It is not uncommon to see that when an employee is subjected to a disciplinary investigation process, he or she is advised to keep the matter confidential – or even instructed to keep all information relating to the matter strictly confidential.   This can go as far as restricting the employee to only being able to discuss the matter with the employer, or the employee’s representative. The question is, without an express provision contained within an employment agreement or employer policy, are confidentiality instructions actually lawful and reasonable?

Parallel Disciplinary Investigations

At times, we come across employee’s representatives who wish to conduct their own investigation into a misconduct matter, in parallel with the employer’s investigation.  This is in an attempt to assist the employee to adequately respond to allegations made against them.  Often, this may include the request to interview other employees and potentially customers, and results in both the employer and the representative being engaged in the same, but parallel process. Needless to say this makes things rather complicated!

View Competing Cvs Job Applicant

In an interesting Human Rights Review Tribunal case (Waters v Alpine Energy Ltd [2014] NZHRRT 8), a prospective employer was recently ordered to disclose confidential information to an unsuccessful candidate for two positions. The information required to be disclosed included information about the successful candidates and information from referees – despite the usual expectation of confidentiality.

Harsh Reminder All Practicable Steps 2

Accidents and injuries that occur in the workplace are not only dangerous and distressful; they can result in very hefty fines.  Below is a collection of recent examples of how employers have failed to take “all practicable steps” to protect their employee’s from harm.

Workers Fined Scaffolding Accident

WorkSafe says this case is a reminder to all involved in construction of how much they rely on fellow workers to do things properly.

Employee Engagement Sinking Boat

The term employee engagement is used to describe the behaviour of employees who are willing to “give” rather than “take”, who go above and beyond, and have mutual commitments to an organisation.  It can also be defined as:

Worksafe Nz Releases Guidelines Managing Bullying

WorkSafe NZ wants to help people deal proactively with the issue of workplace bullying themselves, and to promote healthy work cultures.

Pre Employment Work Trials Risky 2

Recently, in the decision of The Salad Bowl Ltd v Amberleigh Howe-Thornley [2013] NZEmpC 152, the Employment Court (Court) has scrutinised the practice of using pre-employment work trials.  We can take some valuable lessons from this case to limit employer’s risk of using pre-employment work trials in the future.

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