How can employees raise personal grievances?
Under New Zealand employment law, employees are entitled to raise personal grievance complaints against their employer for various types of unfair treatment.
The most common type of personal grievance is for unjustifiable dismissal. Employers must follow a fair process before dismissing an employee. If there are defects in the dismissal process, then the employer is liable for losses suffered by the employee caused by the unjustifiable dismissal.
It is important to note that the unjustifiable dismissal can also include constructive dismissal, which means the employee was forced to resign due to the employer’s poor conduct, even if the employer did not intend to dismiss the employee.
For example, bullying, harassment, lack of health and safety protocols resulting in the resignation of an employee could all amount to constructive dismissal.
An employee can also raise a personal grievance if he or she suffered some sort of disadvantage caused by the employer’s actions.
Examples of unjustifiable action causing disadvantage might include, unfair demotion, unfair suspension without pay, withdrawal of free transport, failure to address sexual harassment etc. Moreover, the courts appear to have moved to a wider interpretation of “disadvantage” in recent decisions.
Lastly, employees have 90 day to raise a grievance complaint with the employer, otherwise they may be prevented from doing so.
If you have any questions about the proper process for minimising the risk of personal grievance claims, speak to us at Capstone Law, and we would be happy to assist you.
Partner & CEO
Kenneth is the founding partner of Capstone Law. Kenneth has a MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and he was also awarded the prestigious Dean’s Academic Achievement Award for graduating from the University of Auckland law school in the top 5% of his class. Kenneth has worked at some of the best law firms in the country before starting Capstone Law.
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