Case Seasonal Workers Require Fixed Term Employment Agreements
An employer who employs seasonal workers must provide those workers with a fixed term agreement that complies in every respect wit…
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As a general rule, contractual terms cannot be varied without the consent of both of the contracting parties. However, an employer has a right to manage his or her business. The line between the employer’s right to manage, which does not require the consent of an employee, and a variation of contract, which does require the consent of an employee, can be hard to draw. An absence of protest amounts to acceptance of an alteration, and acceptance of a change may vary a contract even if the acceptance was unwillingly given.
Question: If an employer requests that an employee stay at home, or go home, because he or she is unwell or unfit for work, is this time off deemed to be sick leave and therefore able to be deducted from the employee’s entitlement or is the employee to be treated as having been suspended from work?
Misconduct outside work may provide justification for the dismissal of an employee if the misconduct has the potential to damage the employer’s business in some way. The conduct may be incompatible with the employee’s duties at work or it may undermine the trust and confidence that is necessary between employer and employee (Smith v The Christchurch Press Company Limited (2001) 6 NZELC 96,162;  1 ERNZ 624 (CA)).
An important decision has recently been made by the Employment Court in terms of redundancy law. Last month the Employment Court ruled that it can scrutinise an employer’s decision to make an employee redundant to ascertain whether there were sufficient business reasons for the redundancy.