Mediation can be a highly effective way to solve employment relationship problems and personal grievances. It’s unlikely that both parties are going to be ecstatic about the outcomes of mediation, however the aim is to achieve a settlement that both parties can live with. Properly utilised, it can mean real savings in time and legal fees, and helps avoid the stresses and disadvantages involved in escalating the dispute through to the ERA. Further, whereas Authority and Court cases tend towards a “winner takes all” type of outcome, mediation generally allows both parties to come away with upsides if a settlement can be reached, and it allows for more flexible and creative resolutions.

Case Study Circumstances Constructive Dismissal

Background: I am the owner of a club and bar in downtown Auckland. My night-time receptionist X has brought a personal grievance against my company claiming that she has been constructively dismissed as a result of events on 10 October and following. X has always been a good worker and a popular employee.

Reminder Employers Ensure Meal Breaks

In a recent case, an employee was awarded compensation of $750 because her employer did not advise her of her right pursuant to part 6D of the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act) to take two paid ten-minute breaks during her working day. The employee had been employed for three years. The Employment Relations Authority said the Act required the employer to be proactive and ensure that what was required to be done was done.

Case Final Warning 10 Months Incident Disadvantaged Employee

When a disciplinary investigation takes a long time to complete, the employer should take into consideration the length of time that has passed when deciding on an appropriate outcome.

Tattoo Policy Precedent 2

You might remember back in 2011, when the Spit Roast Catering Company (SPCC) won the case over the right to cover up a Maori worker’s tattoo. Claire Haupini was employed to help set up such functions, serve at them, and tidy up afterwards, effectively fulfilling a “frontline” role she, along with other staff, had direct contact with the company’s clients.


Last week, Labour Minister Simon Bridges launched guidelines for company directors on leading and managing health and safety in their workplaces.  These guidelines say directors should make workplace health and safety a business priority. We thought this would be a timely reminder to our clients about their health and safety obligations, especially with regards to the hiring of contractors, and where the corresponding health and safety liability falls, which is often misunderstood.

Case Redundant Employee Reimbursed Lost Wages

Generally, when a redundancy has been found to be genuine but the procedure undertaken by the employer in effecting the redundancy is procedurally flawed, the employee will not be entitled to be reimbursed for the resulting loss of remuneration. However, as the Employment Relations Authority pointed out in Rose v New Leaf Beauty Therapy Ltd [2013] NZERA Wellington 32, even when a redundancy has been found to be genuine it is still necessary to consider whether, if the employer had acted fairly, a redundancy would have occurred. That consideration is necessary because, if the employee is able to provide plausible evidence of reasonable alternatives or other options that might have prevented the job loss, the employee may be able to prove that he or she lost remuneration as a result of the grievance (not of the redundancy) and therefore be entitled to be reimbursed for the lost remuneration.

Collective Agreement Defining Otherwise Working Day Binding

A collective agreement (CA) between Holcim (NZ) Ltd (the employer) and the New Zealand Merchant Service Guild IUOW Inc (the union) which covered masters, deck officers and engineering officers on two named vessels defined what would be an “otherwise working day” for the purposes of the Holidays Act 2003.

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