When an employee does not raise an alleged personal grievance within the statutory 90-day period, the employee can make an application to the Employment Relations Authority seeking leave to raise the personal grievance out of time: section 114(3), Employment Relations Act 2000. The Authority may grant leave if:

Worksafe Zealand Moves Stage

Simon Bridges, 12 July 2013


It’s an awful situation to find yourself in, but it actually happens more often than you may think.  Being sacked, fired, or instantly (summarily) dismissed without notice can be a huge shock to your system, and your finances!  Feeling bewildered and not knowing where to turn or what to do is common.  So, to give you a bit of advice with where to start we’re going to cover off the basics below.  Were you on a trial period? Was your suspension fair? Did your employer follow a fair process? Did the punishment fit the crime? How do I raise a personal grievance if I think I was unjustifiably dismissed? We’ll answer these questions and more.

Case Headhunting Costly

An employer who entices an employee into leaving a good job with promises of an even better job, and who subsequently makes the employee redundant, may find that its earlier representations amount to an estoppel which will support a conclusion that a fair and reasonable employer would not have dismissed the employee.

Workplace Health Safety System Launched

Workplace health and safety in New Zealand is changing considerably to dramatically reduce serious harm and fatalities.

Unwise Breach Confidentiality Provision

An ex-employee entered into an agreement to settle his personal grievance at mediation. The agreement provided, “These terms of settlement and all matters discussed at mediation shall remain confidential to the parties”. The employee’s workmates (the employee was employed by a new employer) knew he had been to mediation. When the employee returned to work he was alleged to have said, “woohoo, I won my case”, and in response to a question about how much money he had got he said, “compared to the money I’m making here, I’ve got enough to last me till Easter”.

Case Drug Testing Unfair

The company arranged, on separate occasions, for drug tests to be carried out on two employees, the apparent reason for one being “mood swings” and no reason being given for the other, though it arose in relation to an allegation of insubordinate behaviour. Both employees showed significant positive readings for cannabis in urine samples. Despite the readings, both employees were told they were not a health and safety risk and were required (in breach of the employer’s policy) to resume work straightaway. Both employees started rehabilitation courses which were aimed at weaning the employees off drugs rather than attempting a “cold turkey” approach. In spite of the fact that testing in the rehabilitation period was intended for the purpose of comparison, and not as evidence to support dismissal or other disciplinary action, the two employees were required to take second tests a fairly short time after beginning rehabilitation. One employee was drug tested because he injured himself at work, the other employee was accused (two weeks later) of smelling of cannabis at a work function. The employees were dismissed because they were both still showing positive readings for cannabis, though at much lower levels.


Taken from the movie “Up in the Air” with George Clooney, this clip gives an amusing example of how NOT to terminate someone’s employment.  This movie is full of very amusing but highly unlawful firing’s that would undoubtably lead to a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal if such techniques were attempted in New Zealand.

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