Never take a prepared letter into a disciplinary meeting as it shows complete pre-determination of the outcome, which could result in an unjustified dismissal.  The only exception to this is during a 90-Day Trial Period in which case it is OK to bring a prepared letter confirming the dismissal.  For more information on the correct disciplinary process, contact the office.

Dos Donts Disciplinary Processes

We’re doing the hard work for you!  Prior to commencing a disciplinary process with an employee, there are many steps the employer needs to take in order to initiate a thorough and fair disciplinary process.  Getting the prep work wrong can be fatal to the process so we’ve put together a checklist for you to help get you started in the right direction.

Determine Disciplinary Action

This is one of the most difficult aspects of a disciplinary process, and is the part that is most closely scrutinised by the Authority or the Court.  In order for any disciplinary action to be justifiable in terms of the Employment Relations Act 2000, the outcome needs to be considered consistent with “what a fair and reasonable employer could do in all the circumstances” – see the test of justification under s 103A.

Without Prejudice Off Record Discussions Risky

Blakely v ACM New Zealand Ltd [2013] NZERA Christchurch 9 provides a textbook example of how not to initiate a “without prejudice” discussion about termination of employment.

Move Increase Remedies Personal Grievances

Until now, compensatory awards for hurt and humiliation for employees bringing successful personal grievances have commonly been between $5,000 and $7,000. Costs awards are normally far lower than the actual costs incurred, so the likelihood is that the employee will be out of pocket.

Volunteer Employee

If you thought working for food or accommodation was volunteering, think again. By law, anyone working in return for food and accommodation is an employee in accordance with section 6 of the Employment Relations Act 2000.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions by Essential Businesses

From 11.59pm on Wednesday 25th March 2020, the only businesses/jobs open in New Zealand are those that are considered “essential” as they are either services for health, safety, welfare or essential infrastructure.

Resignation Formal Process

If an employee tenders his/her resignation during a formal process (disciplinary/investigation etc) it is important that the employer follows the correct procedure to ensure that the Company is not exposed to the risk of a personal grievance for constructive dismissal.

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