An employee who, while she was on duty as bar manager, left the premises for only a few minutes to attend to personal matters was dismissed justifiably for serious misconduct.

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.

Case Misconduct Work Justifies Dismissal

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; [2000] 1 ERNZ 624 (CA)).

Major Decision Confidentiality Attaches Without Prejudice Communications

The question of whether privilege can be lifted with regard to communications made “without prejudice” has recently met with roughly the same response as the question of whether what happens in mediation can be disclosed.

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.

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.


It’s an awful situation to find yourself in, but it actually happens more often than you may think.  Being sacked, fired, or instantly (summarily) dismissed without notice can be a huge shock to your system, and your finances!  Feeling bewildered and not knowing where to turn or what to do is common.  So, to give you a bit of advice with where to start we’re going to cover off the basics below.  Were you on a trial period? Was your suspension fair? Did your employer follow a fair process? Did the punishment fit the crime? How do I raise a personal grievance if I think I was unjustifiably dismissed? We’ll answer these questions and more.

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

2018 has been the year for a global movement of people, in particular women standing up and telling their stories of sexual abuse and harassment. It began when the #MeToo campaign gained traction by celebrities sharing their own experiences of sexual misconduct in their chosen industry after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein became known as a sexual harasser with allegations dating back several decades. The campaign became so successful internationally, that it prompted allegations across multiple industries, including the legal sector in New Zealand.

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