Communtity Law Manual | Employment: Resolving problems | What you could get: Remedies for a personal grievance

Taking action through a “personal grievance”: Overview

What you could get: Remedies for a personal grievance

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 123

If you take a personal grievance to the Employment Relations Authority you can ask the Authority to take one or more of the types of action described below. (For information about going to the Authority, see “The legal process for dealing with employment problems” in this chapter.)

Reinstatement: Getting your job back

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 123, 125-127

The Employment Relations Authority can order your employer to put you back in your previous position or in a position that’s at least as good.

If you’ve asked the Authority to give you your job back, they must order this if it’s practicable and reasonable to do this – whether or not they also make some other order like compensation for emotional stress.

If you take a case to the Authority, they can also order your boss to reinstate you temporarily (called “interim reinstatement”) until it decides your case.

Reimbursement: Getting back lost wages or money

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 123, 124, 128

If the Employment Relations Authority decides you’ve lost wages or other money as a result of what your employer did, the Authority must order the employer to reimburse you for this, up to a maximum of three months’ ordinary time wages, although the Authority has a discretion to award you more. The amount that you would otherwise be awarded can be reduced if you contributed to what happened.

Compensation for emotional stress and other effects

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 123

The Employment Relations Authority can order your employer to pay you compensation for:

  • the way in which you’ve been affected personally, such as humiliation, loss of dignity, or injury to feelings
  • the loss of any benefits that you might otherwise have expected to get.

Recommendations for the employer to change their practices or take other action

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 123

Whatever the ground for your personal grievance, if workplace conduct or practices were a significant factor the Authority can make recommendations to your employer about what should be done to prevent similar problems happening.

If you’ve suffered sexual or racial harassment, the Employment Relations Authority can make recommendations to your employer on what to do about the harasser. This may include transferring them, taking disciplinary action, or taking rehabilitative action to prevent them harassing again. (See “Sexual harassment at work” and “Racial harassment at work” in the section “Unfair treatment, discrimination or harassment at work” in this chapter.)

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