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Communtity Law Manual | Employment: Resolving problems | Raising a personal grievance: The process

Taking action through a “personal grievance”: Overview

Raising a personal grievance: The process

How do I raise a personal grievance with my employer?

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 114

You do this by making your employer, or a manager or supervisor, aware that you believe you have a personal grievance and that you want the employer to address it. For example, this could be by approaching the employer directly or by writing them a letter.

Although you can raise a grievance verbally, it’s better to raise it in writing by letter or email so that you have a record of all the details. You should give enough details about the problem for the employer to respond to, and keep a copy for yourself.

If you do raise the grievance verbally, it’s helpful to take notes of what you and your employer said, as you can use these notes later at mediation or the hearing.

How much time do I have to raise a personal grievance?

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 114, 115

You must raise the personal grievance with your employer within 90 days after the action that led to the personal grievance, or within 90 days after you became aware of the action, whichever is later.

You can raise a personal grievance after the 90-day period only if your employer agrees to this or if the Employment Relations Authority allows it. The Authority will only allow this if there are exceptional circumstances and it would be “just” to allow it.

What happens after I raise a personal grievance?

If you’ve raised a personal grievance with your employer and you’re not satisfied with their response, a free mediation service is available to help resolve the problem – this is the Mediation Service run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE).

If mediation doesn’t work, you can take a case to the Employment Relations Authority (see “The legal process for dealing with employment problems” in this chapter).

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 114

Note: If you decide to take action against your employer in the Employment Relations Authority, you must do this within three years after you raise the personal grievance with your employer.

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