A former TVNZ employee has alleged she was sexually assaulted by a drunken senior manager and then had her complaint dismissed by its HR department.

Andi Brotherston, a spokeswoman for the broadcaster until her departure in 2011, says she decided to speak out after reading about other experiences of harassment in the workplace.

In response, TVNZ said today that the senior manager's alleged actions were "completely unacceptable harassment" and that if it happened again it would be handled by an independent, outside organisation.

Brotherston responded to a story about women who had complained of their experiences in the workplace only to be dismissed by senior managers or staff.


On Twitter, she shared an incident from 2010 in which the senior manager organised a lunch before cancelling all the attendees except for her.

"He started sculling Peronis and kept telling me to keep up with him ... all the while asking me why I never wore low cut or tight tops," she said.

"I went to the loo, he followed me in, pinned me against the wall and started trying to grope/kiss me and said he'd booked a motel room across the road. Thankfully I was able to shake him off. I ran out of the restaurant, down Parnell Rise and into a taxi."

She then decided to make a complaint to a member of TVNZ's HR department - a woman - but was shocked at the response.

Brotherston said the HR person laughed at her and said no one would believe her.

"I got up and walked out," she said.

"I tweeted that because this still happens every day."

When contacted, Brotherston said she didn't want to elaborate any further but added she shared her story as it was similar to the experiences other women have had and she was disappointed that it wasn't taken seriously.


"The groping and slobbery grab and pash in the toilet is nothing ... it was the premeditation of it that really upset me.

"The actual event itself is not unusual, but it was just the way the HR woman was so dismissive - bursting out laughing."

From that point, she knew it wasn't worth pursuing as she knew it wouldn't get taken seriously. She left the following year.

One of her Twitter followers also commented about an experience his friend had at the TVNZ. She had been sexually assaulted and made a complaint, only to be managed out of her job while the alleged perpetrator stayed on.

Brotherston replied that the incidents involved two different men but were dealt with by the same member of the HR team.

A TVNZ spokeswoman said the company was "saddened" to hear about the "completely unacceptable harassment behaviour at TVNZ back in 2010".


"It takes courage to step forward and openly talk about experiences like this and we respect Andi for doing so. She has the right to be heard, and we have a responsibility to listen and reflect on what she has to tell us about her time at TVNZ.

"This is a matter we take very seriously. We have zero tolerance for any form of harassment in our workplace and we're committed to providing a working environment that is inclusive and respectful."

The spokeswoman said the manager no longer worked at TVNZ.

"We will follow up directly with Andi to better understand what happened so we can learn from this and ensure it doesn't happen again.

"If one of our people came to us with something like this today, we'd bring in external expertise to carry out an independent investigation."

As for the second incident, the spokeswoman said she understood neither the woman or the manager who allegedly assaulted her worked for the company anymore.


"We're open to discussing these things so we can learn from our past – however, until we've got more information we're not in a position to comment."