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Privacy Case: Man seeks information from application process

The Privacy Act gives people the right to see personal information that agencies hold about them. While this might appear straightforward, there are a number of circumstances where people and agencies disagree about what personal information the agency needs to disclose and what it can withhold. This was exemplified in a recent complaint to the […]

Privacy Case: Man objects to pre-employment urine test process

The process of collecting health information can affect both privacy and personal dignity. This is what spurred a man to complain to our office after he was asked for a urine test by his prospective employer. The man had applied for a job that required employees to pass a drug test. The company outsourced its […]

Unpaid pre-employment test not part of trial period

A recent determination from the Employment Relations Authority has found a voluntary, unpaid pre-employment test did not form part of a trial period.  The employees personal grievances for unjustified dismissal and disadvantage failed. After attending an interview for a position in a salon, the candidate agreed to work as a volunteer for one day so […]

Understanding and applying the “30 day rule”

With the recent amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000 removing the “30-day rule” from 6 March 2015, there may be some confusion as to what employment agreement employers should be offering new employees. We have developed some Q&A’s that will hopefully help determine whether a new employee should be covered by an individual employment agreement […]

The Recruitment Process

It’s important to follow a structured process when hiring a new employee, to ensure you get the right person for the job.  A thorough recruitment process should include the following five items which are expanded upon below: Job review– identify key responsibilities, skills and experience required Advertising – usually online and/or in local newspapers, social […]

Legal Considerations with Recruitment

Recruiting new employees There are a number of legal requirements that have to be taken into account when undertaking recruitment. Of particular importance is the need to avoid acting in a discriminatory fashion and to ensure personal information is kept private. It is important to review all job specifications, advertisements and application forms to ensure […]

Right to view competing CVs given to job applicant

In an interesting Human Rights Review Tribunal case (Waters v Alpine Energy Ltd [2014] NZHRRT 8), a prospective employer was recently ordered to disclose confidential information to an unsuccessful candidate for two positions. The information required to be disclosed included information about the successful candidates and information from referees – despite the usual expectation of […]

Pre-employment work trials risky

Recently, in the decision of The Salad Bowl Ltd v Amberleigh Howe-Thornley [2013] NZEmpC 152, the Employment Court (Court) has scrutinised the practice of using pre-employment work trials.  We can take some valuable lessons from this case to limit employer’s risk of using pre-employment work trials in the future. A pre-employment work trial is very different […]

Recruitment agency fails to remove all personal information from online profile

Man finds edited agency profile still available in Google On 16 September 2013, the Privacy Commission issued the following Case Note: A man was previously a client of a recruitment agency. One of the agency’s services was to provide an online profile for the man.  The profile contained extensive information about him, including his name, […]

“Test run” of worker leads to trouble

Yet another 90 day trial period mistake The Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act) makes provision for hiring employees on trial periods for up to 90 days. If the employee proves to be unsatisfactory, provided the requirements of the Act are met, the employee can be dismissed without following the normal performance management process. Despite […]

Man objects to pre-employment screening

A man applied for a job in a government department. As part of the application process the department used a company which specialised in pre-employment screening of potential employees. The man was unsuccessful in his application, and made a request under principle 6 of the Privacy Act for the personal information held by the government […]

Collection of credit information about job applicant by potential employer

A woman told the Privacy Commission that she had applied for a job as a part-time retail assistant with a large retail chain employer.  The job application had been completed online on the store’s website. As part of the process she was required to consent to the store carrying out a credit check on her. […]

Recent case: Headhunting could be costly

An employer who entices an employee into leaving a good job with promises of an even better job, and who subsequently makes the employee redundant, may find that its earlier representations amount to an estoppel which will support a conclusion that a fair and reasonable employer would not have dismissed the employee. In Brake v […]

Discrimination and Recruitment

It is unlawful to advertise in a manner that indicates an intention to discriminate or could reasonably be understood as indicating an intention to discriminate. It is also unlawful to allow a discriminatory advertisement to be published. Thus, an employer that places a discriminatory advertisement and the newspaper that runs the advertisement both act unlawfully. […]

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 […]