90 Day Trial Period Controversy
There have recently been two pre-employment ‘trial’ trial period cases before the Authority, which seem to have had conflicting de…
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It is worth remembering that an employer who defends a claim of unjustified dismissal by arguing the dismissal was justified because the employee’s position had become redundant cannot then claim that any award for unjustified dismissal should be reduced for contributory conduct by the employee.
From time to time we come across a situation where one party to a settlement agreement fails to sign the agreement in writing, and/or tries to change the terms after an agreement has been reached. When this happens, we’re often asked whether or not the verbal agreement is binding and enforceable. Well in the case of Nand v Richmond NZ Trust Limited  NZERA Auckland 384, the Authority Member examined this very situation.
Arguments can arise between an employer and employee over who owns property (intellectual or physical) developed by the employee. In Empress Abalone Ltd v Langdon  2 ERNZ 53 (CA), the Court of Appeal considered whether an invention was made in the course of employment and therefore owned by the employer. The employer in that case asserted that, because Mr Langdon had been employed to conduct research, all research Mr Langdon conducted had therefore to fall within the ambit of his employment and be the property of the employer. The Court disagreed. At  Keith J said:
Any investigation of misconduct by an employee must be carried out with care. The employer must act in a fair and reasonable manner. In Brocks v Prime Range Meats Ltd  NZERA Christchurch 229 the Employment Relations Authority held that an employer who insisted that an employee whose conduct was being investigated should take annual leave had acted unjustifiably. It said a fair and reasonable employer in all the circumstances would have suspended the employee on full pay.