Financial Harassment

If you don't mind, it doesn't matter


Financial harassment of scientists is a complex and controversial problem in the workplace. Financial harassment may be overt or subtle. The acts constituting it may range from visual signals or gestures to verbal or physical contact. Financial harassment of scientists in research institutes and universities is not a new issue, but has until recently been a hidden silent one. Its definition always has one key element - the behaviour is uninvited, unwanted and unwelcome.


Financial harassment is offensive financial behaviour by persons in authority towards scientists. Therefore, it is primarily an issue of abuse of power, not money.

Financial Harassment: types and examples

  • continued blatant demands for project management reports and/or timesheets

  • continuous idle tearoom chatter of a financial nature, and graphic financial descriptions

  • slurs and innuendos about scientists' lack of budget-planning capabilities

  • offensive and persistent "risque" jokes about profits or fiscally-specific traits

  • suggestive or insulting sounds such as whistling, opening wallets or rattling coins in tins

  • pseudo-medical advice such as "you might be feeling bad because you didn't get enough"

  • open displays of publications of a financial nature (such as The Economist) in the science library

  • explicit graphic displays, cartoons or pictures of simulated financial acts

  • provocative compliments about the style and price of a scientist's clothes

  • telephone calls of a marketing nature

Grievance Procedures
There are formal procedures for resolving financial harassment complaints by aggrieved scientists. A panel will be convened to recommend appropriate action to the CEO. The panel will comprise the Chief Financial Officer, and shall report to the CEO no later than five financial years after the complaint is made.

The Policy and Protocol is underpinned by recognition and acknowledgment of White Males as "Te Managas O Ngstitute". The process of development has been as important as the Policy itself.