Our Blog

Is there such a thing as bad language anymore?

As a mediator I have heard every word imaginable in my mediations. Parties and even legal representatives, sometimes use these words to describe what has been said for the shock value, but I am of the view it is important that we clearly understand what has been said and how it has been said. But […]

Immigration NZ’s New Accreditation: what employers need to know

As many of you will be aware, the Government has introduced a new work visa which comes into effect from 1 November 2021. This new visa is the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and it replaces six current visa types.   This change has a significant impact on employers who intend to employ people under this […]

Employer obligations with the Coronavirus

With cases of the CONVID-19 virus having now been confirmed in New Zealand, and some travellers returning from overseas being urged to self-isolate, employers should be thinking about their strategies to address this threat, and/or any other future incidences like this, and their obligations as an employer. If a worker is off work because of […]

Recent Case: Court of Appeal upheld total smoking ban on Waitemata DHB premises

The Court of Appeal has upheld the legality of a total ban on smoking on Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB) premises. The Smoke-free Policy, in place since 2009, prohibits smoking inside and on the grounds of all WDHB sites, including its mental health units. Patients and employees who cannot leave the premises are therefore unable […]

Recent case: Employee ordered to pay training cost

An employer successfully sought recovery of training costs incurred by it in respect of a Diploma in Advanced Automation undertaken by an employee, who denied liability for the training costs. Early in 2011, the employee put a proposal to the employer that it fund the Diploma at a cost of $8,144.15. The employer agreed to the […]

Employee Engagement – Who’s Sinking Your 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: “unlocking employee potential to drive high performance, resulting in the capture of discretionary effort.” According to this video, […]

Recent case: Time in lieu agreements should be written

Any agreement regarding time in lieu to be taken for working over agreed hours should be written into the employment agreement. The agreement should also make it clear whether the time owed will (or will not) be paid out on the termination of employment. If that is not done an employer may face an unexpected […]

Working from home

An organisation may allow employees to work from home (or some other remote location) in a number of different circumstances. It may be part of an organisation’s encouragement of work-life balance; or it may be in response to an employee’s request for flexible working arrangements; or it may be temporary because the workplace is inaccessible […]

What to do if you’ve been dismissed

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 […]

Recent case: Drug testing unfair

A company’s failure to comply with the provisions of the drug policy covering its employees led to findings that the employees had been unjustifiably dismissed and demonstrates that employers, as much as employees, are bound by work policies. The company arranged, on separate occasions, for drug tests to be carried out on two employees, the […]

Variation of terms, “custom and practice” and implied terms of employment

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 […]

Use of social media in pre-employment and employment

The most commonly used social media sites include: Facebook Linked In Twitter My Space Bebo Google+ Use of social media pre-employment Overseas (particularly in the USA), employers and recruitment agencies have been known to request Facebook and other social media logins and passwords as part of the recruitment process.  However, under New Zealand laws (mainly […]

Requirements of Drug and Alcohol Policies

There are two major Employment Court cases on drug and alcohol testing in the workplace:  NZ Amalgamated Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union Inc v Air New Zealand Ltd (‘Air NZ”) and Maritime Union of New Zealand Inc v TLNZ Ltd (“MUNZ”). The law is relatively clear following these cases that, in general, it is legitimate […]