may complain to the Institute that a member has engaged in conduct which is not in accordance with the provisions of this Code and/or where that conduct appears likely to bring discredit to the Institute or the profession. Such conduct will be considered under the terms of the Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure in this Code as outlined in Appendix A (below).
Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure
In accordance with Clause 22 of the Human Resource Institute of New Zealand Incorporated constitution and rules, this Code of Professional and Ethical Behaviour and Complaints & Disciplinary Procedure has been adopted by the National Board and is binding on all members.
- A complaint may be made about a member by another member or by the National President of the Institute on behalf of the Institute or by someone else who is directly affected by the professional and/or ethical conduct of the member.
- Complaints must be made in writing to the Chief Executive of the Institute, citing:
i. the name of the complainant and the member complained about;
ii. specifically which element of the Code the accused member has allegedly breached;
iii. details of the alleged breach;
iv. details of how the alleged breach has disadvantaged the complainant;
v. the redress sought; and
vi whether the person has sought, is seeking or intends to seek to resolve the issue in any other way and/or through any other forum.
- Complaints must be lodged as prescribed in Section 1.2 as soon as possible but in any event within 90 calendar days beginning with the date on which the action allegedly occurred or came to the notice of the complainant.
2. Handling of Complaints
The Executive Committee will consider the complaint and if the complaint is accepted, will delegate the authority to investigate the complaint and report back to the Executive Committee. Either one or two persons may conduct investigations.
The Executive Committee may reject any complaint without investigation where the conduct being complained of is or has been, or substantively is or has been, the subject of another grievance process (e.g., under: Human Rights Act; Employment Relations Act, or civil action) or where another forum for remedy is considered by the Executive Committee to be more appropriate.
The Executive Committee may reject any complaint if, in its absolute discretion, it believes the complaint is frivolous or vexatious.
Where the Executive Committee accepts a complaint for investigation it may, at its absolute discretion, postpone the commencement of an investigation if for any reason it feels that such a postponement is appropriate.
Where the Executive Committee accepts a complaint for investigation, the National President shall within seven days of the decision to accept the complaint refer or postpone the matter for investigation and shall notify in writing the member complained against of that decision/action.
Any investigation of a complaint will adhere to the principles of natural justice, and all information and documentation related to a complaint and its investigation shall be treated as confidential information, subject to exceptions contained in Clauses 2.1 and 2.12.
Where an investigation has been conducted, the investigator shall within 21 days of completing the investigation make a report of findings and make a recommendation to the Executive Committee, giving reasons for the recommendation; the member complained against shall receive a copy of the report. The time frame for the report and recommendation may be extended with the consent of the Executive Committee; where this occurs, the complainant and the member complained against shall be advised of the extension.
Before drawing any final conclusions or making any decision, the Executive Committee will give the member complained about the opportunity to provide further comment.
Where the Executive Committee considers that the member's membership should be cancelled, it will make such a recommendation to the National Board. The National Board will then review the material and provide the member with a final opportunity to comment before it makes its decision.
The scope of any decision the National Board or the Executive Committee makes will be in accordance with Clause 3 below and will be final and binding.
The National Board or the Executive Committee will write to the complainant and the member complained against to advise them of the outcome of the complaint.
Where the National Board or the Executive Committee considers it appropriate, it may publish the details and the outcome of the complaint.
Despite any other section of this procedure, where the conduct of a member has been or substantively been the subject of a decision of the High Court of New Zealand, the National Board or the Executive Committee may, with or without an investigation, make a decision regarding the member's standing; such decision will be in accordance with Clause 3 below and will be final and binding.
3. Potential Outcome of Complaint
After an investigation into an allegation of alleged misconduct or unethical conduct by a member, the Executive Committee or National Board may take any action it deems appropriate in the circumstances. This may include but is not limited to the following:
Cancellation of membership. Where the intention is to cancel a member's membership, the member will be given one month's notice of such intention and will be given the opportunity to provide any comment on why they consider that their membership should not be cancelled. The Member will then be advised whether the membership will or will not be cancelled and if so, for what duration.
Any restriction on the member's membership status as deemed appropriate and if so, for what duration.
Imposing as a pre-condition to permitting membership to continue, a requirement on a member to do or refrain from doing any act. For example, a written apology to the complainant may be required.
Imposition of a review period during which time the member's actions are monitored.
4. Impact on other Proceedings
The findings, decisions and/or actions of the Executive Committee and/or the National Board are in the exclusive domain of the Institute and its Code of Professional and Ethical Behaviour, and are not intended to be nor may they be used as a component of or evidence in any other proceeding.In accordance with Clause 22 of the Human Resource Institute of New Zealand Incorporated constitution and rules, this Code of Professional and Ethical Behaviour and Complaints & Disciplinary Procedure has been adopted by the National Council and is binding on all members.
- Disciplinary Operating Procedures (available to HRINZ National Board Directors only)