The Human Rights Commission has confirmed it is reviewing its operations after allegations an intern was groped by a senior staff member at a work party.

An American intern told Fairfax she reported an incident of sexual harassment by a member of the senior executive at the Human Rights Commission in 2017. She reportedly told Fairfax that the man danced with her and groped her at a work party.

"I felt it was so severe that it was completely unacceptable and inappropriate," she reportedly said.

She later left the Commission, but remained in New Zealand for her master's programme, the report says.


The Commission responded to inquiries by the Herald with a statement from chief executive Cynthia Brophy.

"We are committed to providing a safe environment for our employees and are reviewing our operations to see if there are improvements we should make. Our approach to these issues should be victim centred."

No questions about the alleged sexual harassment were answered.

Chief commissioner David Rutherford told Fairfax: "The Human Rights Commission takes this matter very seriously".

"It is an employment matter requiring us to respect all of the rights of our employees. We have confidence in how our chief executive is dealing with this matter."